The one comment I am hearing so much at the moment is “I don’t like Sauv”, it almost feels like it's not that cool to like Sauvignon Blanc anymore & there's slight hint of people feeling slightly “over” it. To that sentiment, I have just one thing to say to that..... Noooooooo! Sauv is wonderful & also vitally important to the New Zealand wine industry. 85% of the Sauv we make in New Zealand goes overseas and let me tell you, NZ Sauv is absolutely adored around the world - lets be proud of our Sauvignon Blanc!
Ok, ok, so maybe you're a bit over the taste, it is true that Marlborough Sauv can sometimes seem as if they are following a recipe - that grassy, acidic gooseberry can sometimes feel a bit "same same" glass after glass but rather than give up on Sauv I recommend trying a one from another region other than Marlborough and I think you'll be pleasantly surprised
So let's show our Sauvvy some love shall we? To help you with your choices my three picks are from around the country (but not Marlborough)
Granted, I haven't gone that far from Marlborough with this one considering Nelson is just next door, but this Te Awa Leftfield Sauvignon Blanc 2017 is punching above its weight particularly when you consider it only costs $18 ($15 on special). This is also the wine that Air New Zealand serve on their domestic "Koru Hour" flights, and let me tell you that AirNZ takes their wine selection seriously!
The other thing I love about this wine is the "SquidMill" image on the front. The Squidmill is one of a range of mythical creatures that don each bottle of Leftfield wine. (You can learn more about those here). This wine is fun, it has gorgeous scents of lemon & herbs & flavours of passionfruit. Crack a chilled bottle immediately if not sooner.
As we head up the country to the Hawkes Bay and the wonderful wines of Elephant Hill - an impressive winery who are mixing state of the art technology with traditional wine making practices. Elephant Hill are a highly sustainable winery who have the technology to turn waste winery water back into clean water again - super impressive! Not as impressive as their wines though - wow.
The current Elephant Hill Hawkes Bay Sauvignon Blanc is a 2015 vintage & one that has been kept on slight lees (yeast to help with flavour) - a real commitment to quality considering Sauvignon is a drink now (or that could be a sell now) wine. This delicious wine has fresh flavours of Apple, peach and gooseberry (don't worry, it's subtle) with some floral as well. It has all of the acidity we know and love from Sauv but a hint of cream from its time on lees. Elephant Hill also recommends this is a Sauv you can age (whaaaat? Aging Sauv? Yup, it can be done) and will keep until 2022. This wine is a bargain at $22.
From the home of Pinot Noir comes one of the most impressive range of wines I've had the pleasure to taste of late & I have no hesitation in recommending Misha’s Vineyard ‘The Starlet’ – Bendigo Central Otago Sauvignon Blanc 2015 (or any of Misha's wines to be honest). This wine is handpicked and as another 2015 vintage has been aged a little in old oak. It is a unique mix mango, white pear and even hints of lemongrass! It is so smooth silky and delicious with such a depth of fruity flavour. This Sauv is also ageable for another 5/6 years under the correct conditions. Pick this little starlet up for $27
As for the name, Misha spent a lot of time in the wings of the theatre as a child as her mother was an Opera singer & Misha later in life became a ballet dancer, so all of her beautiful wines have a theatrical theme.
Misha recommends matching her Sauv with strongly flavoured cheeses like goat cheese, feta, pecorino or sharp cheddars - hell to the yes Misha!
To hear the audio from the Long Lunch with Wendyl Nissen about my Non-Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc choices, click the audio link below.