Sauvignon Blanc (Feb 2019)

For countless wine lovers around the world, New Zealand ‘is’ Sauvignon Blanc, mostly from Marlborough. In 2019, Sauvignon Blanc comprises 59.9 per cent of the bearing national vineyard. In 2018, Sauvignon Blanc accounted for a whopping 73.3 per cent of the country’s total grape crop.

After its warmest-ever growing season, the Marlborough region’s 2018 Sauvignon Blancs were predicted to be less herbaceous than usual, with a stronger expression of ripe tropical-fruit aromas and flavours – and so it proved. With their strongly herbaceous aromas and flavours, the 2017 Sauvignon Blancs exhibit pungent varietal characteristics, while those from 2018, although more restrained, have plenty of easy-drinking appeal.

But there’s a lot more to New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc than fresh, vibrant, new season’s wines from Marlborough. The tasting also attracted a stimulating array from Hawke’s Bay, Nelson, North Canterbury and Central Otago, from vintages back to 2015. Their winemaking styles also ranged widely, from those cool-fermented entirely in stainless steel tanks, to others with a subtle oak influence – designed to add richness and complexity – and those that were fully barrel-fermented.