International Sauvignon Blanc Day
We have featured International Malbec Day, April 17, in previous articles and you can pretty well take your choice as many of the over one thousand wine grape varieties seem to have their day.
The day before the official start of the America’s Cup here, May 25, is International Chardonnay Day and the 3rd Friday in September is always Grenache Day, and on it goes.
Right now I am thinking of the day that celebrates the most popular grape variety on our Island and it happens to be May 5.
Sixteen days of celebrations leading up to this day in May are taking place in the area that ships the most to us.
I refer to Marlborough in New Zealand where 77 per cent of this country’s total wine production originates and 85.8 per cent of it is Sauvignon Blanc, grown on 53,603 acres of vineyards.
Kato means harvest in the Maori language and the logo on a label of our Kato Marlborough 2015 Sauvignon Blanc is a representation of three intertwined whale tails. It is inspired by the migration route of humpback whales through the Cook Strait that separates North and South Islands. The wine exhibits zesty and aromatic notes of melon, guava, passion fruit and citrus. $19.20.
Here is what the winemaker has to say about our Nobilo 2015 Sauvignon Blanc. “Pale yellow. herbaceous notes of freshly cut grass along with honeydew melon, jasmine, hints of mandarin, and a slight minerality. Palate: Fresh and crisp with zesty flavours of ripe tropical fruits follow through to display a pleasant roundness with great depth. The wine unfolds to show fruit-salad notes and canned peaches and pears. Food Pairing: Enjoyable on its own as an aperitif or with lemon herb chicken, summer salads or lighter seafood dishes”. Canadian critic Natalie Maclean gives it a very respectable 90/100. $19.45.
I like to look at sales in other countries as well and a list of the ten top selling Sauvignon Blancs in the USA reveals that seven are from New Zealand and three from California.
We carry Nobilo, Whitehaven, Oyster Bay and Matua Valley that take 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th place overall and our Starborough is 7th. They are all from Marlborough and it is safe to say that Oyster Bay takes the top spot here as it is consistent and sets a high standard. It sells for $19.95.
One that does not make the top selling list in the USA has a far too small overall production to seek this sort of fame, unless of course you are referring to our tiny spot on a vast ocean.
I speak of Seresin 2014 Sauvignon Blanc and the team at this winery is often puzzled about how much they ship to an island that is just a dot on the map. This blend from biodynamically grown grapes consists of 96% Sauvignon Blanc and 4% Semillon.
Twenty different blocks were hand-picked, pressed and fermented separately with natural wild yeasts and after eight months they were tasted and blended to create an interesting and elegant style. I can assure you that most wines do not get this amount of care and attention. Its style allows it to age with grace and this 2014 will still be fine in 2019. $25.60.
Let’s end up with a quick trip across the Cook Strait to an area called Hawke’s Bay in North Island and here we will visit the oldest winery in the country and it is called Te Mata.
Maori legend tells of a war-like giant of this name and knowing that “the ways of a woman can sometimes overcome the effects of darkness”, the beautiful daughter of a chief turned Te Mata’s thoughts from war to peace.
2014 Te Mata “Cape Crest” Sauvignon Blanc is described in this way by well-known New Zealand wine critic Raymond Chan. “94-95/100 bright, pale straw-yellow colour with slight green hues, lighter on edge. The nose is intense with penetrating aromas of ripe gooseberries, greengages, limes and green stone-fruits, fresh herbs and a subtle layer of nutty oak. The aromatics are youthfully fresh and tightly bound. Medium-bodied, the fruit is tight and firmly concentrated, and slender in presentation, still to unfold in richness”.
Another 95/100 review from Sam Kim says “An outstanding white Bordeaux rendition, the bouquet is gloriously complex and engaging, exhibiting stone fruit, citrus, beeswax and cashew notes. The palate offers awesome weight, power and intensity, firmly structured by juicy acidity. What a gorgeous food wine. A blend of 87% Sauvignon Blanc, 10% Semillon and 3% Sauvignon Gris. At its best: now to 2024”. We sell this wine for $29.45 and I have literally seen it compared with fine Bordeaux whites that cost up to $150.00.
•This column is a paid-for advertorial for Burrows Lightbourn Ltd. Michael Robinson is Director of Wine at Burrows Lightbourn Ltd. He can be contacted at email@example.com or 295-0176. Burrows Lightbourn has stores in Hamilton (Front Street East. 295-1554), Paget (Harbour Road, 236-0355) and St George’s (York Street, 297-0409). A selection of their wines, beers and spirits is available online at www.wineonline.bm.