WHEN Westend Estate’s Bill Calabria let it be known he was planting Sauvignon Blanc, mates reminded him he lived in the broiling NSW Riverina, not in cooler “cardigan country” regions where the variety flourishes.
But Bill proved such skeptics wrong, and for the past eight vintages has been making an exceptional Sauvignon Blanc he sells under his Richland label… to totally confound the cynics, collect 20-odd Golds at national wine shows, and see the wine shoot to the forefront as Westend Estate’s best-selling white.
We have long been fans of the colourful Bill’s devotion to his craft, and his at-times audacity. It was he, remember, who made the world’s very first wine of the New Millenium, pruning select Chardonnay out-of-season, and using such tricks as black plastic and halogen lamps to bluff the vines into producing unseasonally ripe fruit he picked just after midnight of December 31 1999.
His just-released 2007 Richland Sauvignon Blanc is, in a word, a stunner, with loads of tropical fruit and citrus flavours, and a pungent nose of passion-fruit, sweet pea and lime, and a balanced finish of soft acid and alcohol.
And most remarkably for a wine of this individuality and quality its just $11.95 – as low as $9.95 on special – so it’s a budget match for Sauvignon Blanc’s best mate: a salad of oysters, mussels, prawns, crab and lobster, all enjoyed with a crusty baguette.