Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand is usually at its best within two years of the harvest, while it is irresistibly fresh, aromatic and tangy. Many Sauvignon Blancs from the bumper 2022 vintage are currently on the shelves, bursting with youthful vigour and zest.
Oz Clarke, a leading British wine writer, first encountered Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc when he tasted the 1983 vintage from Montana in London. “My world of wine would never be the same again. There had never before been a wine that crackled and spit its flavours at you from the glass. A wine that took the whole concept of green – and expanded it, stretched it and gloriously re-interpreted it in a riot of gooseberry and lime zest, green apples, green pepper sliced through with an ice cold knife of steel, piles of green grass…”
While Sauvignon Blanc, first planted in Marlborough in 1985 – two years after Montana’s initial plantings of Muller-Thurgau and Cabernet Sauvignon – is indivisibly linked to the region, many lovers of New Zealand wine don’t realize how much Sauvignon Blanc is grown in other regions. In Gisborne, Sauvignon Blanc is the third most widely planted grape variety, after Chardonnay and Pinot Gris. Sauvignon Blanc also ranks third in Hawke’s Bay, behind Chardonnay and Merlot.
Further south, in the Canterbury region, Sauvignon Blanc accounts for 27 per cent of plantings, just behind Pinot Noir (30 per cent). In Nelson, north-west of Marlborough, just over the hills, Sauvignon Blanc is by far the predominant variety, with nearly four times the plantings of second-placed Pinot Noir.
Loveblock Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2021 4.5 stars $22
Pask Gimblett Gravels Hawke’s Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2022 4 stars $22
Nautilus The Paper Nautilus Heritage Block Renwick Estate Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2021 5 stars $35
Rock Ferry The Corners Vineyard Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2021 5 stars $29