I’ve recently read an article in which some wine producers expressed their views about the pressure on land space in New Zealand’s most popular regions. As an example, some calculate that Marlborough will be fully planted in as little as five years, others give it about 10 years. International demand has increased significantly for Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, but what’s exactly so special about it?
A classic Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, commonly referred to as a "Savvy", is noted for its complete lack of subtlety, zesty flavours and a pungent character that has been famously described as 'cat's pee on a gooseberry bush'. This phenomenon captured millions of experts and wine lovers around the globe, having a massive effect on wine exports which could rise to NZ$1.5 bn annually in 2015. At the moment, it even seems as though the US could beat us, Australian wine enthusiasts, and become New Zealand’s biggest export market. And that’s just simply unacceptable, so let’s stock up on some quality Marlborough Savvies shall we.
The first large-scale vineyards were planted in the early 1970s, but Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc has only made a name for itself in the 1990's. The rapid expansion is due to the straightforward flavour of the widely popular Sauvignon Blanc variety combined with characteristics given by the terroir. The climate is responsible for a long growing season which gives the grapes time to develop a full and expressive character. Meanwhile, the soils are also excellent for viticulture because of their rapid drainage and low fertility. Although that sounds quite the contrary to beneficial, vines which are forced to work hard for hydration and nutrients produce small, concentrated grapes, which translates into intensely flavoured wines.
Actually, the key selling point of Sauvignon Blanc is that it’s an ideal wine with which to begin wine-tasting lessons. Another perfectly valid point is the price. You can find some unbelievable bargains on premium Savvies, starting with this deal on a dozen of 2013 Harwood Hall Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc for just $70 using WineMarket's $50 off voucher. That's over 50% off current market prices, giving you a unique opportunity to get this white for below $6 a bottle.
New Zealand is the world's southernmost wine-producing nation with 10 major wine-growing regions, the most important of which is Marlborough. A major concern for this region, as mentioned at the start, is that based on previous estimations it can accommodate a maximum of 26,000 hectares of vineyards. Marlborough already had around 23,200 hectares planted in as of 2013. What'll be interesting to monitor from a consumer's perspective, is what happens to prices of the renowned Marlborough Savvies over the next 5 to 10 years as there's no doubt that the price per hectare of the remaining land will be going up significantly. This indicates that it's probably not a bad idea to start stocking up on your preferred choice of savvies from this region in anticipation of these rising costs.
So here are some other Marlborough Sauvignon Blancs which you can get your hands on at bargain prices, most with an additional $50 discount thanks to WineMarket's most-loved voucher.
I would say that buying a dozen of 2013 Brancott Estate Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc for $114 (after the discount, including delivery) is a steal as you would be looking at paying between $150 and $180 for the case elsewhere. Produced by one of the most renowned boutique wineries of the region, this 2013 vintage Savvy is an award winning classic of the varietal, displaying racy acidity that helps give the wine extraordinary length and class.
For the same price, you can pick up a Sauv Blanc with fragrant, juicy tropical notes by Stoneleigh. In this case as well, just like the previous example, the voucher will give you about 30% off the average market prices. For about $25 more, you can get a dozen Whiter Hills Sauvignon Blanc - one of the best examples of a traditional Marlborough style with herbal gooseberry and lemon-grass flavours. At a total of $141 delivered, WineMarket's price still works out cheaper than Dan Murphy's and Aldi's current specials on a case of twelve. Whilst if you compare prices from Vintage Cellars and Woolies, who are charging $18 and $20 a bottle respectively, this equates to a dozen costing over $216.
WineMarket also has a weekend flash sale on Clark Estate's Sauvignon Blanc going for $110 a dozen with free shipping. Although you can't use the voucher on this case as it doesn't meet the minimum spend threshold (i.e. $120), it's a steal compared to Cellarmaster's and David Jones' prices on the case at $167.88 and $267.88 respectively before added delivery charges. It's worth pointing out that this Savvy has bagged a gold medal at Air NZ Wine Awards, New Zealand's premiere annual wine show, so we can safely assume it's a quality white.