If you are a wine newbie, you might not know that New Zealand is known as the Sauvignon Blanc capital of the world – even though it only produces around 1% of the world’s wine.
New Zealand hasn’t always been a world leader in the production of Sauvignon Blanc. This has only been a recent development since the 1970’s, a time when the Kiwis were really only exploring the possibilities of producing wine.
They clearly did something very right, because New Zealand’s wine production has exploded in the last 20 years and it is now one of their more lucrative exports. In fact, New Zealand ranks second behind France for the most acres planted with this wonderful grape.
Their international acclaim began in 1986 when at the Sunday Times Wine Festival in London, the New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc won its first of many awards, which have continued to the present day.
In the early days, the New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc was known for its unoaked, rich flavour, high in acidity and it was this distinct taste that led to its huge popularity. Over the years, whilst this pungent style of Sauvignon is still popular, a softer, lighter and less herbaceous Sauvignon Blanc has risen to the fore, achieved through maturation in oak barrels, giving it a fruitier, riper flavour.
New Zealand’s Sauvignon Blanc
New Zealand’s is one of the most beautiful places in the world, recognised for its natural beauty, flat fertile, alluvial coastal plains, gravelly soils, and awesome mountain ranges. Due to its cooler climate, New Zealand’s Sauvignon Blanc has a fruity flavour with a zingy, floral aroma with the majority of these grapes grown in Marlborough on the north-eastern corner of the South Island.
There is a distinct difference in flavours between the Sauvignon Blanc wines from the North and South Islands, due to the differences in their climates and growing seasons.
Sauvignon Blanc – North Island
The areas in the North Island well known for producing Sauvignon Blanc wines are Hawkes Bay and Gisborne. The North Island Sauvignon Blanc wines are distinctly different to those of the South Island, with a softer, lighter, fruity tropical taste reminiscent of nectarines and other stone fruits.
This difference in flavour is due to receiving more hours of sunshine per day and a greater variety of soils than in the South Island.
Sauvignon Blanc – South Island
Marlborough is the major producer of Sauvignon Blanc in New Zealand and has set the bench mark for this wine, which portrays a bolder, crisper and more vibrant fruitiness than the North island grapes, with more acidity and a hint of red peppers, gooseberry and passionfruit for extra freshness.
Vineyards on the South Island are blessed with cool ocean breezes and long growing seasons with the grapes not harvested until mid-April. This gives them plenty of time to slowly ripen, developing a perfect balance of acids and sugars, so distinctive in New Zealand’s Sauvignon Blanc wines.
Sauvignon Blanc, available from Advintage is well suited to fresh seafood, cheeses and fresh crisp salads. So, if you want to experience a taste of New Zealand, check out the extensive and very affordable range of Sauvignon Blanc.