It’s New Zealand’s success with Sauvignon Blanc that really gave the tiny country it’s winemaking “gravitas.” Nearly 70% of New Zealand’s vines are planted to the white grape, totaling about 200,000 tons harvested each year. And the Wairau Valley in Marlborough, home to Wairau River’s estate vineyards is no exception. “Its a very popular wine here – our number wine is Sauvignon Blanc followed by Pinot Gris and Rose,” says Lindsay from Wairau River. Let’s find out why… 

About the Wine: Wairau River 2017 Sauvignon Blanc is made from 100% Sauvignon Blanc grapes sourced from the oldest Sauvignon Blanc grapes on the Wairau River estate vineyards. After harvest, the grapes were gently pressed and fermented 100% in stainless steel tanks.

13% ABV

Flavor Profile: Open the bottle of the Wairau River 2017 Sauvignon Blanc and find the tropical scents you’ve been waiting for. This New Zealand Sauv Blanc is water-clear on the pour, settling into the glass with just the faintest hint of green-yellow, though virtually completely clear. Initial aromas are of passionfruit, wet grass on a warm day, grapefruit pith, and a very subtle aroma of orange blossoms gently blowing in the breeze. Swirl and add to this tropical savannah scents of orange zest, gardenias, and sea-salt salinity.

The palate of the Wairau River 2017 Sauvignon Blanc is light, clean, a bit fizzy, and — most importantly (to me) — dry. Dominant flavors are of pineapple rind, lemon and lime zest, grapefruit juice, citrus oil, and a bit of agave nectar. And while you may think between the nose and these notes that this Sauvignon Blanc is excessively fruit forward — I assure you it is not. Both the fruits and the floral flavors stay in the background, playing only a supporting role to the wine’s texture.

The finish is a bit sour at first, but this quickly dissipates and the real ending is, too, dry on the tongue and you’ll enjoy an after breath that can only be described as “Fantasy Island.”

Food Pairing: I paired the Wairau River 2017 Sauvignon Blanc with a pork and vegetable quesadilla. The clean, crisp attitude of this wine did well to counteract the seasonings and spices that went into the quesadilla, and I quite liked this pairing. For those who do like their wine a bit more fruit-forward, consider using a mango or other fruit-based salsa to make that “Fantasy Island” become a reality.

More Info: I received the Wairau River 2017 Sauvignon Blanc as a sample in conjunction with the monthly #WineChat on Twitter. (Cheers Christina!) Retail: $20. For more information about Wairau River, their wines, and to purchase wines directly. Please visit the Wairau River Wines website.

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