Vineyard in NZ (1)

by Liz Thach, MW

New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc wine is famous around the world for its tropical flavors of kiwi, mango and refreshing grapefruit finish. However, when visiting New Zealand several years ago, I was pleased to be able to taste many of the other white wine varieties they produce, such as exquisitely dry Rieslings, creamy Pinot Gris, and crisp acid Chardonnays. Their red wines, such as Pinot Noir, Syrah, and even a little Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, are also delicious with pure fruit flavors and a touch of earthy minerality with a crisp acid backbone.

Since that visit I have mainly sought out these other NZ varieties, because they are so distinctive. However at a recent Winegrowers of New Zealand tasting in San Francisco, I fell madly in love with New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc again. All were from Marlborough, and many exhibited amazing aromatics with a fragrant floral nose that reminded me of a Sancerre in France, but on the palate they were pure New Zealand – bursting with tropic notes and refreshing citrus flavors that danced across my tongue. Yes, a few had the telltale cat pee, or gooseberry notes, as New Zealanders like to call it, but in general, they were exquisite. Four of my favorites were:

Huia 2017 Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough – fresh and cheerful with a nose of white flowers, and pure passion fruit on the palate with a lemon lime finish – 91, $18

2017 Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough – seductive with sweet pea nose, and bursting with pear, kiwi, and grapefruit on the palate – 90, $21

2017 Saint Clair Origin Series Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough – made with native yeasts, this wine was extremely elegant with an aroma of wild flowers, followed by creamy pear and crisp lime on the palate – 92, $18

2017 Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough – a classic with its floral nose, creamy lemon mousse and mango on the palate, and an extremely long elegant grapefruit finish – 93, $28

So the next time I go wine shopping, I will definitely be stocking up on New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs. They make a great aperitif after a long day at work, but also pair well with many dishes, such as salads, goat cheese, fish and chicken.


For more reviews of wines from New Zealand, follow this link:

Photo Caption: Vineyard in New Zealand, Photo Credit: L. Thach

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