A bottle of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc is a popular choice for Friday night drinks at The Echo, and indeed throughout the country. Darren Pearson, general manager of The Cellar, tells us a little more about this NZ wine that has become so popular in Australia.
Any wine aficionado will tell you that the standout grape variety of the last 10 years on the basis of sales growth in Australia has been NZ Sauvignon Blanc. The main reason seen for this growth is the high level of consistency across the primary grape-growing region of Marlborough.
This consistency has given consumers the confidence to pick up a bottle of Marlborough Sauv Blanc knowing that they will be getting the zesty, pleasantly pungent, grapefruit-like zing that makes these wines extraordinarily popular, and that means they match well with a wide variety of foods, from simple dishes to the most complex nouvelle cuisine.
Many wine aficionados lampoon Sauvignon Blanc for all tasting the same. This is one of the major misconceptions that NZ producers must battle if they wish to continue their success, as there is considerable flavour variation even across the Marlborough region if you care to look for it. Wines blended from grapes from the different sub-regions within Marlborough display different characteristics.
Grapes grown within the Awatere Valley, with its layered river terraces, its free-draining soils, subtle altitude temperature variations and good airflow share characteristics, but of course even within the Valley each vineyard site is not homogeneous. Most display the distinct minerality of Awatere Sauvignon Blanc that has led to inevitable comparisons with the famous wines of Sancerre.
Upper Wairau, which was the first area to be planted and which catapulted Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc onto the world stage, delivers plumper, riper wines. Wairau Valley’s deeper alluvial soils are prized because they deliver riper grapes and hence, richer wines.
With a little experimentation you can uncover some distinct gems.
Eight parcels of Sauvignon Blanc were selected for this wine from vineyards in the Awatere Valley, and four from the Wairau Valley.
Tasting this wine you may notice notes of stone fruit and guava, underpinned with notes of fresh herbs. The palate is brimming with vivacious fruit that is balanced with quite a long, crisp mineral finish.
Cape View Sounds Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc ($14.99)
Comprised mostly of Wairau Valley fruit, this wine has a nose that is lifted and fresh with notes of passionfruit and grapefruit.
The sweet fruit characters on the palate and fresh acidity combine to create an expressive, classy Sauvignon Blanc.
If you are after a single-vineyard purely Awatere Valley Sauvignon Blanc try this one. It is selected from two parcels of fruit from Yealand’s Seaview Vineyard. This aromatic wine shows lifted flavours of blackcurrant with underlying notes of wet stone and thyme. The palate is elegant yet full with sufficient weight and texture, balanced by a flinty minerality.
This wine is a fantastic match with foods such as cheese salad, poultry dishes and a wide range of seafood dishes including freshly shucked natural oysters, prawns, green lip mussels and creamy scallops.
Each of these three wines is available at The Cellar’s four locations: 4 Lawson St Byron, Woolies Plaza Byron, 43 Byron St Bangalow or River St Ballina.
For more details see www.thecellar.com.au.