I have always liked good blends of Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay and even suggested Maltese winemakers try their hand at making some. When done well, a cohesive blend of genuinely characterful grape varieties is more than the sum of its parts.
In the New World the combination has found a following. But many South-African, Californian and Chilean examples are too often poor compromises executed for mere commercial expediency.
The practice is quite old school in other parts of the world such as in Cheverny, although the official recognition of the region as an AOC is fairly recent. The tiny wine region (about 550 ha) in the Loire-et-Cher received the status of AOVDQS (Appellation d’Origine Vin Délimité de Qualité Supérieure) in 1973 and AOC (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée) when new regulatory laws were passed 20 years later. (map here)
But, whether from the ol’ or new world, it surprises me each time how difficult it remains to recognise a racy tandem of Sauvignon Blanc with a fair portion of Chardonnay when tasted blind. Interesting and enjoyable the ride usually is, though.
In the case of the 5 year old Cheverny in my glass, Chardonnay aromas and flavours have come to dominate although the blend contains much more Sauvignon Blanc. Both noble grape varieties seem to have helped one another to age gracefully in harmony, adding depth and complexity to this intriguing wine.
Tasting Note (27.12.2012 G.M.)
Domaine Les Martines – Cheverny, 2007, 12.5 %
variety: 75% Sauvignon Blanc, and Chardonnay
style: dry, white wine (still)
region: Cheverny AOC
producer: négoce SA Lacheteau (around 10.000 bottles)
Georges’ Score: B-2Ġeez
“Although the nose is very flowery, on the palate the straw-bright coloured wine could easily enough be mistaken for a bottle-aged Chablis. Lemon and chalk mixed with white and yellow fruity aromas and mineraly scents jostle for attention. A roundness dominates the fresh palate, quickly drying up to a lightness of touch of a Jurançon, leaving a gentle but fairly long taste of honey and lime. This well-matured yet delicate white wine is ideal with fish or seafood terrines. Enjoy now.”