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Monday, June 14, 2010

I Want to Thank Everybody I've Ever Met...

Posted on Mon, Jun 14, 2010 at 9:26 PM

Having just watched the Tony Awards (ok, I admit it) I'm in the mood to thank people. First, I want to thank mom who set the stage for my becoming a writer by teaching me to read at an improbably early age, thenâ?¦oh, wait, I got carried away by the laundry lists of shocked and humbled winners. Whom I really want to thank on this occasion are the wine distributors, local and national, that make possible columns such as Omniboire. There's also an element of guilt.

The guilt derives from the fact, first, that the contributors rarely get mentioned, the exposure (presumably positive) accorded the wines being considered reward enough. And second, such is occasionally the generosity of said suppliers that I'm forced to perform a triage to avoid tasting more than ten wines in any given Omniboire panel. (You may think we protest too much, but this is both fun and work, I swear.) Sometimes held-back wines come in handy if there are flawed bottles in the lineup. But occasionally they simply get shelved away against another occasion.

Wines for the recent Southern Hemisphere Sauvignon Blanc panel (look for results on June 23) were supplied by Republic National Distributing, Glazer's Domaines & Estates, Serendipity Wine Imports and Maritime Wine Trading Collective. (Other frequent contributors are Prestige Wine Cellars, Avante Beverages, WD3, Pioneerâ?¦and, in true Tony fashion, I'm probably forgetting others. Forgive me.) All but one were under screwcap, and not a single one was flawed. No backup was needed. (Let's hear it for screwcaps.)

But there was an opportunity to taste two of the understudy wines that never made it out of the wings, and that was as the runup to a review of a Pakistani restaurant. (It seemed imprudent to attempt to take the wines into the restaurant, as they are 100% halal and won't even cook catfish.) The 2008 Beyond “Buitenverwachting” Sauvignon Blanc from South Africa ($13) would have been perfect with the cuisine's earthy spiciness. Lots of green bell pepper was balanced by lime peel and maybe some gooseberry, all to be expected, but the surprise was the mouth feel: it seemed almost creamy on the palate, taking the wine well beyond expectationsâ??which is what buitenverwachting means, in case you didn't already know.

An equally good partner to Indian, Pakistani or Thai also would have been made with a New Zealand wine, the 2009 Mud House Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc ($15). Despite the less-than-mellifluous name, the wine had a stunning nose of passionfruit. The winemaker also claims nettles, but who knows what nettles smell like? (Actually, I do, having grown up picking themâ??carefully--but that's another story.) On the palate, this wine plays to the back of the house with vibrant citrus, grass and a hint of gooseberry plus faint suggestions of tropical shoresâ??emphasis on the briny aspect.

Try them both; you'll be helping me with the guilt issue as well as having a worthwhile new experience.

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