Maui, Marlborough, Sauvignon Blanc


Sauvignon Blanc is a white-wine grape from western France, now successfully grown in emerging and established wine regions all over the world. While the grape may be more readily associated with the Loire Valley (for its pivotal role in Sancerre and Pouilly-Fume), it is more likely to have originated from Bordeaux, where it is typically blended with Semillon.

In the late 20th Century, a new region began to gain a reputation as one of the great Sauvignon Blanc regions of the world: Marlborough, at the northern tip of New Zealand’s South Island. The rapid development of the Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc is one of the most dramatic events in the world of wine. The intense and readily accessible flavor of a classic Marlborough “Savvy” (as it is colloquially known in that part of the world) has captured a vast market around the globe, from the United States and Canada to the U.K. and northern Europe, Australia and Japan. In 2011, Marlborough produced roughly 65 percent of New Zealand’s total wine output, 75 percent of which was Sauvignon Blanc.

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Showing more depth of colour than most from 2011, this wine is round and rich in style, with an appealingly chewy texture. Grassy, herbal tones abound; the acidity is crisp. The food match? Follow Maui’s example and pull up a fish. Outside France and New Zealand, the variety has been relatively successful in New World regions such as California, Chile (particularly the Casablanca and San Antonio valleys) and South Africa. Even in Australia the variety can thrive in the cooler coastal areas of the south. In Europe, the cool, sunny sub-alpine slopes of Alto Adigeand Friuli in northern Italy have proved suitable for producing Sauvignon Blanc of high quality.

The key selling point of Sauvignon Blanc is its straightforwardness – the flavors are rarely hidden away in the background. Also, there is a particularly close correlation between the perceived flavors and their descriptors, making Sauvignon Blanc an ideal wine with which to begin wine-tasting lessons.


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