Try a taste of South Africa or Chile as wine shortages start to bite | Alistair Gibson

By now it seems we are beginning to get used to shortages of everything. From fuel to chefs, and who knows – maybe even turkeys for Christmas.

By Alistair Gibson
Friday, 29th October 2021, 2:18 pm
Updated Friday, 29th October 2021, 2:18 pm
Weatherman Sauvignon Blanc 2020.
Weatherman Sauvignon Blanc 2020.

But what we will all be talking about soon is the great New Zealand sauvignon blanc shortage of 2021.

Now that may indeed be a very first world problem. But with the very difficult growing seasons in many French wine regions this year, it may just be the start of wine shortages on a larger scale.

Of course this is nothing to do with either Covid or Brexit, just Mother Nature playing her part. But it does look very much like the perfect storm.

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Marlborough was the victim of extreme spring frosts, and as a result the 2021 sauvignon blanc harvest was exceptionally small, as much as 30 per cent down. According to some of the largest producers in the region, it will not be possible to meet global demand.

So this is an opportunity to look at other wine regions and the most logical places to start are South Africa and Chile, both capable of producing modern, fresh sauvignon blanc.

Both offer great value for money, but I think South Africa is probably producing sauvignon blanc in a style closer to New Zealand than Chile.

The Weather Man Sauvignon Blanc 2020, Western Cape (Co-op £6.50) is fresh with tropical fruits, lime and gooseberry on the nose, followed by a some richness on the palate with more tropical and citrus fruits and a refreshing, zesty finish.

This easy crowdpleaser, Bruce Jack Sauvignon Blanc 2020 Western Cape (widely available from £7 Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Asda, Co-op) is made by one of the Cape’s most well-known winemakers and I think it’s amazing he can turn out wine of this quality at this price.

It is aromatic with lychees, tropical fruits and lemon grass on the nose, followed by a touch of granny smith apple to keep it nicely balanced.

From Chile, Errazuriz Estate Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2020, Aconcagua (From £9 at Tesco, Ocado, Morrisons, Majestic) offers lime zest, lemon grass and gooseberry fruit on the bouquet, the palate is very fresh with green apple and lime and a crisp finish.

Trade up a little and Leyda Single Vineyard Garuma Sauvignon Blanc 2020, Leyda (Tesco £12) is little more refined with grapefruit, green herbs, fennel and almost a touch of salinity on the nose. Serve with steamed mussels or grilled prawns.

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