By Jim Chanteloup | K&L NZ Wine Buyer
"Sauvignon Blanc is a strange grape. It evokes strong reactions. Those who love it, love it with a passion. Those who find its flavours less than subtle, tend to be less than subtle in their criticism of it." -Jancis Robinson
Can you tell the difference between Marlborough and Martinborough Sauvignon Blanc? Tasted blind, you might not be able to guess that latter was also from New Zealand. Under the right conditions, Sauvignon Blanc is a superb example of terroir, and nowhere is this trait more obvious than in New Zealand itself, where Sauvignon Blanc is king. While the region of Marlborough has become synonymous with the benchmark Kiwi style, you will find quite a different expression in New Zealand's more under-the-radar winegrowing regions, depending on factors of microclimate and soil-type.
If you are curious about learning more about the varietal traits of Sauvignon Blanc, or have ambitions to one day become a Master of Wine like Jancis Robinson, do yourself a favor and get "Kiwi Savvy" by checking out the stylistic difference from Marlborough, Martinborough and Nelson with these wines recommended below. All three represent great character from their respective regions within New Zealand.
The limestone soils of Craggy Range's Te Muna Road vineyard in Martinborough lend minerality and elegance to this sophisticated single-vineyard Sauvignon Blanc from one of New Zealand's most esteemed producers. Fermented in 100% stainless steel and aged briefly for three months in used French oak, the 2011 exhibits classic Te Muna chalky minerality, which underscores inherently crisp citrus and green apple aromas and flavors accent by note of fresh cut hay and flowering herbs. Tangy acidity and a fleshy midpalate lead toward a focused finish. Enjoy this dry, refreshing, classic Martinborough SB with fresh seafood!
Te Whare Ra is a small, organic, family-run winery in Marlborough's Wairau Valley that we loved so much that we decided to import them directly! That means more bang for your buck. Their Sauvignon Blanc combines tropical passion fruit and lychee notes with cooler qualities of elderflower, citrus and gooseberry from the Awatere fruit. Great mid-palate texture and fresh, yet restrained, acidity on the finish.
2011 Neudorf Sauvignon Blanc Nelson ($16.99)
Neudorf Sauvignons are dry, with concentration and length reflecting low cropping rates, and a degree of mid palate texture and creaminess from a portion of (neutral) barrel ferment. This is intense and highly aromatic, with zesty blackcurrants, pineapple guava and lime aroma and flavors, and a touch of flinty minerality. A textured entry leads to a palate that is smooth and round in the mouth, with a full creamy finish.
Ok, now that you're officially "Kiwi Savvy," it's time to raise a glass and join todays global tasting on Sauvignon Blanc Day!
June 21, 2012: Sauvignon Blanc Day Global Tasting
Taste with K&L and Sauvignon Blanc fans worldwide on Twitter! Pop open a bottle of your favorite Sauv Blanc, or buy a bottle of something new to try. Pour some wine and join the conversation on Twitter by tagging posts about your wine selections with #SauvBlanc.
Terra Ignota is Latin for "Unknown Land". It was the name for the South Pacific region during intial mapping and exploration of Australia and New Zealand. As we are going to be exploring new and exciting wines from this region, we think this is a fitting title for our blog series on wines from this part of the world. Stay tuned for more!
Shop the Blanc: Check out our complete selection of over 200 Sauvignon Blancs in stock now on KLWines.com!