EP 845 Brown Bag Challenge – Sauvignon Blanc Taste Off

Gary starts a blind tasting challenge with 2 Sauvignon Blancs and some surprising results.

Wines tasted in this episode:

2008 Cliff Lede Sauvignon BlancNapa Sauvignon Blanc
2008 Grieve Sauvignon BlancNapa Sauvignon Blanc

Latest Comment:

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luca bercelli


Line of the day, ‘I don’t need your two cents Mott’

Funny episode, Lizzie phones randomly and Mott has an opinion that is different from GVs. Wild!

Tags: napa, review, sauvignon blanc, white, wine, wines

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  • MarcBelgium

    Indeed nice episode. But I prefer the double blinds.

    QOTD. The best: Buisson Renard by the legend Didier Dagueneau. Amazing.
    Another good one: Sancerre D'Antan by Bourgeois.
    The ones I do not love: To many to tell but in general thes ones who smell and taste like a footballgame.

  • dream_team_sf

    my favorite sauvignon blancs are from sancerre–so lean, clean and minerally. but sadly they are expensive, in which case i head to touraine or quincy for that similar style at half the price. had an incredible sauvignon blanc from movia, a croatian producer right near italy that was incredible, but it was quite richer and a bit spicy–unlike any sauv blanc i have ever had. i cannot stand the over-the-top new zealand style sb's nor can i tolerate california producers that make sauvignon blanc the way they would a buttery chardonnay. why would a producer work so hard in the vineyard only to cover up all that work in the cellar with new oak?

  • GermanChemist

    Hi Gary,

    that was fun!

    I do like: Sancerre
    I do not like: stuff that smells like cutting the lawn and tastes like chewing grapefruit peel
    Bye Steven

  • murso

    Yeah, jet lag. But by I know how you just don't dig on the Cali. S.B.'s… Something I jst don't understand, you being the self-proclaimed 'acid freak' and all.
    I could go on w/ how many I love, both Cali, and otherwise, from Bordeaux and Loire, to Chile, South Africa, N.Z of course, and even Italy, as I'd responded to the Fair and Balanced show, on how Angelo Gaja's Alteni di Brassica S.B., at 11 years old, was a mind blowing revelation.

    QotD – in Cali, there are so many delicious producers, but off the top of my head, 2 favorites are Crocker & Starr and Selene. …but there's such an insane amout of variability: in clonal selection, climate, soil, canopy mgmt., steel or wood, lees or no,barrel ageing, etc. – makes for an entire universe of possibilities w/ just one grape,( let alone up to 24% blending in lower end offerings).

  • murso

    Morande, at both levels that I'd had are tasty and so undervalued, such good deals. On the other hand, I love Stellenbosch, but in both states I'd worked in, it retails for around $20, and really worth it… Is it possible you'd purchased some kind of discount/end of bin/ or old vintage, which may not have been kept up to top condition (i.e. heat/light (flourescent, or sun) exposure)?

  • hyllos

    Ok, I will answer your question of the day :

    Best Sauvignon Blanc : France, Sancerre, Grande Côte by François Cotat (eg: 1989, 1997, 1995)
    Worst Sauvignon Blanc : Chile, Concha y Toro (especially 2008)

    But I also very disliked Cloudy Bay 2007 and considering how overpriced it is, I could almost rank it the worst ever!!

  • YoungDave

    HA! What an episode: WRONG on the NZ SB call, but RIGHT with your overall stance that CA SB is usually not the best place for that grape to be grown- especially for the price points. You win some and you lose some. GREAT fun to watch.

    QOTD: LEAST FAVE: A CA SB from Alexander Valley that I had recently that was terrible (I forget the name). Tasted like a slightly grassier Welch's white grape juice that was bitter and hot at the same time. Give me a shot of liquor with the Welch's to chase it and save me the trouble.
    MOST FAVE: NEW WORLD: 2006 Clos Marguerite, New Zealand
    MOST FAVE: OLD WORLD: 2008 Domaine Moreux Sancerre

  • You buy me one, 😀 can’t get on in this country, at the moment there is only Late Harvest SB

  • Great Epsiode Gary. My fav Sav blanc would have to be Iona Elgin Sfrom South Africa.
    My least favourite would be the last cheap Chilean SB that I was forced to taste.

  • jstolpe

    I am a lurker from stockholm who has been following your show or 1,5 years. I love it!
    qotd: I loved the 06- Silex, but with sb I usually go with bourdeaux blends, the grape needs a fatty friend.
    I quickly forget about crappy wines.

  • waynoooo daaaaa winoooo

    Yo Dude, I “mellow-out” every once & awhile……..

  • hugh

    brown bags are very humbling! was nice to hear lizzie's voice. now i really believe she exists!!

  • ellen

    QOD Fave Sauv Blanc is Matua Hawkes Bay(not the more commonly found Marlborough) – good stuff. Most Napa Valley Sauvs leave me cold. I just don't think they have the have the crisp acidity that I like.

  • romtina

    My favorite Sauvignon Blanc is the St Supery from California. Favorite one from NZ is the Allen Scott, which is a great value, IMHO. Least favorite is Kim Crawford, which I know a lot of people like, well, I really don't… Overall, Sauvignon Blanc is probably my favorite varietal.

  • Favorite is the bling Mondavi To Kalon I-Block, 2001-ish. Tasted similar to how you describe the Grieve — some cream, some oomph, but still sauv blanc at the same time.

  • mob515

    Had a very tasty SV from Larkmead as part of their wine club nice balance of mineral and fruit

  • jimchem

    It is good to see you don't hit the peg every time. It gives you creditability.

  • Bob

    Favorite SB: 2009 Round Pond (from Napa)
    Least Favorite: 2007 Mason

  • Chris P

    Favorite: Do I have to pick one? Pascal Jolivet Sancerre 2008 or Eradus 2008.
    Least Favorite: Anything oaked…Highlander Napa 2007?
    GV – great shot, close up of Mott tasting…now thats funny! CP

  • Love Mott time! Someone needs to make a Mott montage

  • Kmurph

    no prob smiledoc! I personally liked the Grieve. And as far as chilling the wine, Gary never tastes it that way.

  • Dude! It was pretty clear. No screw top and you were feeling the Bordeaux type bottle. How could you go NZ???

    QOTD. I tried a 2007 Dagueneau Silex once and it was pretty special. Loire rocks!

  • Richie

    Great episode. I loved your face when you unvailed the first wine!
    QOTD: Only had one so far and didn't really like it.

  • WineWoman

    QOTD: Mahi NZ SB is a favorite. Loved the Cliff Lede at the winery and they were earlier vintages, I agree with you on the latest vintages and would only buy it on a super Cindy price. I enjoy lots of the Sancerre's. Least favorite–had a Windsor about 2 years ago.

  • Cardiff_Kie

    Two more CA SB's for you…

    Least Favorite: Ancient Peaks 2008 SB – notes of cat pee, spiked lemonade, and artificial turf

    Favorite: EOS 2008 SB – more citrus peal, slight pineapple, and high fives

  • jsums

    BROWN BAG! Say it with me. BROWN BAAAAAAG! Love it. QOTD – Fav = Drylands '07 Marlborough or Domaine de la Perriere '07 Sancerre. Obviously both very different in style, but both are excellent for my taste. And, as a bonus, both are relatively easy to find and reasonbly priced. Worst = Kunde “Magnolia Lane” '06 Sonoma. It kind of breaks my heart to say that, because I am generally a big fan of the quality estate wine the Kunde family produces on a consistent basis…and they're great people…but that particular wine sucked. It was just all over the place. Some may like it, but it was really awkward for my palate.

  • MichaelMA

    Extended zoom in on Mott's mouth — priceless!

  • Allan

    Bring on the Brown Bag Barolo-Challenge!! ; )

  • DanLacher

    Brown Bag!!!

    Awesome to see that even a master palette can get surprised.

    QOTD: Last SB that my wife and I were enjoying was cheap old Monkey Bay and the last one that disappointed me was some “big name” that just fell flat on my palette and had no depth.

  • tcatjo

    Favorite Oyster Bay Least Favorite Kim Crawford

  • royjosephson

    its time for double blinds. that is the ultimate test

  • John_Kenneth_J

    love the brown bag episodes.
    qotd 1: I like the wild aromatic grassy citrus sav's w bell pepper or jalapeno notes. Dislike those fume blanc style sav's.
    qotd 2: as far as your question on the board behind you, well I'm eagerly looking forward to that little unknown wine from Jura appearing on your show. I hope you get a good one.

  • waynoooo daaaaa winoooo


  • QOTD 1a: EMMOLO SB from California. Best in my opinion from that state. Nice label too.


  • Nice episode… good thing you kept your mouth shut… would have been a TERRIBLE way to end such an ICONIC show 😉

    QOTD: Best (drinking right now) for US: Cakebread, non-US: Kim Crawford

    QOTD: Least – someone served a Clos Bu Bois SB… talk about FLABBY!

  • jayhitek

    Phone call at the beginning was hysterical.
    QOTD: Ummmmmm ya.. Terrible with wine names.

  • That was a curve ball of a show huh.

    QOTD: so far best tasted: Bordeaux D'Estournel 2007 or Chateau De Sancerre 2008. least tasted: Errazuriz Reserva 2006.

  • plcb

    I wonder how many people bought Honig Sauvignon Blanc today!!!

  • jjadamsfb

    Welcome to my GF's Wheelhouse.

    Fav – 2002 Kim Crawford
    Blah – any Cali
    Battleground – Oregon is the dark horse

  • Jeremy

    1st time commenter.
    Favorite: Dagueneau Silex
    Least: California

  • Hey Gary

    What an awesome show. Loving the fact you got stiched up!

    I'm not a big Sauvignon Blanc fan and am pretty disappointed with the people of Australia for jumping on the NZSB bandwagon so seriously – there's a lot of 20something girls in Aussie who really need to start expanding their palates! The best examples of the grape in Australia are often from Margret River where they are blended with Semillion.

    QOTD: Favourite would have to be those that show a bit of complexity (with maybe a hint of oak). My current favourite is Metcaffe Valley, a tiny producer in Victoria's Macedon Ranges region. It's a great wine with a hint of Chardonnay in the blend that lends it a lot of complexity.


  • darinlatimer

    fave of the moment – Pelter from Israel which I discovered at the fantastic LUSH Wine and Spirits in Chicago. Fave american – Turnbull. Fave NZ – I got burned out on it finally but the 2008 Kimmy was a really great wine.

  • SourGrapesFC

    great show. love the blind bags.

  • ChrisV

    “You guys are all so happy at home right now”


  • hollisdevillo

    ship to canada

  • well that was pretty funny. glad we didn't end the show over this episode
    QOTD: i've had a lot of crappy sauv. blancs, and none that have been too good

  • Beeper

    Gary, you're such a d!ck zooming in on Mott like that…AGAIN. Hilarious!

  • gfish

    G-Vman, I like your brown bag shows but I would like to see 3 wines, not 2 (just my 3 cents).

    QOTD: Sauvignon Blanc
    – Favorite, many good ones, at the moment it's Reuilly 2007 'Les Pierres Plates' but it keeps changing.
    – Least favorite, hard to say but the style I least like is something that is big oaky California SB with some residual sugar. Cool climate SB rulez.

  • Pat__B

    Favorite: Whitehall Lane, Stony Hill

    Least: Cakebread

  • Israel Zenteno

    Great show, to answer you, I like St. Supery sauv blanc, also digged Pasalaqua (a bit pricey if you ask me). Also Peju did a wiked sauv blanc some time ago, haven't tried it recently…


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