Errazuriz Max Reserva Sauvignon Blanc

Something happened to Sauvignon Blanc. Something not good. Something like what happened to food when every chef and his dog was deconstructing classics and reimagining what needed nothing more than good ingredients and a deft hand. Was it in the 1980s? Or the 1990s? Or just a few years ago? Something happened between, at one end, Sancerre, and at the other end, the New Zealand vanguard, where growers around the world fell into a craft SB vortex, dizzily “greening” and upping the ante on what used to be subtlety. Half the SB at BC Liquor is like chewing hay. SB used to be one of my favorite varietals. Now it’s almost always a show-off, preening to compete.

 

Fresh herbs and fava beans on quinoa pasta.  Sorry Errazuriz, dinner was excellent, the wine so-so.

Fresh herbs, applewood bacon and fava beans on quinoa pasta. Sorry Errazuriz, dinner was excellent, the wine so-so.

Consider this decent bottle from Chile. Here’s what the LCBO has as its review: “…aromas of gooseberry and herbal-lime grass; dry, medium-bodied with bright acidity; flavours of lime, honey-citrus and grapefruit rind lead to a refreshing, crisp long finish.”

 

Yeah, OK. Here’s what you’ll actually find under the screw top: Something so austere it could be a Gregorian chant by Hildegard von Bingen. Dry as the Mojave. Refreshing? Maybe like running through a sprinkler, incidentally refreshing. Aromas is too generous as a descriptor. Reviewers commonly talk about the attack; this is like alum, like full on citrus pith. “Bright” acidity? Ever heard of Citricidal? It’s like that. The honey note is something of a prank.

 

It’s not a bad wine, I guess. But ohmygod is it making an effort. As we sipped it I couldn’t help but see little girls dressed up to look four times their age at one of those deer-in-the-headlights beauty pageants.

beauty pageant

Price: Under $20 at BC Liquor.

 

Market Liquidity: Pretty, but not pretty good.

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