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Auckland, North Island, New Zealand
Wine tour operator, wine writer and lapsed physiotherapist. "Nature abhors a vacuum. I personally hate dusting."


Friday, February 19, 2016

Sauvignon Blanc ... thinking outside Marlborough

Sauvignon Blanc is our most planted grape variety and our largest export wine. The vast majority of our sauvignon comes from Marlborough - taking up around 18,000 hectares out of its total growing area of about 23,000 ha.

But there is more to Sauvignon Blanc than just the standard grassy, crisp and pungent Marlborough style. Nelson, Central Otago, Waipara, Martinborough and Hawke's Bay all grow Sauv Blanc – albeit with their own twist on the wine. Warmer climate Sauvs may have a less crisp profile and can show some tropical flavours like melon, passionfruit and pineapple. Some winemakers strive for a more complex flavour profile by introducing some oak barrel ageing. 
Here’s a selection to challenge the hardened Marlborough fans.

Gladstone Vineyard ‘Sophie’s Choice’ Barrel Fermented Wairarapa Sauvignon Blanc 2014  $35.00 NZD
Very classy. Fermented and aged in French oak for 4 months, with 24% stainless steel fermented Sauvs added before bottling. Ripe peach and oak aromas open up on the palate with creamy toast, grapefruit, and a hint of passionfruit, with a dry slightly herbal finish.  
Availability – Glengarry, United Cellars

Main Divide Waipara Valley (North Canterbury) Sauvignon Blanc 2015  $21.00 NZD
Main Divide is the second label from Waipara’s Pegasus Bay winery. Very approachable for those who are a wee bit Sauv averse. Low acids and a full, ripe and slightly tropical palate of passionfruit, black currant and Rose’s lime juice – with just a hint of roasted green pepper, and snow peas.
Availability – widely distributed through fine wine stores.

Alphonse Mellot Pouilly Fumé 2014 $47.00 NZD
From the Loire region of France, this wine was grown in the Pouilly Fumé AC area overlooking the banks the Loire river. Pale gold colour, with subtle aromas of melon, citrus and minerality. In the mouth, it reveals much more fruit characters like nectarine, passionfruit and grapefruit with a dash of clover honey. Finishes with medium soft crisp acidity.
Availability - Herne Bay Cellars

The Supernatural Hawke’s Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2014  $36.50 NZD
The Supernatural was launched in 2009 and is made from organically-produced grapes sourced exclusively from the Millar Road estate in Hawke’s Bay. Rich gold colour and a funky, yeasty nose – no doubt from the use of indigenous yeasts. Surprisingly soft on the palate, it has rich flavours of grapefruit, canned peach and rock melon with a hint of herbs. Really different. Dare I say it, a great Sauv for chardonnay drinkers.
Availability - Herne Bay Cellars

The Supernatural Green Glow Hawke’s Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2013 $54.20 NZD
This wine is an example of the ‘orange’ natural wine trend where the grape skins are left in contact with the juice during fermentation. Deep gold colour. Aromas of dried orange peel, resin and ripe banana skin. For a white wine, you do get a bit of tannin from the skin fermentation before it opens up with complex layers of flavour from beeswax to over-ripe peach, brandy and hint of honeysuckle. Not yer average Sauv by any means.
Availability - Herne Bay Cellars

Johner Noble Gladstone Sauvignon Blanc 2015  $24.90 NZD
‘Noble’ meaning affected by botrytis noble rot i.e. a fungus that sucks out water and leaves concentrated sugars in the grapes. Has aromas of pineapple and toffee apple. Racy acidity balanced by sweet flavours of ripe pineapple, canned pear, toffee and mandarin.
Availability - Herne Bay Cellars, Scenic Cellars

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