I find myself rapidly tiring of New Zealand sauvignon blanc. I think you are now less likely to find a decent wine than ever before if you simply pick up a random bottle of Marlborough savvy off the shelves. This was not the case 20 or 30 years ago when it seemed every bottle had hand-crafted, raspy, authentic citrus and mineral tones.
The explosion of plantings and the commercialisation of this style has knocked much of the uniqueness of flavour out of these wines, but a small band of producers are doing their utmost to maintain the region’s once stellar standards. A new initiative, which will bring back much-needed rigour, is the “Appellation Marlborough Wine” mark (something I have been encouraging wineries to adopt for nearly 20 years).
Quality control via certification will be seen in the form of a new logo on bottles. To use this image, producers must sign a licence agreement that adheres to strict guidelines identifying that the wine is made entirely from grapes grown in recognised, sustainable vineyards in Marlborough and that the wine is bottled in New Zealand.
Music to my ears. Let’s hope that the sweet, bubble-bathy savvies will be left behind in favour of the truly exciting and vital wines like my featured Greywacke – this was my favourite sauvignon blanc from my recent annual New Zealand tasting.
• Matthew Jukes is a winner of the International Wine & Spirit Competition’s Communicator of the Year (MatthewJukes.com).