Chisme y Chicle 

Having recently watched the Tony Awards (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, then … 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, which derives from the fact that the contributors rarely get mentioned, the exposure (presumably positive) accorded the wines being considered reward enough.  And such is occasionally the generosity of said suppliers that I’m forced to perform a triage to avoid tasting more than 10 wines on any given Omniboire panel. 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 this week’s Southern Hemisphere Sauvignon Blanc panel 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, Pioneer … 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 I did have an opportunity to taste two of the understudy wines that never made it out of the wings as the run-up to a review of a Pakistani restaurant (look for it in the July 7 issue). 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 my expectations — which is what “buitenverwachting” means.

An equally good partner to Indian, Pakistani or Thai also would have been made with the 2009 Mud House Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand ($15), which had a stunning nose of passionfruit. The winemaker also claims nettles, but who knows what nettles smell like? 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 shores — emphasis on the brine.

Try them both; you’ll be helping me retire my guilt as well as having a worthwhile new experience.


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