40 Wines 40 Days Recap 2: Wild & Wondrous Whites

I had quite a bit to wine about... {photo credit: Davon D. E. Hatchett}

I had quite a bit to wine about… {photo credit: Davon D. E. Hatchett}

After a little hiatus, I’m back with another #40Wines40Days recap! Now, I’m fully aware of the fact that today is not the normal #WineWednesday recap day, but for the last couple of weeks I was working  furiously on creating an EPIC post on “How to Host the Ultimate Empire Viewing Party.”

If you don’t know what “Empire” is, or if you do but missed the article, you should seriously check it out. I covered all of the details of hosting a viewing party in tremendous depth and detail. Even though it’s focused on a specific television show, it’s an excellent general blueprint for any viewing party because it covers all of the  planning elements and includes resources that you can use no matter what television show you host a party for.

Now back to the subject at hand: vino! I recently attended a wine tasting that I selected specifically because all of the wines being tasted would be from Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa only. As you know, the goal of #40Wines40Days is to be adventurous in the wines I taste in an effort to expand both my knowledge and palate, and these 3 wine tasting regions were those I wanted to do more exploration in. I thought it would be the perfect regional tasting for discovering some wonderful new gems, and I was absolutely right.

I’m breaking down the tasting into 2 separate recaps with one covering whites and the other reds so, as I’m sure you’ve already surmised from the title, this post will cover the whites. Let’s jump right into it.


There were three white grape varietals that were part of the tasting: Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, and Chardonnay. New Zealand is very well known for it Sauvignon Blanc and we tasted 2 of them, along with a Pinot Gris.

Just a quick **”Effervescent Education” note about Sauvignon Blanc: in general Sauv Blancs will have a fresh green fruit and/or green herb aroma. They’re normally intensely fruity; light-to-medium in body; and are refreshing with lots of mouthwatering acidity. Now you have some idea of what to expect in general anytime a Sauvignon Blanc crossed your path. Cool, right? So let’s proceed.

Lake Chalice “Cracklin Savie” Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc ($17):

Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc--who knew?! {image courtesy of www.vino-noire.com}

Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc–who knew?! {image courtesy of www.vino-noire.com}

The first thought that immediately popped into my mind was “Wait, sparkling Sauvignon Blanc?” For the record, most champagnes and even many sparkling wines are made with chardonnay grapes. I’ve never seen a sparkling Sauvignon Blanc before, so I was really excited to try it. I’m happy to say I wasn’t disappointed!

The wine had a lovely green hue to it with light bubbles. The deeply aromatic wine had peach; dark berry fruit; and grassy/green herbs on the nose–very pleasant. On the palate it was herbaceous and delicately fruity, with slight sweetness. Absolutely perfect for the warmer months, it would pair very well with seafood, especially when it’s grilled.

2013 Saint Clair Sauvignon Blanc Wairau Reserve ($28):

This was very round, lush white wine that was very grassy and fruity on the palate. The finish had some pleasant minerality to it. It was relatively low in acidity and had lots of fruit on the nose with a slight, fresh green bell pepper aroma.

2013 Mt Beautiful Pinot Gris ($21):

The beautiful Mt Beautiful {images courtesy of mtbeautiful.co.nz}

The beautiful Mt Beautiful {images courtesy of mtbeautiful.co.nz}

According to our tasting host, their aren’t a lot of Pinot Gris to be found from New Zealand, and according to my own research, Pinot Gris has something of a love-hate reputation and relationship among Australian winemakers and drinker alike.

But hey, I figure that’s there problem and not mine, right? Because the Mt Beautiful absolutely lived up to its name. Filled with tropical fruit and honey on the nose, this wine was lovely on the palate–round and luscious–with lots of peach, apple, and pear fruity-forwardness. It had a sort of “juiciness” that made it lip-smackingly good.


Let me guess: you’re surprised to see Australia associated with white wines. Well you’re not alone because I was too. It’s not that you think that Australia doesn’t produce any white wines, it’s just that you rarely hear much about them. At the very least you don’t hear about their whites nearrrrllllyyyy as much as you do their red wines, like Shiraz. But I’m told there’s a little secret as to why: they like to keep them to enjoy for themselves. Those selfish, selfish little Aussies! If it’s true though, I guess I can’t really blame them. The 2 chardonnays I tried were absolutely delicious.

A tale of two Aussies: Xanadu & Yering Station chardonnays {images courtesy of, from left: cellartracker.com; crackawines.com

A tale of two Aussies: Xanadu & Yering Station chardonnays {images courtesy of, from left: cellartracker.com; crackawines.com

2011 Xanadu Chardonnay, Margaret River Valley ($25):

So, if you are of a certain age, you starting singing “Xanadu” in your head as soon as you read the name of this wine. Okay, okay, maybe I was the only one singing… Moving on, this was a soft but pronounced wine that had a mix of both tropical fruit and oak notes in its aroma. In fact, it reminded me of some of the champagne I’ve sipped before. It was clean on the palate with some citrus, almond, and peach flavors running through it. A really nice chardonnay overall.

2006 Yering Station Chardonnay Reserve ($31):

I was a little skeptical about trying an aged chardonnay because typically white wines are traditionally known to age for less time than red wines (which can age anywhere from 5 to 20 years or more) are, therefore meaning you don’t typically hear about or get to try a lot of aged whites.

Can I just say that I feel in complete love with this wine? It was complex on the nose: smoky with citrus and banana aromas, a combination that I hadn’t experienced before. It had medium acidity, and was delicate on the palate with flavors of vanilla and stone fruit. Y-U-M.


While all of the wines were pretty terrific, the 3 that stood out in the pack for me were 2013 Mt Beautiful Pinot Gris2006 Yering Station Chardonnay Reserve; and, no surprise here, the Lake Chalice Cracklin Savie. These are my #BubbleistaApproved picks and I’ll definitely be adding them into my spring & summer sipping rotation.

Have you tried any of these 5 wild & wonderful wines? Will you be trying any? Sound off in the comments section and let me know what you think!

**If you didn’t already know, I like to do a share knowledge here on my site because ultimately my goal is to help more people become more comfortable with drinking more types of wine more often. I know, I know–noble goal, right? It’s a *ahem* selfless quest, I tell you. Knowing what you like and don’t like makes you more confident in your wine choices, which in turn helps you enjoy it more, too. And, as you already know, The Bubbleista’s quest of “living ordinary life in extraordinary ways” centers around finding more ways to enjoy life as much as possible. I’m grateful that you’ve joined me on this journey!