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Sauvignon Blanc Down South

We’re going far South, as far South as vineyards grow in fact, to the Beautiful coastlines of New Zealand. New Zealand is a New World wine producer, and in fact was only legally allowed to sell wine in bottles sometime the 1960’s. These two beautiful islands were formed via volcano making their soils high in minerals. Most of their production here, as opposed to Italy, is white, a full 75% in fact. They produce many wines (Chardonnay is their most planted grape varietal) but it is their Sauvignon Blanc that put them on the wine maps.

If you have ever tasted a Sauvignon Blanc you still might not recognize one coming out of New Zealand. It can only be described as having an aggressive herbal vibrancy that’s like freshly cut grass. The high minerals in the soil, the chilly climate, abundance of rain and the proximity of all the vineyards to the ocean (about 80 miles at the furthest growth) make their grapes prone to mold and can lead to under-ripe tasting wines. But it also leads to one of the crispest Sauvignon Blancs around.

Technology is the New Zealanders’ best friend. When I say that this wine growing region is New World, they take it to extreme. There are no oak barrels or deep wine caves here. The grapes are mostly picked by machines and are grown on special trellises to avoid some of the mold issues in their dense canopies. Large steel tanks give an almost sterile look to the wineries here but it is what drives the bite in their green fruit.

It is hard to avoid using the term green with this Sauvignon Blanc. Just a quick look at New Zealand and all you can see is green amongst the steep slopes. But there is also some beautiful fruit like kiwi and passion fruit that lend to the wild nature of this white.

The best part of course is that you can buy fantastic Sauvignon Blancs from New Zealand starting at about $8. I personally look for wines coming out of Marlborough on the cooler South Island although 40% of the vineyards are located on the Northern Island from Hawke’s Bay, Gisborne and Auckland.

Have a favorite Sauvignon Blanc? Post it here for us please because as summer gets going in full steam we’re going to need some good refreshment!

Happy tastings and we’ll see you at!

Stacy & Darcy

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