How would you like to understand Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc in three easy steps Not only that, with this information you’ll be able to show up even the biggest wine wanker at your next dinner party Seems impossible? Well it’s actually quite easy. Read on…
It’s the wine that put New Zealand on the map, but if you think all Marlborough Sauvignon Blancs taste the same, guess again. While these wines can boast similar flavours such as grassy, herbaceous, gooseberry, tropical fruits, citrus and even snowpea, certain characteristics become more apparent once you hone in on Marlborough’s sub-regions.
Let’s dig deep in to the stony gravels of Marlborough and unearth the true meaning behind the region’s terrior (which by the way, means how Marlborough’s unique combination of geology, climate and geography react with Sauvignon Blanc). You see, Marlborough is divided in to three distinct areas, and if you understand each one via the label clues, you’ll have a better understanding of what your Marlborough Sav Blanc will taste like, BEFORE you twist open that delicious cap.
The three regions to look out for are Rapaura, Southern Valleys and Awatere.
- Rapaura: The Northern most sub region of Marlborough, has distinctly stony soils which soak up the sun, which in turn give the wines of this sub region more tropical fruit edged flavours
- Southern Valleys: is cooler and dryer, with older soils, said to be more structural. Whatever that means! What translates in the glass is a sauvignon Blanc that has a great weight, a more textural feel as well as greener flavours and citrus notes.
- Awatere: The southernmost valley of Marlborough with free draining silt over gravel and mudstone. This produces wines with lifted aromatic as well as intense flavours – which if you close your eyes, you can detect leafy, green, tomato stalk nuances.
PLAY AT HOME LIKE I DID
Don’t take my word for it – do what I did. Grab a wine from each sub region and taste away I sampled; Stoneleigh Rapaura Series Sauvignon Blanc 2013 (Rapaura), Brancott Estate Letter Series ‘B’ Sauvignon Blanc 2013 (Southern Valleys) and Triplebank Sauvignon Blanc 2013 (Awatere Valley).
- Put red dots on your wine glasses – number them 1 through to 3
- Get someone else to pour the wines in the numbered glasses, so you don’t have a clue what is being poured. Get your friend to label the wines 1, 2 and 3 so they correspond to the glasses.
- On a sheet label
- Taste away – and write on each wine’s red dot whether you think it is A, B or C
- You will be surprised at how well trained your palate is at detecting the difference – I got all three correct.
- Once you’ve done this exercise, think which style you loved the most.
- That’s what sub region you should be looking for from now on!