About Sauvignon Blanc
While its ancestral home is France, it is in New Zealand that the revival of Sauvignon Blanc has taken place and put New Zealand firmly on the international wine stage. Indeed it could be argued that every other successful wine variety exported from these shores is piggy-backing on the success of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc in the world market.
Sauvignon Blanc is grown and produced in most of our wine production areas and accounts for 65% of all grapes grown in this country. However it is Marlborough, and in particular the Wairau and Awatere Valleys, in which the majority of the country's grapes are grown. While both of these valleys produce regional variation, they still stamp the Marlborough 'hallmark flavour' that has won these wines international acclaim.
You can taste the distinctive New Zealand characters in all of the Gold medal wines from this years New World Wine Awards.
As a generalisation, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is best consumed within 3 years of harvest and its the zingy acidity that is the cool climate hall mark of this wine. As the grapes ripen the flavour changes very quickly from grassy and green herbs through to red capsicum and gooseberry. Very ripe grapes impart tropical fruit flavours and aromas of pineapple, papaya and passionfruit. It is this rich range of flavours balanced with mouth tingling acidity that make these wines so attractive to drink.
There is a lovely range of developing styles where the grapes are fermented in oak barrels, giving the wine a softer textural component on the palate. Still with the hall-mark cool climate zingy acidity, these are superb food wines that will age gracefully for several years.
When first released on the British market, the wine was described by one journalist as the experience of "being strapped naked to Elle McPherson while bungy jumping into a bottom-less pit of fresh gooseberry leaves". Not surprisingly, the desire of the British public to try the wine was overwhelming, a love affair that still continues today.
Sauvignon Blanc food match
Try a glass of chilled Sauvignon Blanc with steamed green lipped mussels - a combination that is divine. This wine also complements white fish, seafood and a crisp green salad.