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Jun 23, 2018

Simone Madden-Grey, the Happy Wine Woman, is our guest host this week on a great topic! 

New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc has become either a staple or a joke (it's often called Mrs. Supermarket wine or Soccer Mom wine). But there is more to this category than just Marlborough's mass brands. It's time to take another look & get excited about this multifaceted wine that New Zealand does better than nearly any country. 


Here are the show notes: 

New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc: the stats: 

  • 72% of New Zealand’s production
  • 86% of NZ wine exported


Where do the stereo types come from -- we debunk the myths:

  • Myth 1: It is only an entry to wine product
    • New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc put New Zealand on the map as a serious wine producing nation with its accessible and highly drinkable style. BUT there are myriad styles  with the full gamut of white wine flavours available - and you can find one you love!
  • Myth 2: Cheap and accessible wine is poor quality wine
    • New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc has done an excellent job of providing a consistent quality product at a reasonable price, successfully challenging the traditional notion that good wine must be expensive. 
  • Myth 3: It is one dimensional, a “Soccer Mom” or “Mrs Supermarket” wine
    • Yes, it's a highly drinkable summer wine, but there are many different options within the category. Producers are experimenting with the use of oak and lees contact to add complexity and texture demonstrating a greater variety of occasions and food pairings it works well with. 
  • Myth 4: It is too herbaceous
    • Regions such as Martinborough in the Wairarapa, Hawkes Bay, Nelson and North Canterbury and the warmer sub-regions of Marlborough all make very distinctive wines that are totally different from one another


Style notes on the wines: 

Rule of thumb:

Cooler climates make brisker styles

Warm climate notes: Melon, nectarine, tropical fruit (guava) sweet lemon. Lower acidity. Can be softer or flabby.

North Island:

  • Hawkes Bay: grows on cooler sites at altitude. Richer, fuller styles with peach notes and good acidity, but a bigger body
  • Wairarapa: Can be cooler but still have abundant sun
    • Martinborough: very herbal, acidic SB
    • Masterton: Complex wines, more of a mix of herbs and soft fruit


South Island:

  • Marlborough– 2/3 of all vines in NZ are here
    • Action in Marlborough will be in the sub-regions going forward 
    • Southern Valleys – Omaka, Fairhall, Brancott, Ben Morvan, Waihopai Valleys – can make heavier styles of SB
    • Wairau –  intensity and a bigger body
    • Awatere – south of Wairau. Lower yields and more minerally, acidic profiles. Not full bodied. 
  • Nelson: A more elegant, restrained expression with minerality alongside tropical fruit and herbs
  • Canterbury: Alpine areas – crisp, acidic, minerally styles but some are heavier
  • Central Otago: purity of flavor. Mineral, gunflint, herbaceous, crisp, refreshing, stony



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