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  • Jancis Robinson
Written by
  • Jancis Robinson
25 Jul 2006

find this wine

Got back from the Languedoc to London to find it's almost as hot here and, as reported elsewhere on this site, seems to be so just about everywhere in the northern hemisphere at present - with the notable exception of Japan apparently. Who says global warming is a political construct?

So what's needed is something you can chill savagely and will still refresh and titillate. Sauvignon Blanc does the job but in this weather I reckon you need something reasonably uncomplicated.

I have already written about the much more serious, and more expensive, Montes Sauvignon Blanc 2005 Leyda but I was very impressed by Montes Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2005 Casablanca Valley which is less serious - tells a joke or two - and has enlough richness to survive aggressive chilling, non shortage of acidity, and lots of refreshing citrus nd passion fruit flavour. It's not one of the asparagus spectrum of Sauvignons, nor, unlike the Leyda, is it especially minerally. This Casablanca version mainlines fruit – in fact I wonder whether they adopted the technique of picking the fruit at different stages of ripeness, including some particularly ripe fruit for the exotic, slightly tropical aroma (not the same as the simple pineapple aroma I associate with low temperature fermentation).

I see it as quintessentially an aperitif but if you were to drink it with a well-dressed salad it would not rise up and bite you, as we make clear in More thoughts on high summer food and wine matching.

Incidentally, this wine is of course made from proper Sauvignon Blanc, Chile's newer plantings, rather than the old Sauvignonasse/Sauvignon Vert/Tocai Friulano that used to be called 'Sauvignon' in Chile.

You may remember that the Italians have had to come up with an alternative name for their beloved Tocai Friulano as the Hungarians object to its similarity to Tokaji. I'm told they have decided to call it simply Friulano.

As far as I can tell, this wine is available mainly in Switzerland and the UK where it is generally priced at £5.99 but is currently on special offer at Majestic for £4.79 apiece if you buy two bottles of any Chilean wine. You can also find it at Waitrose for £5.99 or £5.69 if you buy a dozen bottles (which doesn't seem much of a discount). To keep track of the really good reductions and special offers chez the UK major retailers, keep visiting


I strongly suggest that wine lovers elsewhere looking for interesting, refreshing Sauvignon Blanc look out for the much more widely available (especially in the US) Leyda bottling at about £2 more a bottle. Best price I can find via is 7.75 euros from in Germany and $10.99 from the estimable K&L of San Francisco. This would be nicely in line with our discussion in your turn yesterday about the relative average prices paid per bottle in the US and UK.

This Friday night Nick and I are off to Australia with our youngest for four weeks. People here in London seem rather envious that Sydney is experiencing unusually cold, wet weather and act as though we're off as a deliberate reaction to the heatwave whereas of course this was set in stone months ago when I accepted an invitation to judge the Hunter Valley Wine Show in mid August. Apart from that we are hoping to get as much R&R as possible, never having visited Australia as tourists, but I will of course be checking in frequently online and between us Julia and I will be updating the site – perhaps not quite so often as usual.

find this wine