The Sommelier India Tasting Panel recently blind-tasted a range of Sauvignon Blancs from New Zealand available in India. We missed a few because the wines were not registered in Delhi, but got to sample a fair cross-section.
Sauvignon Blanc wines are popularÂ withÂ consumers but sometimes receive a poor rap from the trade, dismissed as a wine thatÂ is limited in style, incapable of producing great, dry white wine, and unsuitable for oak-ageingÂ â€“ the traditional finishing touch for fine whites. Indeed,Â Sauvignon Blanc can often be thin, herbaceous and acidic, and mixed with a touch of residual sugar sometimes.
That said, Sauvignon Blanc whites sell well in retail and are popularÂ by-the-glass in restaurants. The best examples, at all price points, live up to their reputation and justify theirÂ popularity.Â What’s appealing about Sauvignon Blanc is its refreshing, and instantly recognizable pungency, even at low prices, which makes it distinctive and popular across the board. Depending on where it is grown and when the grapes are picked,It can offer a broad variety of characteristics.
New Zealand’sÂ vineyards benefit from the moderating effect of its maritime climate (no vineyard is more than 120 kilometresÂ or 80 miles, from the ocean), long sunshine hours and nights cooled by sea breezes.The wines we tasted were from Marlborough, located in the northeast of New Zealand’s South Island. With over 20,000 hectares of vines planted (aroundÂ 2/3 of the national total), Marlborough is the country’s largest wine region. And Sauvignon Blanc, commercially produced for the first time in 1979, is New Zealandâ€™s most widely planted variety. When the vines were first planted, no one could have imagined how successful they would be. Unique, exuberant, intense Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc took the world by storm in the 1980s, and set the international benchmark for the style.
New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is strongly associated with red capsicum and gooseberry characters, lush tropical fruit overtones, fresh-cut grass, tomato stalks, and grapefruit or lime. The ‘zing’ of Sauvignon Blanc pairs well with certain Indian dishes, fresh pan seared snapper or sautÃ©ed seafood with a tarragon dressing and fresh rocket salad.
New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc wines listed in order of preference with the name of the importer/distributor and the MRP cost of the wines
- 2016 Babich Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough13% alc. Hema ConnoisseursÂ Rs 3200
- 2016 Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 13.5% alc.Â Aspri Spirits Rs 4,560
- Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough Cellar Selection 13% alc. Brinco Limited Rs 3,630
- 2015 Saint Claire Family Estate Single VineyardÂ Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 13% alc. Wine Park Rs 3290
- 2016 Saint Claire Family Estate Marlborough Premium Sauvignon Blanc 13% alc. Wine Park Rs 3690
- 2015 D by Astrolabe Duravillea Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough13% alc. Ace Beveragz Rs
- 2016 Sileni Estates Cellar Selection Marlborough 12% alc. Prestige Rs 2560
- 2014 Framingham Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 12% alc. Aspri Spirits Rs 4,340
- 2014 Mud HouseÂ Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough alc. Indspirit Rs 2,300