Celebrating International Sauvignon Blanc Day with New Zealand Cellars

Great news everyone. It’s Sauvignon Blanc day on the 3rd May.

We all love Sauvignon Blanc for it’s herbaceous, zesty flavours and refreshing acidity, but do you know where these flavours come from? If you want to amaze everyone with your wine knowledge on May 3rd, be sure to tell them about METHOXYPYRAZINES. They are chemical compounds found in grapes to give you the green aromas such as gooseberry, green capsicum, tomato leaf and grass.

So why is the Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand so pungent and explosive in aroma and flavours? Well, with new research from Jamie Goode in his latest book The Science of Sauvignon Blanc, he has discovered that the grapes in New Zealand have higher levels of this chemical compound which creates the herbaceousness alongside THIOLS (now we are getting super wine geeky), that gives all the tropical and exotic notes we have come to love. So now you know everything.

Although having originated from France and is now planted around the globe, New Zealand truly is the leader in the wine world when it comes to Sauvignon Blanc. It is crazy to think that Sauvignon Blanc in New Zealand only started being planted in the 1970’s. With 86% of all wine exports from New Zealand being Sauvignon Blanc there is no getting away from the zingy passionfruit and gooseberry flavours that have created an international benchmark for this varietal. So, I decided to catch up with the New Zealand Cellar who are situated in Brixton, London, to see how they will be celebrating Sauvignon Blanc Day. And considering they have the largest collection of New Zealand Wine in the Northern Hemisphere with 25% of their offering being Sauvignon Blanc, I can only imagine, any celebration they put on will be worth visiting.

Melanie Brown started New Zealand Cellars online in 2014 to showcase the best that New Zealand wine had to offer. She has won the title ‘Specialist New Zealand Retailer’ at the Decanter Retailer Awards and the International Wine Challenge Retailer Awards for 4 years running. You can now find her and the team demonstrating that passion and conviction for New Zealand wines at Pop Brixton in South London.

So, for all things Sauvignon Blanc I asked a few questions to hear a little more about what’s going on down under with our zesty, herbaceous friend.

With Sauvignon Blanc having put the wine region Marlborough firmly on the International wine map, are most of your Sauvignon’s from this region?

We do our best to showcase the diversity of New Zealand’s wine offering and Sav is no exception! We have at least one Sauvignon Blanc from each significant wine region and a range of styles from barrel fermented, wild yeast, lightly sparkled, stainless steel and Sauvignon/Semillon blends.

What do you say, when people look at New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc as if it is a brand, with no diversity?

Simple… step into our shop in Pop Brixton have a chat with our staff and see the range of Sauvignon Blanc we have on our shelves. Or even better join us on April 25th to taste 40+ Sauvignon Blancs and taste the diversity for yourself!

What are the different styles of Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand? How do you describe this to your customers?

Mountain, Sea and River are the major 3 elements that contributed to the success of Sauvignon terroir across the globe. This is no different in New Zealand. The North Island Sauvignon Blancs tend to have ripe tropical fruit characteristics and the South Island usually has the iconic green capsicum/herbal notes and gooseberries, but you can check out our tasting notes online or talk to our staff in store for guidance on individual wines.

One of the biggest differences with New Zealand Sauvignon styles is texture and winemaking influence. The traditional Marlborough Sauvignon style does not come into contact with oak but we have a few examples in store that have oak influence, wild yeast or even blended with Semillon. My recommendation for anyone wanting to expand their Sauvignon Blanc horizons is to try either the Greywacke Wild Sauvignon which is made by Kevin Judd (ex Cloudy Bay) and uses oak influence and wild yeast from the vineyard to create an epic wine with loads of texture and funk. The other is Seresin Sauvignon Blanc which expresses the traditional Sauvignon freshness with the addition of about 5% of Semillon for added texture and structure.     

What is the future for Sauvignon Blanc?

Sexy! New Zealand Sauvignon took the world by storm for a reason. It is unique to New Zealand. Simply no other country can produce Sauvignon Blanc like New Zealand can (Marlborough in particular). What makes this grapes’ future look so sexy is the pioneering winemakers behind it continuously searching for new ways to bring great wine to the world stage.

So, what are you guys doing for Sauvignon Blanc day?

We are celebrating Sauvignon Blanc day early! We are joining forces with The Australian Cellar (in true ANZAC spirit) and hosting a Sauvignon Blanc event on ANZAC day – Thursday 25th of April. The event is ticketed (only £5 though!) and that gets you entry, 40+ Sauvignon Blancs from New Zealand and Australia to taste and a DJ playing tunes in the Pop box in Brixton. This isn’t to say we won’t celebrating on the day either… but you will need to join our mailing list to get in on the celebration on the 3rd.

For anyone who has not got down to Pop Brixton yet, you are missing out. It is an energetic hub crammed with local businesses operating out of refurbished shipping containers. It is full of shops, food venders, bars and live music. Many startup companies begin here, so as they get a name for themselves, they often move out into their own restaurants. Come and discover the latest food ventures as the place is always changing.

And as I always say, “sharing is caring”: If you buy a bottle from New Zealand Cellars you pay a small corkage charge and enjoy it at any of the other food venders’ tables, as well as bringing that food to the tables at New Zealand Cellars. There’s a lot of love here. So, remember if you are thirsty this Thursday you can buy your tickets here or park yourself up on Friday May 3rd to celebrate Sauvignon Blanc day in style.

Click here if you want to understand the flavours of the popular grape Sauvignon Blanc in more detail and the famous regions in which it hails. Learn how the regions affect the flavor and how they can change the flavours in the winery. This video I’m trying a Pouilly Fume – very different to the Kiwi Sauvignons, so make sure you grab yourself several bottles to compare and decide what style you prefer.

Happy International Sauvignon Blanc Day

If you liked this article you might like this one on Malbec.

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