WHEN Wayne Stehbens says his 2009 Katnook Estate Sauvignon Blanc is "his best yet," he does so with somewhat of authority: he's been making the variety since 1981, decades before many other Australian winemakers wrapped up in their Chardonnays had given it even the remotest thought.
"2009 was an extraordinary year for Sauvignon Blanc," says the veteran of 28 continuous vintages of the variety in South Australia's Coonawarra. "Temperatures were slightly below average, it was dry and we had excellent fruit off the vines just before a heatwave set in."
The resultant wine from all these blessings of Mother Nature has up-front tropical fruit flavours, subtle herbaceous characters and nice accompanying minerality. And running contrary to what most say about Sauvignon Blanc, Wayne predicts that this one will cellar well for up to ten years.
"We tend to buck the general view that Australian Sauvignon Blanc does not age," he says. "Only recently we tasted a 1981, our very first vintage of the variety, out of the cellar. It was extraordinarily youthful with orange blossom notes, a touch of minerality and barely a hint of oxidation."
Pay $28 and for something a little unusual in food matches, Wayne suggests a puree of peas and beans, shitake mushrooms and a drizzle of truffle oil.
ONE FOR LUNCH: IF you like a good slab of prime rib, don't look past Kirrihill's 2008 Single Vine yard Tullymore Cabernet Sauvignon from the Clare Valley to go with it.
Winemaker Donna Stephens took advantage of the finest premium fruit from the Tullymore Vineyard to craft a wine with classic Clare Cabernet flavours: ripe black berries, plum, mulberry, a nice touch of oak and elegant tannins. At $19.95 good value with that prime rib and oven-roasted vegies.
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 "BEST yet" says veteran of 28 vintages of his Coonawarra Sauvignon Blanc.
 PRIME drop to go with prime rib and oven-roasted vegies.