The Wine Idiot Reviews: Kono Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, 2015 ($8.99)
Perhaps my biggest complaint with Trader Joe's is that the absolute paucity of already-chilled wine. SOME OF US HAVE WHITE WINE EMERGENCIES, OK??
Fortunately, a Trader Joe's in Pasadena that I recently went to (which seems to be a concept-testing store of some sort) answered my prayers--there, shelved above the cheeses and dips, was a row of chilled white wine!!!
Mostly it's champagne--apparently there are people who have Veuve Clicquot emergencies. I have never had one of those.
BUT. One of the options was this Kono Sauvignon Blanc I've allllmost purchased several times before deciding against it for one reason or another. I figured it was a sign.
Sauvignon blanc is rapidly becoming a favorite of mine. This is funny because not six months ago I vehemently hated sauvignon blanc. I think paying attention when I'm drinking wine (and having to describe it for this blog) is forcing me to expand my palate. Anyway. I don't ALWAYS like sauvignon blanc, but I'm more inclined to now than just a few months ago.
THIS one...I love. I would ABSOLUTELY buy this bottle again, and it's totally worth the $8.99. It smells super-refreshing when you screw off the cap--crisp and fruity, like pear candy. It's really tart when you first sip it, with sweet fruit flavors coming out on the finish.
It's not like really sweet white wines (like say a pinot grigio or a riesling) where you taste the pear first. Right away it's ultra-tart, almost like if you've ever been tempted to lick a lemon? But whereas a lemon will actually cause your mouth to go all Sour-Patch-kids scrunched-up, this wine doesn't go so far. It just gets really crisp and tasty.
I think the grassy/herbal element is what sets this apart from pinot grigio, and the sweetness on the finish (as opposed to the first thing you taste) is what distinguishes it from a gewürztraminer or a viognier.
Another thing to note--this was the sauvignon blanc Trader Joe's decided to chill. I think that says something about its popularity, and quality for the price? Maybe.
Compared to the Les Portes de Bordeaux Sauvignon Blanc (which rings up at $5.99), the Kono is more grassy/herbaceous while the Les Portes de Bordeaux is far more lemon-y. Both I really enjoyed. I think the Kono is probably a better quality wine, and...honestly? I might buy this one instead. Unless I was looking for something specifically to pair with lemon flavors.
What the bottle says: "We are Māori, the first people of Aotearoa/New Zealand--we have been environmental guardians for generations. In the mists of time, our ancestors made an epic journey to this land, which we continue to nurture--providing for our people. Duality is the hallmark of KONO--created, owned and operated by our indigenous community. This wine has been carefully prepared for you in the spirit of our traditions--a celebration of our harvest, our people, and our culture.
Our Kono Sauvignon Blanc showcases great aromatics of citrus, gooseberries and passionfruit within a typically powerful and flavour filled palate. Packed with juicy ripe fruits, this wine has focus and purity with fresh natural acidity and a long, crisp and dry finish."
What the Wine Idiot says: WHOA. Well, damn. I've never gotten such a history lesson from a wine bottle. I really really really hope that this company really is "created, owned and operated by" indigenous people. Otherwise, that's some really horrible appropriation to market some wine.
ABV: 13%, the perfect amount for a white IMHO.
Who's responsible for this? "Bottled by: Kono Beverages, 16 Bristol St., Riverlands, Marlborough, NZ"
Do I need a corkscrew? Nope!
What do smarter people say about it? YOU GUYS YOU GUYS YOU GUYS!!! Gil Lempert-Schwarz reviewed this!!!!!!! I say this devoid of any trace of irony, I absolutely love this guy and his reviews. If he doesn't have a fan club yet, he really needs one. My new life-goal is to taste wine with Gil Lempert-Schwarz. Check out his BEAUTIFUL PROSE about this wine:
"In the glass: Kono Sauvignon Blanc wine shows a faint lemon-yellow color with bright greenish streaks, a fine, clean, clear translucent appearance at the core with glass-clear rim definition and medium viscosity.
On the nose: This fragrant wine has concentrated notes of northern gooseberries, crushed white peaches, pomelo flesh, chalky minerals, fresh lime rind, Key lime pie, Granny Smith apples and some gardenia floral character.
On the palate: The wine is crisp with crushed gooseberry, white currants, fresh citrus zest and soft, balanced white fruit that perfectly balances the fresh acidity, making this a highly drinkable and approachable sauvignon blanc. The midpalate goes into the finish seamlessly, and the wine appears to have really soft, balanced harmony between the fruit and the acidity."
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE go read the entire article for more on exactly why he thinks this is such a great deal.
Should I bring it to a friend's house? Apparently yes, this is one of those special Trader Joe's finds. Even though it's a screw-top, if what you're looking for is a sauvignon blanc from a region known for their sauvignon blanc, but you're on a budget...you can't do better than this one.