Why is New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc so Good?
Known for being the wine that launched New Zealand into the wine scene, Sauvignon Blanc is more than just a cash cow grape for Monday night drinking. Characterised by its bright and punchy quality, Sauvignon Blanc is a mouth-watering choice for the experienced connoisseur and novice alike.
First planted in Marlborough in 1974, New Zealand’s Sauvignon Blancs are budding compared to their predecessors in France, Italy, and the US; however, don’t let its age fool you. New Zealand’s climate and gravely soil make it a perfect home for the Sauvignon Blanc grape varietal; so much so that over 85% of wine exported from here is Sauvignon Blanc.
With Marlborough, Hawke’s Bay, and Nelson being primary producers of Sauvignon Blanc, even the regions themselves provide variations in the wine. The North Island, with its gentle, temperate days lead to grapes that are plump and rich, with flavours of stone fruits and melon. Down south, the vines are subject to a little rainfall, along with longer and cooler growing seasons. This leads to stronger vines and pungent fruit, which can result in crisper wines with tropical fruit-like characteristics - tasted in the vintage.
While the team over at Nautilus, in Marlborough, started the year nervously with a rough start to the 2021 vintage - a frost followed by a cold snap - the rest of the season had relatively warmer temperatures leading to a bright and punchy vintage. Harvested in the cool Marlborough mornings, and immediately fermented in stainless steel, the 2021 Nautilus Sauvignon Blanc flaunts intense aromas of guava and ripe grapefruit, and flavours of citrus. The wine maintains a smoky quality throughout, and a textural, mouth-watering intensity.
The grapes of Greywake thrived in the cold of Marlborough’s Omaka Valley. After being machine harvested in cold night conditions, the grapes were lightly pressed, and the juice cold settled and racked before the ferment began in stainless steel barrels. This process resulted in a 2021 Sauvignon Blanc vintage that was a delightful fusion of Golden Queen peaches, poached yellow pears, and aromas of apple blossoms and lemon sherbet.
The tart and piquant nature of Sauvignon Blanc makes it a delightful pairing for fish and shellfish. The flavours enhance the acidity of citrus whilst cutting through fat and butter artfully. Its sharp also lend itself to be paired with crisp summer salads, which can play off the vegetal and zingy nature of the vegetables and vinegary dressings.
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