It might sound unlikely to your average punter who drinks from the Adelaide Hills or Marlborough, but Orange has stepped forward as a very promising sauvignon blanc district. Names like Philip Shaw, Printhie and Cumulus' Climbing label are leading the way with their more shapely, refined varietal expressions.
Climbing's 2009 opens to smooth scents of creamed gooseberries, lychee, lime and gentle passionfruit, which although lacking a bit of varietal punch and intensity, it shows carefully judged style. Decidedly eloquent for the variety, its somewhat juicy palate presents pristine, clear varietal fruit underscored by mineral tones and a delightful savoury aspect possibly imparted by a touch of barrel fermentation. It's beautifully refined, restrained and ably textured for the variety, with a refreshing finish nicely drawn out by persisting notes of lime juice/passionfruit and limey acids.
ü+ Climbing's 2009 totally works in more of an 'adult' sauvignon blanc sort of way. Chalk up another one for Orange. Drink to 2011.