Happy International Sauvignon Blanc Day! – Alistair Gibson

CRUX Sauvignon Blanc 2018, MarlboroughCRUX Sauvignon Blanc 2018, Marlborough
CRUX Sauvignon Blanc 2018, Marlborough
It seems to be that there is an awareness day for just about anything these days.  I’ve often wondered who comes up with them because you can celebrate everything from limericks (May 12) to fish and chips (June 7), and of course there are days for grape varieties as well.

It’s been a busy couple of weeks for the wine trade with World Malbec Day on April 17 and #SauvBlancDay, as it was called this year, on May 3.

Although initially promoted by the New Zealand wine industry, this is now very much an international celebration.

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However, it is fair to say New Zealand sauvignon blanc has been one of the most amazing success stories of the past 20 years – from a standing start in 1973, when Marlborough planted its first vines, to exporting 180m litres in 2015.

Villa Maria Reserve Clifford Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2018Villa Maria Reserve Clifford Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2018
Villa Maria Reserve Clifford Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2018

It has influenced an entire generation, maybe two, in their wine drinking habits.

CRUX Sauvignon Blanc 2018, Marlborough (Waitrose £6.99 on offer from £10.49 until May 14) is the signature style of the wine that Marlborough has become famous for.

It’s not in any shape or form ambitious, and nor does it need to be. It’s refreshing, well made, zesty dry white with lime, tropical fruits and even a touch of asparagus on the nose, followed by a juicy, tropical fruit palate with some crisp acidity.

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It does exactly what it says on the tin and while on offer it’s probably worth stocking up on if you have summer parties planned.

Sauvignon de Touraine 2018, Domaine Patrick VauvySauvignon de Touraine 2018, Domaine Patrick Vauvy
Sauvignon de Touraine 2018, Domaine Patrick Vauvy

If you want a Marlborough sauvignon blanc with a little more complexity, then the recently released Villa Maria Reserve Clifford Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2018 (Sainsbury’s £14 nzhouseofwine.co.uk £13.99) is a definite step up.

From one of New Zealand’s most recognisable brands, and certainly one of its finest producers, this comes from one of Marlborough’s sub regions, the Awatere Valley, known for its slightly more mineral driven wines.

The bouquet offers grapefruit, nettles, pea shoots and currants, followed by a nicely concentrated palate with lime, grapefruit and green herbs and some crunchy acidity, before a long finish.

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Before Marlborough’s arrival, France’s Loire Valley was sauvignon blanc’s spiritual home and many would argue it still is today.

Sauvignon de Touraine is a style of wine that has seen vast improvement in quality and if you are looking for a slightly less overt sauvignon blanc then this is the style to look out for.

Sauvignon de Touraine 2018, Domaine Patrick Vauvy (Hermitage Cellars £9.50) is from a small producer which has been in the hands of the same family for many generations.

The current owner, Patrick Vauvy, believes in harvesting as late as possible to allow for more concentration in the fruit.

This is very aromatic with some exotic fruits, citrus and herbs on the bouquet, followed by a fresh, elegant palate with some minerality and crisp acidity.