Wine is a combination of place and grape variety. These days wine grapes are grown all over the world. In Sommelier India Issue 2, 2018 the Sommelier India Tasting Panel recommends Sauvignon Blanc wines from New Zealand.
Originating in France, Sauvignon Blanc is now grown around the world making crisp, dry, aromatic and extremely distinctive wines. It is fermented at relatively low temperatures in stainless steel in order to preserve as much fresh, fruity flavours as possible. The wines are meant to be drunk young.
New Zealand has won world renown for its forceful, fruity style of Sauvignon Blanc wines. They first came to notice in the 1980’s and Marlborough at the north end of New Zealand’s South Island has set a benchmark for this style. The dry gravel soil of Marlborough’s Wairau Valley produces extremely vigorous Sauvignon Blanc plantings. New Zealand has been so successful with its pungently herbaceous style of Sauvignon Blanc with tropical fruit aromas from cool, prolonged fermentation that winemakers throughout the New World are following its lead.
Marlborough is New Zealand’s, possibly the world’s, Sauvignon capital and Cloudy Bay is the most famous producer, although but there are several other excellent wines available for drinking in India such as the ones we recommend below.
The wines tasted are listed in their order of preference, with tasting notes by Gagan Sharma.
2015 D by Astrolabe Duravillea Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough: A textbook Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. Smokey, earthy nose with underripe green fruit tinges, pronounced gooseberry, golden apple sweetness, candied lemon citrus, eucalyptus, leafiness, and steely character. Bright and lively acidity. Importer Ace Beverages. MRP Rs 2,370
2014 Framingham Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough: Mild yellow hue. Dull nose, gracious fruity/floral tones, and steeliness. A tad disappointing on the palate – ample mouthful, but fades quickly. Apples, herbaceous, grassiness, steely, chalky minerality, vibrant limey acidity. Beyond its best days. Importer Aspri Wines & Spirits. MRP Rs 4,340
2016 Babich Marlborough: Pale lemon colour. Bright nose with pronounced notes of eucalyptus, gooseberry, lime zest, pear, lemon candy, and a whiff of oil. Bright and vivacious on the palate with mouthwatering acidity, light body, and lingering aftertaste of guava, fresh cut grass, asparagus, and sweet lime Beautiful balance, a joy to sip. Importer Hema Connoisseur. MRP Rs 3,200
2016 Sileni Estates Cellar Selection: Fresh, near-colourless hue. Shy nose that opened gradually to reveal sweet, stoned fruit aromas. Zingy, lime zest acidity apart from a hint of residual sugar. Leafy, green apples, herbaceous, and pear. Some fattiness on the mid-palate, making it a standout from the rest. Importer Prestige Wines & Spirits. MRP Rs 2,560
2016 Mud House Marlborough: Bright mid-lemon colour. Aromas dominated by sweet tropical and yellow stoned fruits all the way, mainly apricots, peaches, and overripe pineapples, cut by the freshness of sweet lime, and cut grass at the back, all seemed a tad oxidised and cooked. Off-dry (!!), sweet fruity acidity, apricot marmalade meets peach coulis, ending on an unpleasant dirty earthy note. A case of a badly stored bottle.Importer Distribution. MRP Rs 2,300
2016 Saint Clair Premium Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough: Near colourless appearance. Fresh, pronounced, vibrant nose with high minerality, apple skins, capsicum, green fruits, and low-lying gooseberries. On the palate, inviting refreshing acidity, leafiness, gooseberries, asparagus, lime zest, guava, kiwi fruit, and lemon candy play at the back in layers. Very pleasant and smart. Importer Wine Park. MRP Rs 3,790
2016 Villa Maria Cellar Selection: Bright yellow-green appearance. A good amalgamation of ripe and underripe fruity flavours and floral lift. Neat acidity invites yet appears a shade fatty and cloying. Fruity palate with an abundance of guava, pear, sweet lime and stoned fruit flesh. Crunchy, citrus bite and grainy texture make it playful. An elegantly fun wine. Importer Brindco Limited. MRP Rs 3,500
2016 Pioneer Block 2 Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough: Youthful appearance with straw-green hue. Ripe, fruity nose, some green touches, floral perfume lift. Ethereal body with fruity acidity and sweetness. Carefully, complex layers of green fruits, preceding ripe tropical fruits, with citrus, mineralogy, and steeliness, all bound together with refreshing limey acidity. A beautiful, suave and intelligent wine. Importer Wine Park. MRP Rs 3,320
SITP tasters pictured below