Sauvignon Blanc was first planted in France in the 1800s and was originally used as a blending grape in white Bordeaux varieties. The first Sauvignon Blanc vines were planted in Marlborough in 1975, and within a few short decades this variety has achieved superstar status. Sauvignon Blanc now makes up over 70% of NZ’s wine production and over 85% of NZ wine exports. Top NZ Sauvignon Blanc producers include Cloudy Bay, Jules Taylor, Astrolabe and Allan Scott.
Taste and common flavours
Sauvignon Blanc has a very distinctive flavour profile and it tends to be an explosion on the palate with most renditions showing intense, exotic, pungent flavours ranging from capsicum and tomato stalk to passionfruit and citrus. The distinctive taste of Sauvignon Blanc is the result of aromatic compounds with base citrus fruit flavours including lime, apple, white peach and passion fruits. The ripeness of the grapes determines where the flavour will fall on a spectrum between sharp lime and flowery peach. Sauvignon Blanc is also notable for its complementary herbal flavours including pepper, jalapeno, grassy herbs, and gooseberry. Oak-aging the wine results in additional complex hints of such rich flavours as vanilla, butter, nutmeg, and dill and adds a creamy texture.
Sauvignon Blanc Growing Regions
Cool winds and extended sunlight hours over the summer ripening period make Marlborough the perfect spot to grow Sauvignon Blanc. While Marlborough far and away produce the majority of NZ Sauvignon Blanc, pockets are also found in Hawke’s Bay, Nelson and other popular growing regions. Sauvignon Blanc
Sauvignon Blanc pairs beautifully with a wide variety of food combinations and is also an exceptional palate cleanser.
Here are some examples of food pairings:
- Seafood, including fresh fish, shellfish, crayfish and good old fish n chips.
- Robust cheeses such as goat cheese, feta or gruyere
- Fresh salads with tangy ingredients and vinegar-based dressings
- Savoury fruits or vegetables, such as asparagus, avocado or grilled peppers
- Spicy foods, such as Mexican or Thai dishes
How to Store Sauvignon Blanc
Most varieties of Sauvignon Blanc are unoaked and designed to drink young rather than store. However, unopened wine can be stored in a cellar or other cool, dark area with steady temperature, ideally away from sunlight and direct heat, for up to two years. If the bottle is oaked it will last up to three years. Once the bottle is open, you should consume it within a week. The best place for opened wine is in the refrigerator. Wine that appears to have turned should be discarded.