The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

It’s International Sauvignon Blanc Day!

It’s time to celebrate one of New Zealand’s most popular and iconic varietals – Sauvignon Blanc!

International Sauvignon Blanc Day takes place this Friday, May 3, and is an opportunity to highlight the excellence of this wine in your on- and off-premise.

All wine lists in New Zealand will likely feature this Kiwi favourite but Wine Marlborough General Manager Marcus Pickens says Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc has also earned its place on the world stage.

“Marlborough-produced Sauvignon Blanc made a massive impact from the very first taste all those decades ago. It sort of shocked and surprised everyone with its intensity of aromas and flavours,” he says.

“While Sauvignon Blanc is produced in many countries, Marlborough wine stands on its own for its purity and flavour intensity. Our Sauvignon Blanc is crisp, zesty and tropical – undeniably aromatic.”

And, with the emergence of new and alternative styles, Pickens says Sauvignon Blanc is still surprising consumers.

“Growers, winemakers and the hospitality and tourism industries are exploring and innovating with the style, subregions, business models and experiences they create for both New Zealanders and international visitors,” he says.

“This is a fascinating sector where we have family-owned, pioneering brands branching out in new areas, in the spirit of continuous advancement, working alongside newer corporate-owned brands.

“Each are doing different things with Sauvignon Blanc, but on the whole the industry is collaborating and pushing forward.

Pickens says that continual advancements in viticulture and winemaking have seen the emergence of alternative Sauvignon Blanc styles made using different techniques – such as oak-aging, barrel fermenting, wild fermenting and the creation of low or no-alcohol wines.

“Zero percent wines, Sauvignon Blanc included, have emerged as a real force,” he says. “There is enough innovation underway to introduce a new ‘alternative Sauvignon Blanc’ class at the 2023 Marlborough Wine Show.

“We are blessed with the type of climate, terroir and water purity that Sauvignon Blanc grapes thrive in, but the flavour and quality is brought to the fore by incredibly skilled viticulturalists and winemakers.”

Fun Sav Facts!

• Sauvignon Blanc was commercially produced in New Zealand for the first time in the 1970s.
• It is the country’s most widely planted variety, and is New Zealand’s flagship export wine.
• Nationally, over 25,000 hectares of vineyard land are devoted to growing the grape.
• Sauvignon Blanc comprises 78% of New Zealand’s overall wine production — and it’s 89% of what we export to the rest of the world. The total production is: 378,300 tonnes.
• It’s one of the parent grapes of Cabernet Sauvignon along with Cabernet Franc.
• Today’s Marlborough Sauvignon Blancs typically display zingy acidity, with a leap-out-of-the-glass pungency and heady aromas of passionfruit, gooseberry and freshly cut herbs.
• They have a distinctive style that reflects the region’s hot days and cool nights. Those long summer days allow the sugars, or brix, to build, while the cooler nights allow the grapes to retain the acidity Sauvignon is best known for.

For more on International Sauvignon Blanc Day, click here.

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