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Montana Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2009

This is one tangy wine. Pour it into your mouth and you’ll get a zinging,
Posted 16th August 2010        

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This is one tangy wine.

Pour it into your mouth and you’ll get a zinging, citrus powered kick that seizes your unsuspecting taste-buds and gets them leaping about with joyful abandon.

It’s a hefty dose, full of grapefruit and gooseberry (the label insists there’s capsicum in there as well). The flavour touches the front of your tongue and quickly spreads warmly through the mouth, coating the roof in particular with a bright, vibrant tingling.

The aftertaste lingers, becoming more bitter and a shade metallic. Not unpleasant, but making another sip – to get the fruit brightness back again – a very attractive proposition.

Addictive stuff, which perhaps has something to do with its popularity. Montana was the first winemaker to plant Sauvignon Blanc in New Zealand’s Marlborough region, in 1973. Located at the tip of the South Island, Marlborough’s cold nights and long sun-drenched days proved perfect for the cultivation of this currently much reached-for variety.

So much so that New Zealand has become synonymous in the minds of many for vibrant, ballsy bottles of their favourite white grape, and Montana is a mid-priced offering which encapsulates that flavour perfectly.

It’s a fun taste, but a lingering bitterness and throat-grabbing lack of subtlety mean the wine is best served with food, or at least a salty snack to counter the acidity.

It went perfectly with a vegetable paella, cutting sharply through the smoky paprika and saffron flavour, then providing a seductive counterpoint as both tastes amalgamate in the mouth. The wine won out, refreshing the palette in anticipation of another forkful.

But paired with a pungent Thai soup its restless extroversion proved less welcome. Endlessly trying to capture your attention, it lacks the required sophistication and dryness to cut through the lemongrass and spices, instead becoming tangled and confused.

If you’re in the mood for a feisty, fun, fruit-packed white that doesn’t pull any punches but still clocks in at an easy drinking 12.5% abv then this Sauvignon Blanc could be for you. But if the tang ain’t your thang, maybe try elsewhere.

Available at £8.99 from


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Meet the Author:
Adam Bamburg
Adam spent much of his youth in Hampshire, somewhere between Winchester and Southampton. After extracting a degree involving psychology and philosophy from a Nottingham-based university, he bid the midlands farewell and ventured back south to live in Brighton. There he found his vocation in writing: first evaluating the musical performances and recorded output of assorted beat-combos, then branching out into the terrifying world of art criticism. Despite his best efforts he now works in ‘the media’ in London. As Adam grew older and wiser he realised that wine was his favourite alcoholic beverage, that some wines are better than others, and that furthering his knowledge of the grape and producer often increased his enjoyment of the drink at the same time. He hopes to share the fermented fruits of his voyage of discovery here.