When it comes to Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough is the undisputed king. As a region Marlborough put Sauv and New Zealand wine on the map by delivering a consistently crisp, light and vibrant wine. The most commonly used descriptors; grass, gooseberry and lime.
Marlborough is made up, to the south and west, by the mountainous areas of the Kaikoura Ranges and the Southern Alps, and by the Marlborough Sounds to the north. Running through this is the Wairau River, which widens out into the flat plains that make up the focus of the region’s wine production. Consistently warm days and cool nights creates the ideal conditions for long, slow ripening of the grapes, giving the wines their distinctive flavour.
Stony, fast-draining soil is the preferred choice for vineyards seeking that classic Marlborough Sauv style.
I’ve come to know the classic, world-famous Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. Last week I popped along to Regional Wine and Spirit in Wellington where they helped me pick three distinctive sub-appellation Marlb Sauvs for a taste of something different.
The Awatere Valley is slightly cooler, drier and windier, than the dominant sub-region of the Wairau.
Astrolabe Sauvignon Blanc 2011 – Passionfruit and mango, this fruit-forward wine is silky and clean. A well-rounded, dry style finished with notes of gooseberry jam.
Older soils, the Southern Valleys are characterised more by clay and silt than stony soils.
Auntsfield Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2011 – a sharp, crisp wine dominated by tart lemon lime flavours with a seriously long finish. The citrus is balanced by the mineral qualities of water running over rocks.
Wairau Valley, Raipaura
Protected from Northern coastal weather by the Richmond Ranges, this is where you’re likely to find the stony soils.
Craggy Range Avery Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2011 – a ripe, complex herbaceous wine, characterised by savoury mineral notes. Finished with understated grapefruit and green apple.
This post was written for Thursday 21 June, the shortest day of the year in the Southern Hemisphere, and #SauvBlanc day on Twitter. Find out more by following the #nzwine hashtag or at www.nzwine.com.
The attached map is the Marlborough Wine Trail available for downloaded from www.wine-marlborough.co.nz.