New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is a renowned wine in the world, and one of the most profitable too. It is relatively easy to produce, yet the high quality and pleasing tastes mean it can command a premium. New Zealand’s Savignon Blanc is one of the best of its kind in the world. This commercial breakthrough began in the 1980s and continues to the present day. Sauvignon Blanc along with other white wines such as Chardonnay, dominates the wine production in New Zealand. The success of Sauvignon Blanc in the market place means this trend is highly likely to continue into the future.
History of Sauvignon Blanc in New Zealand
Sauvignon Blanc was first grown in New Zealand back in 1970. However, these were early days for the wine and the first commercial production did not begin until 1980. This wine proved popular from the beginning winning many wine competitions, albeit local ones. Relatively quickly it established itself as New Zealand’s most popular and internationally renowned wine. These days Sauvignon Blanc accounts for around half of the total wine production in the country.
Sauvignon Blanc Flavours
New Zealand’s Sauvignon Blanc is famous for its interesting combination of flavours. The unexpected combination of passionfruit, gooseberries, asparagus and lime has dazzled the world. This combination is new and interesting and its difference has led to its international acclaim. Different producers in other parts of the world have attempted to copy the unique style yet the combination of New Zealand soil, climate and practices has meant its unique flavours cannot be found elsewhere.
Climate and Soil
The climate in New Zealand is made up of cool Summers and mild Winters. Even in the Summer months, the night time temperature is fairly cool. This means the wine has an acidic quality which is often missed in other climates. The soils of New Zealand contribute to its rich taste. In Marlborough, the region producing a highly desired Sauvignon Blanc wine, the soils are sandy with excellent drainage leading to a high quality wine. Some soils are heavier producing wines where herb flavours are more dominant, stonier soils tend to produce more tropical flavours. These wines tend to be fermented in stainless steel, this highly effective technique maintains the crisp freshness of the wine. The refinement of techniques and maturity of vines mean that the quality of this already fantastic wine is improving year by year.
One of the main areas for wine plantations in New Zealand is Hawkes Bay in the North. This is the oldest wine producing region and produces some excellent quality Sauvignon Blanc. Wines produced in this region tend to be slightly richer with more melon flavours. Sauvignon Blanc is also grown in Southern areas of New Zealand, primarily near Wellington and the South Island. It is generally lighter and has a more crisp taste with slightly differing flavours of passionfruit and red pepper. The difference in flavour and taste is mainly due to the differences in climate between the North and South regions. In the South the weather is generally cooler which promotes longer growing of the grape resulting in slightly more rich and vibrant flavours. Possibly the most well known and well regarded Sauvignon Blanc comes from the Marlborough region, South of New Zealand. This wine appears to be the benchmark upon which all other Sauvignon Blancs are judged, it contains gooseberry flavours with tropical overtones.
New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and Food
Sauvignon Blanc works particularly well with salads and seafoods as it compliments their fresh tastes very well. White fish in particular and Sauvignon Blanc make an excellent combination. As the wine has a relatively high acidity, foods such as tomatoes complement the wine beautifully. New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc also compliments light dishes such as pasta, as well as meats such as veal.
In summary, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc has taken the world by storm with its unique and surprisingly delightful blend of flavours. The soil, techniques and climate of New Zealand all contribute to this distinct flavour which other countries have found incredibly difficult to replicate. The wine is produced in the North and South of the country with the Marlborough region being most well known. The success of New Zealand’s Sauvignon Blanc has been enormous being widely recognised as the best varietal of its kind. With the wines produced getting better year after year, this success looks set to continue into the future.