Last summer I cycled along the Danube from Germany through Austria and Slovakia to Budapest in Hungary. It was a great pilgrimage and largely flat apart from a short section in Hungary which took us high up above the Danube and into vineyards.
Most of the route through four countries was well paved and well marked but this section was along potholed windy roads with reversing tractors, and vineyard workers throwing prunings into the road.
Having climbed a steep windy hill we were glad to have a long descent, but had to keep our wits about us as the road surface felt like it was was shaking the fillings from my teeth. It did shake the bolts from my panniers, and I felt a sudden jolt, fast decelaration, a dreadful noise and burning smell. I managed to get the bike under control and stopped safely, apart from a heart rate way above the recommended level. My panniers had dislodged and acted as an anchor, but being evenly balanced, they were a stabilising pair.
We managed to fashion a repair and I managed to stop shaking, so we set off again,back up through more vineyards advertising that they belonged to the Hilltop Winery. We went past their ‘chateau’, but with an afternoon’s riding ahead and my wobbly state we decided not to stop in for samples.
I was therefore surprised and pleased when I saw a Hilltop Sauvignon Blanc in Sainsbury’s. Even more so to see it on sale. We drank it this weekend.
It was a very slightly pink colour, not full on rose, but sort of pinot gris-like. It smelled floral with lots of elderflower cut by a little citrus. It was dry with a medium-high acidity, a medium body and medium intensity of flavour. The florality continued, but was met with a little more traditional sauvignon blanc gooseberry and grass. It didn’t linger long, but was rather more-ish. At just 11% alcohol it seemed OK to give in to the call of a second glass.
I peobably wouldn’t have bought this wine if I hadn’t cycled through the vines, but I’m glad I did. It wasn’t a typical Sauvignon Blanc, but it was an interesting one.