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Friday 12 July 2019

30th vintage for Australian wine benchmark

The first Shaw + Smith Sauvignon Blanc was launched in 1990.

It was a very different time in an Australian wine industry about which I had just started to write.

Sauvignon blanc was a virtually unknown grape variety at the time - but cousins Martin Shaw and Michael Hill-Smith saw potential in the variety and launched their own label using cool-climate Adelaide Hills fruit.

In those days, sauvignon blanc was under appreciated. So much so that the great wine expert Len Evans dismissed the variety as "a weed". This despite the popularity of Loire Valley wines made from the grape, including Sancerre and Pouilly Fumé. 

But at that time many Australians had no idea what grape was used to produce those wines.

The public thought differently to Evans, however, and Shaw + Smith Sauvignon Blanc was an instant success story, wowing the drinking public, following in the footsteps of Kiwi crowd-stopper Cloudy Bay, launched just a few years earlier. 

The wine's citrus fruit freshness and length made it a perfect summer sipper.

"Stylistically the wine hasn't changed much over the years," the cousins said. "We've always sought to make a sauvignon blanc that is a pure expression of grape variety and region, coupled with texture and overall drinkability."

The newly-released Shaw + Smith 2019 Sauvignon Blanc is the 30th straight release and it is another cool-climate ripper; fresh and vibrant with bright fruit, mineral hints and a huge refreshment factor.

The price is now around $29 a bottle but it remains a global benchmark. Audacity rewarded.


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