It’s a heretical position to take, but I don’t get Sauvignon Blanc from Elgin. Last night at the opening of Luke Dale-Roberts’s new restaurant The Test Kitchen, there was the 2009 vintage of generally highly regarded Oak Valley. I found it herbaceous on nose and palate, juicy and clean but somewhat slight and not particularly complex. I’m not one of those who don’t deign to drink Sauvignon on account of it not being a noble variety, but I do want a little bit of oomph. There, I said it.
Luckily, Bordeaux-style red The Oak Valley Blend 2005 was also available. A blend of 69% Merlot, 27% Cabernet Franc and 4% Cabernet Sauvignon, this wine is a cracker: pure red and black fruit, carefully judged oak and great freshness. In its youth, it might have been considered a bit lean and angular but it’s getting more approachable with time in the bottle while still way off its peak. Bloody marvellous with a Luke Dale-Roberts sausage roll or three.