The explosion of vineyards around the world has turned the wine making industry upside down. Areas such as Napa Valley, California and Willamette Valley, Oregon are as well-known for the wines they produce as places such as Bordeaux, France and Tuscany, Italy. Marlborough, New Zealand is another small wine producing region on the country’s southern island that in the last thirty years has become one of the most prominent producers of Sauvignon Blanc wines in the world.
Wine Growing in New Zealand
New Zealand’s wine history dates back to the early 18th Century where settlers and missionaries produced wines on what is today New Zealand’s north island. Today, there are five distinct regions for producing wines in New Zealand: Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay on the northern Island and Marlborough, Canterbury, and Central Otago on its southern island. The country is known for several wines, grown mainly from Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet, Merlot and Riesling grapes. Their wines are influenced by the surrounding oceans, yet the climates vary from the northern and southern islands enough to impart their wines with distinctive characteristics.
Sauvignon Blanc is New Zealand’s Flagship Wine
Sauvignon Blanc is the most popular wine produced by New Zealand. The vines for this grape were first planted in the Marlborough region in 1973. It is also the most widely planted grape in New Zealand – accounting for nearly 3/4 quarters of New Zealand wine produced and nearly 90-percent of its exported wine. It is truly the county’s flagship wine.
Marlborough is the epicenter for New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. This coastal region is located on the northeast of the southern island and it produces more Sauvignon Blanc wines than all other New Zealand wine growing regions combined. The Marlborough Sauvignon Blancs come from distinctive wineries such as Brancott Estate, Jules Taylor, Kim Crawford, Whitehaven, and Astrolabe and they are known for being full flavored, medium bodied wines with bright citrus flavors, such as passion fruit, and dried herb and grassy aromatics. They tend to be acidic with a crisp finish, partly due to the region’s longer and cooler growing season.
New Zealand’s other four wine regions do grow and produce Sauvignon Blanc wines and they are as distinctive and notable in their character as are those from Marlborough. Vineyards from the northern island regions of Hawke’s Bay and Grisborne such as Crossings, Nobilo, and Loveblock produce riper, creamier and richer Sauvignon Blancs that tend to have more fruity flavors such as peach and tangerine due to their milder growing seasons.
Sauvignon Blanc is a Wine Made for Summer
Summer is a great time to drink white wines and Sauvignon Blanc is an ideal summer wine. Whether at a picnic, watching a sunset, or dinner in the backyard, a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc with its tropical fruit flavors, herbal notes and crisp finish make a perfect wine to drink during the warm summer months. These wines are great by themselves but they also pair very well with chicken, seafood and with salads drizzled with a vinaigrette.
Price is one other benefit when deciding to pick one of these delicious wines. Many New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs are well priced between $8-$23 a bottle, with around a 2 year drinking window for optimal enjoyment.
Styles Similar to Sauvignon Blanc
After delving into Sauvignon Blanc for a bit, and while there is still warmth of summer in the air, there a certainly a few other New Zealand varietals to try. Riesling is another wonderful summer wine and New Zealand vineyards have excellent vintages. New Zealand also produces wonderful Pinot Gris and if you’re seeking a good red, the New Zealand Pinot Noir and Merlot are well regarded.
Molly’s Wine Staff is Here to Help
Whether you are just beginning to realize the wonders of the grape or are a collector of many years, Molly’s Spirits wine staff has the experience and knowledge to help with any question and/or need you may have regarding your next wine purchase. They love their wine and they love helping our customers find the right wine.
- Brancott Estate Flight Song Sauvignon Blanc
- Astrolabe Sauvignon Blanc
- Jules Taylor OTQ
- Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc
- Whitehaven Sauvignon Blanc
- Crossroads Sauvignon Blanc
- Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc
- Loveblock Sauvignon Blanc