Brian’s Wine Wednesday: Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc

Once the weather gets warmer, it’s hard to beat a nice Sauvignon Blanc. Done right, the balance between fruitiness and acidity is perfectly refreshing. Sadly, most inexpensive Sauv Blancs either have no flavor, or basically taste like sweet fruit juice. Kim Crawford’s Sauvignon Blanc is a happy exception, and delivers perfect flavor at a very reasonable price.

First, some history. If you’re going to try Sauvignon Blanc, make it one from New Zealand. This is the grape that put NZ wines on the map, due in no small part to Kim and Erica Crawford, who started Kim Crawford Wines in 1996, and soon developed a worldwide following. Like many young winemakers, though, it wasn’t an easy road. The Crawfords struggled in the early days to make ends meet, actually borrowing $70,000 against their house to contract with New Zealand growers to buy grapes, and rent equipment from other wineries, just to get their wine into bottles. But less than 10 years after its founding, Kim Crawford Wines had grown so well known that Constellation Brands bought the name for $50 million dollars.

Today, the Crawfords are $50 million dollars richer, but that payday came at a price: they can no longer use the Kim Crawford name on any new wines they produce! As a fan of the original brand, let me direct you to Loveblock Wines, their new venture, where even on the website they are only listed as Kim and Erica. But I digress.

Despite being part of a giant conglomerate, the Kim Crawford brand is still known for some of New Zealand’s finest wines. The wine you will most likely see in stores here is their delicious Sauvignon Blanc. On a hot day, this is the wine I prefer to drink, with nice aromas of citrus and fresh grass, and juicy flavors of key lime, honeydew melon, and pink grapefruit. What makes this wine really work is the crisp, mineral finish. You need to balance powerful fruit flavors like this with a crisp, dry finish, and this wine has that in spades PLUS a mouth-watering acidity which keeps the flavors perfectly balanced, and refreshing.

This wine used to be available everywhere for around $15, but the last few years they have routinely gotten 90+ scores in blind tastings, so the price has gone up a few dollars. Still, at less than $20 a bottle, it’s well worth it, especially this time of year.

4 corksOn my five-cork scale based on taste and value, I give the 2017 Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc four corks.

If you’d like to try interesting wines like this, please join me at our next private wine party at Walt’s Hitching Post, 3300 Madison Pike in Fort Wright! I host a wine dinner there every month, and we feature several interesting wines, each paired with a delicious course. There are always cool prizes to win, too, so listen Wednesday at 4:15 to win your spot on the guest list, or click here for a chance to win!

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