Editor’s Note: New Zealand’s Marlborough wine region has become synonymous with the Sauvignon Blanc grape variety. In recent years, it has become the most popular New World region for the production of the grape. Unlike European regions like France’s Loire Valley (Sancerre / Touraine), Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough is often more affordable, while offering zippy acidity and refreshing tropical fruit flavors that make for a very easy-drinking, crowd-pleasing white wine. Read on to learn more.
IN THIS GUIDE:
Why is the Marlborough Wine Region of New Zealand Ideal for Growing Sauvignon Blanc?
Marlborough, remarkable for its southern latitude as a wine region, is home to 88% of New Zealand’s vines and most of those vines are Sauvignon Blanc. In fact, 80% of all wine from New Zealand is Sauvignon Blanc.
Marlborough’s southern latitudes contribute to cool winds and refreshing nights that allow Sauvignon Blanc to retain its crisp vibrant and refreshing acidity. Its Southern latitudes also mean extended sunlight hours in the summer months (December, January, February in the Southern Hemisphere) to allow proper ripening given these cool conditions.
Not unlike Bordeaux, there is a strong maritime climate on the South Island keeping the temperature swings from night to day less dramatic than in Continental regions like Burgundy, allowing the grapes to warm up and begin their ripening as soon as the sun is up. Also like Bordeaux (a classic place for Sauvignon Blanc) there are stony soils that allow drainage and reduce the vigor of this strong and fast-growing vine.
RELATED: The 7 Best New Zealand Wine Regions to Visit and Why
What Does Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc Taste Like?
Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough has a distinctive, if not charmingly addictive character. The high mouthwatering acidity complements rich tropical flavors contrasted by an asparagus, green grass savory character.
It can range from bone dry to subtly sweet (8g/l RS). Because it is an isolated region, stainless steel is a common aging method as shipping French casks across the sea is expensive and difficult. Stainless steel leads to distinctive fruit flavors, light to medium body, and a highly aromatic expression.
RELATED: The Many Flavors of Sauvignon Blanc: Try These Versions from Around the World
What are the best Marlborough Sauvignon Blancs to buy?
- Cloudy Bay ($25 USD) put Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc on the map and still stands up as the classic example of the style.
- Kim Crawford ($14 USD) is another classic example widely available in the value price range. If you go much cheaper than Kim Crawford, you may end up with overcropped and diluted flavors.
- Oyster Bay ($10 USD) offers consistency year after year and is widely available across the United States. Another superb value buy and a crowd-pleaser.
- If you need a porch pounder, Newharbour, ($8 USD), Brancrott ($8 USD), and Matua ($10 USD) do the job admirably.
Food Pairing New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc
It’s not too difficult to pair this wine with a range of dishes and cheeses. Some of our go-to pairings always include grilled fish, including snapper, swordfish, and mahi-mahi. Salads and fruit salads always make for palate-pleasing options.
You can also pair most New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs with sweet and savory Thai dishes, grilled chicken, and raw seafood, such as sushi and oysters.
You are reading “Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc: Wines To Buy, Tasting Notes & Regional Information” Back To Top
white wines to try, where is sauvignon blanc grown, top affordable wines to try: list of grape varieties
If you enjoyed this guide, make sure you register to become a Winetraveler for free! You’ll get access to all of our content and interact with other Winetravelers and for travel inspiration around the world. Be sure to follow along with us on Instagram as we continue to feature more exciting destinations.