Of all the wines grown in New Zealand the varietal that has gained our winemakers their greatest acclaim on the world stage is, without a doubt, Sauvignon Blanc. The British wine critic Oz Clarke described it as “arguably the best in the world”, and it is widely regarded as the benchmark for Sauvignon Blanc globally.

The Perfect Wine for Summer

Sauvignon Blanc is a crisp, light white wine with high acidity, boasting scents of gooseberry, boxwood, lime, melon, grapefruit, passion fruit, capsicum and fresh mown grass. A perfect wine for summer afternoons and balmy evenings, it matches well with fish and seafood, light meats and salads. Oily and garlic-based dishes, too, benefit from its acidity.

History

In New Zealand, Sauvignon Blanc was first grown on an Auckland vineyard at the beginning of the 1970s, but it did not begin to see significant popularity until the end of that decade. By the 1990s it was established as New Zealand’s premiere wine, both at home and abroad. Grown by larger producers and boutique wineries alike, it now makes up just under half of all wine produced in New Zealand and is our major export wine.

Winegrowing Regions

Marlborough, New Zealand’s preeminent wine growing area, accounts for over half of all land under vine in the country and is perhaps the country’s most famous producer of Sauvignon Blanc. Blessed with cool nights, abundant sunlight, a long growing season, and well drained soils leavened with river gravel, it provides the ideal conditions for the Sauvignon Blanc vine.

In addition to these advantages, the soil of the area is rich in nitrogen, an element necessary for the formation of the chemical precursors which contribute the pronounced aromas so characteristic of Sauvignon Blanc. Other centres of Sauvignon Blanc production are Hawkes Bay and Gisborne in the north island and Nelson and Canterbury in the south island.

The geographical division between north and south reflects itself in the character of the wine, with northern Sauvignon Blanc tending towards the richer, melon and stone-fruit end of the spectrum, while southern varieties are generally crisper and lighter with a greater intensity of fruit flavours and acidity.

Whichever type you choose, though, you are unlikely to be disappointed. The quality of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is such that it continues to find a growing market at home and has become our most successful wine export by far, gathering ever larger international audiences eager to appreciate the exciting new flavours our unique country offers.

Sauvignon Blanc – New Zealand’s Premier White Wine, 3.0 out of 5 based on 2 ratings

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