The best of sauvignon blanc | Alistair Gibson

After last week’s International Viognier Day, you’ve guessed it, there is another wine celebration day this week.

Friday, 7th May 2021, 4:10 pm
Updated Monday, 10th May 2021, 2:46 pm
One of the bottles Alistair recommends.

It does seem that an increasing number of grape varieties now have an annual date in the calendar and May 7 is the turn of sauvignon blanc.

Bearing in mind its seemingly endless popularity, this wine probably doesn’t really need much more exposure.

It is now so widely planted, from its heartland in the Loire Valley through to Marlborough There is little doubt it is New Zealand’s most successful grape export by some distance.

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Here are three wines to try this weekend, one from Marlborough and the other from regions you may not have associated with this aromatic grape.

The Ned Sauvignon Blanc must be one of the most recognisable wine labels on the shelves and takes its name from one of Marlborough’s most famous mountains.

The label was established as part of Marisco Vineyards by owner Brent Marris, who was part of the team that created Wither Hills. It would be fair to say that he probably has Marlborough wine running through his veins.

I have no idea of the volumes produced but considering the wine is virtually on every supermarket wine shelf, the quality and consistency is remarkable and it is easy to see why this is such a popular wine.

The Ned Sauvignon Blanc 2020, Marlborough (Waitrose £8.24 on offer) is the current vintage and it offers classic aromas of passion fruit, lime and ripe gooseberry. It would be lovely with an Asia-inspired seafood dish.

Le Charme Sauvignon Blanc 2019, Côtes de Gascogne (houseoftownend.com, £7.99) is a slightly more restrained wine from south-west France, a region until recently not readily associated with this grape. I think this is brilliant value for money and it worked beautifully with new-season asparagus.

If you have never tried a Slovenian sauvignon blanc you should. I was completely blown away by Domaine Ciringa ‘Fosilni Breg’ Sauvignon Blanc 2017, Slovenia (9elmswines.co.uk £19.99, novelwines.co.uk £19.99).

The name means ‘fossil mountain’ and it shows because this is a wine with real minerality. Pair this with simple grilled fish, garlic prawns or a dish of oysters. This is proof of one of the joys of wine, in that there is always something new to discover. This is just a fabulous expression of sauvignon blanc.