I don’t know about all of you, but I was in no hurry to get my taxes done. It’s a combination of future knowledge of my lack of willpower (that return would probably end up being invested in a ridiculous wine shopping spree if I got it today) and the overwhelming prospect of filing not one, not two, not three, but FOUR W-2s this year, one of which was from a company that went defunct last summer. As such, I put it off. For a long time. I finally got all my W-2s together around the end of February and… just did not want to take the next daunting step.
Last night, I finally took the plunge and began the arduous task of allowing an electronic program to compile all my information for me. Since I was essentially punching in numbers over… and over… and over… and over, I had a hand free for a glass of wine. Which wine would go well with swallowing the bitter pill of last-minute taxation, but with a long reward in the making? The 2009 ranga.ranga Sauvignon Blanc, of course.
ranga.ranga, like all of the Barker’s Marque line-up, is a New Zealand wine from the Marlborough wine region. Marlborough is inherently suited to growing dry white wine, what with the cooler growing season and unusually dry, sunny weather. Though the weather is incredibly dry, the soil is almost entirely clay, allowing it to hold just enough water to keep the vines healthy without an overabundance. A hefty sea breeze perpetually blows through the valley, keeping temperatures down. The 2009 ranga.ranga is somewhat of an anomaly in that, while their Sauvignon Blancs are usually a blend of different vineyard grapes, this vintage is entirely comprised of fruit from the Muritai vineyard in the Awatere Valley, which means the acidic, aggressive wine qualities the above conditions would create are increased even further.
From here on out, I’ll let the wine speak for itself.
The appearance of the wine is almost entirely colorless. It has a very slight yellow tint, and its viscosity seems fairly low. I would expect this wine to have a lighter body and a thinner, but not weak, texture.
The nose of the wine is very interesting. It’s tropical and citrusy with a very distinct lime and passion fruit, and a slight, cool alcohol scent makes an appearance. There’s an unusual herbaceous quality to it and an effervescence that contributes to an overall smell of a lime-flavored tonic water. It smells wonderful.
The mouth feel of the wine is extremely vibrant. It’s hard to describe. Theres a puckering bite to it, and you can tell it’s got a ton of acidity, but it’s not overwhelming or uncomfortable. It’s somehow quite smooth.
The flavor of the wine is incredibly complex. It’s actually more medium-bodied, the alcohol holding up the aggressive flavors extremely well (13% alc). The attack is very citrusy, a lemon-lime, grapefruit, and tropical fruit mash-up that matches the high acidity very well. There’s a distinct array of green flavors, with grass clippings, green bell pepper, and a hint of green chili. The acidity comes forward even more so on the finish, which provides the flavors and sensations you would get from biting into a slice of fresh, ripe lemon. I would typically say the acidity is a little high in a wine as light as this, but I really think it works here. Every flavor in this wine benefits from the vibrancy the acid provides. You want dry? This wine gives you dry. The acidity comes in at a 3.27 pH, and the residual sugar barely tops 2 g/l.
For the Casual Drinker:
Don’t be fooled by the light color and the relaxed-looking label; this wine is an aggressive specimen. The sugar is low, the acidity is high, and the flavors are active and complex. It’s perfectly suitable to drinking on its own, but it would match really well with a spicy chicken or seafood meal. Believe me, it could hold its own against the spice. The acidity is dangerous for heartburn, so be prepared for that. This is a fantastic outdoorsy sort of wine. It just smells and tastes like a summer party after a hard day of gardening and yardwork. It’s the wine equivalent of a productive day.
Great wine, great price. $12 gets you a fantastic, aggressive, and complex wine. An anecdotal testament to this wine: after I did my tasting, I poured it out to share, and the immediate reaction was a loud, “Wow! I LOVE this wine.” 7/10
It’s available online from several retailers, but Raleigh-Durham-area readers can pick this wine up at Weaver Street Market. Buy local!