The internationally acclaimed New
Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is the unequivocal benchmark
mode for the varietal wine. Its high-spirited, acrid
flavors have bedazzled critics of wine everywhere.
First grown in the 1973 in Auckland, Sauvignon Blanc
was meant to supply vineyards with cuttings for the
Marlborough region’s development. The wine was not
produced in commercial amounts until the 1980s.
Taking part in and winning local wine contests
encouraged the confidence of winemakers and demand
by consumers. During the start of the 1990s
Sauvignon Blanc was securely established as the
flagship wine of New Zealand with continuous
increasing demand both nationally and globally.
Fifty percent of New Zealand’s wine production is
represented by Sauvignon Blanc. There are currently two
major regional styles of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc:
Southern which encompasses the regions of the South Island
and Wellington and Northern which include Hawkes Bay and
further north). Sauvignon Blanc from the North tend to be
richer and riper with nectarine, melon, and other flavors
from stone fruit.
The Sauvignon Blanc styles from the South are usually
crisper and lighter with passion fruit and other acrid fruit
flavors as well as capsicum or red pepper, herbal
characters, and gooseberry. A major factor in the style
differences between North and South is climate.
The cooler and longer growing situation in the
Southern areas promotes more vibrant and stronger
fruit flavors alongside higher levels of acidity.
More than two thirds of the vines of Sauvignon Blanc
are located in Marlborough. The smaller regions of
the South Island such as Canterbury and Nelson also
place a lot of focus on this species of grape.
The nation's 2nd and 3rd largest fields of plantings
are located in the bigger North Island areas of
Hawkes Bay and Gisborne in that order.
The most famous area for Sauvignon Blanc in New
Zealand is Marlborough which enjoys relatively
modest rainfall throughout ripening which aids in
protecting the tight-clustered and thin-skinned
bunches of grapes from contracting fungal diseases
such as botrytis.
The area’s alluvial rocky soils and free-draining capacity
aid growers of the grape to manipulate the development of
this robust vine for maximum quality.
New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc may be categorized into 3 broad
styles of winemaking: oak matured, tank-fermented, and
blended. Without comparison, the biggest share is
cold-fermented in tanks of stainless-steel to optimize the
species’ freshness and sharp fruit flavors.
Fermentation via oak and succeeding growth on the yeast
remains is more appropriate to riper styles normally found
in the regions of the North or in specific sites in the
regions of the South. These styles add convolution,
longevity, and richness to the wine. Combining with Semillon
is one more technique employed by some winemakers to
heighten complexity, body, and prolonging of flavor.
Within the vineyard, shoot thinning, leaf-plucking, and
trimming are basic techniques to assure the natural energy
of the vine of the Sauvignon Blanc and encourage flavor,
fruit intensity, and ripeness.
With Sauvignon Blanc, the golden rule is "fresh is best".
Sauvignon Blanc’s vibrant flavor heightens the freshness of
white fish and seafood particularly when dished out with
garlic or citrus based sauces.