“Beer is made by men, wine by God.” – Martin Luther
In these troubling times, isn’t it nice that someone, several thousand years ago accidentally stumbled on the method for fermenting grapes to make wine?
Gosh, I wish the invention was mine but hats off to the early imbiber for all the pleasure they have given us for years. Anyway, even COVID-19 can’t stop the sun coming out and you know what that means?
Well done if you said ‘Sauvignon Blanc’ and a big cheer if you were more specific and added New Zealand as the origin and for those of you who also added ‘Marlborough’ can I just say, pour yourselves a glass you clever folk.
Sauvignon blanc is the famed grape of Sancerre in France but the Kiwi’s took this very rough diamond and produced a true gem. Gone are the flat austere wines with pungent smoky aromas and in their place, New Zealand gave us Cat’s Pee on a Gooseberry Bush! Yes, you read that right and while the description is bordering on outrageous, it kinda fits the bill when you swirl and sniff a classic Marlborough.
The palate tends to be like an alcoholic tropical fruit cocktail and there’s enough refreshing acidity on the finish to put a shine on your tuppeny bits. The best-known winery is Cloudy Bay whose wines for many years were on allocation only but there are plenty of contenders to the throne now including the fabulous Whitehaven Winery, Brancott Estate and Villa Maria to name but a few.
With its tropical fruit aromas and crisp refreshing acidity, the Kiwi Sauvignons make fabulous aperitifs but I think they are at their finest with fish dishes, particularly shellfish. Pair one up with a crab salad and it’s as close to a heavenly experience as you can imagine. One word of caution though is that they are best drunk young.
I hate to see 5 or 6-year-old bottles of Cloudy Bay being listed at auctions with silly reserves because they just won’t have the concentration of flavours to give you the classic experience.
Personally I don’t drink them when they are older than 4 years from vintage so watch out for pups! Toodle pip.
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