Houghton “The Bandit” Sauvignon Blanc Pinot Gris 2010

I suppose it was the unlikeliness of this blend that intrigued me as much
Posted 12th September 2012        

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I suppose it was the unlikeliness of this blend that intrigued me as much as anything.

I might be wrong (I often am) but I don’t think it’s often the done thing to marry Sauvignon Blanc with Pinot Gris. Marrying it with Pinot Grigio would be pointless, as they typically share too many characteristics to make it a worthwhile pairing. But the use of the term “Pinot Gris“, which means the same thing but suggests a very different style (like Syrah V Shiraz).

Pinot Gris tends to be more aromatic and off-dry, with the Alsace sweeties being a good (and very enjoyable) example of this. Coupled with the antipodean tendency to produce almost harshly acidic fruit-driven Sauvignon Blancs, this seemed a brave match. One can imagine the whispers of “I give them a year” running up and down the aisle in the… erm… wine church.

The ever-so-pale bottle green hue reminded me of German and Alsace wines – certainly it seemed a long way from anything typically Australian, which – much as I love Aussie wines, I hasten to add! – seemed a good omen. The clear glass bottle with its bizarre boot-on-sheep motif also evoked a kind of off-kilter classiness that put me right at home.

The aromas were surprisingly unsweet, or unsuggestivee of sweetness; the Sauvignon seemed to be winning with elements of hay and green salad leaves dominating any fruit or floral notes. And the taste? Well, the taste was more Pinot Gris, certainly. There were citrus elements coupled with sweetness, suggesting more of an orangey flavour than any non-dessert wine I’ve ever had; and there was a hint of creaminess along with that too. Of course there were some hints of a more lemony sharpness in there too, but really the overwhelming effect for me was of a sort of orange creaminess that reminded me of sweets or bonbons.

I couldn’t claim to have loved the wine. It was nice; it was a new experience, and I won’t say the match doesn’t work, but I don’t know if I’d buy it again.

Well, maybe I would; it’s a nice and quirky aperitif. But I can’t quite picture a meal it would work with. It seems too delicate for the spicy Asian cuisine one would normally associate with sweeter whites. I’d be interested to try some of the other “daring blends” that Houghton produces under its “The Bandit” brand, but I can’t for the life of me remember where we bought this bottle.

You can pick it up, as with most things, from Amazon.


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Meet the Author:
Alexander Velky
Alexander grew up on Anglesey, almost as far away from civilization as he’d have liked. He studied English at university and subsequently moved to Prague to teach it to Czech people for just long enough that he could say he’d done that. He then returned to the UK to do an MA in Professional Writing, and later moved to London by accident and worked in the music industry for a while. His interest in wine has been developing throughout. He took the WSET Intermediate exam, for which he was rewarded with a certificate and a pin badge, but he probably won't bother doing any more. He now lives in Pembrokeshire with his wife and daughter. He writes, and drinks, for a living. You can follow him on Twitter if that's how you choose to spend your time. Photograph by Léonie Keeble