The shortage of 2021 Marlborough Sauvignon has been well documented, and no doubt you’ve all seen plenty of discussion around suitable alternatives for this commercial beast of a category. The truth is, Marlborough Sauvignon is nearly impossible to imitate. The aromatic intensity, and combination of gooseberry and tropical fruit character with a herbaceous twist is unique to Sauvignon Blanc from the region. It’s that individuality that has helped create the bubble of all bubbles in wine popularity. Some would say it’s good not to copy, leave them to it and all that, however in times of need it would be nice to turn on supply of a stylistically similar wine to satisfy the nation’s unwavering thirst.
Whilst we acknowledge we can’t replicate, we do feel it’s important to give customers, and consumers, valid alternatives which should provide some reassuring similarities in style. Heaven forbid, the more adventurous types might even try another grape, Verdejo anyone?
We’ve worked with a current grower in Chile’s coastal Leyda region to extend our production of Sauvignon, and with it some excellent NPD which is inspired by Chile’s Pacific outpost, Easter Island. Both Motu Nui in bottle, and Krakat’inii in a can should deliver high quality, eminently drinkable wines. As with any wine from Leyda, San Antonio or Casablanca they will be filled as D.O. Aconcagua in Europe.
Beyond that, there’s plenty in the selection below to help tempt the loyal Kiwi followers to take their first, big step into the world beyond.
The Myth of Motu Nui Sauvignon Blanc, DO Aconcagua 2021 CGC007
The wine is sourced from grapes equally shaped by the Pacific Ocean that grow in the Aconcagua region’s coastal Leyda Valley. Grapes that achieve a pungency and aromatic profile redolent of New Zealand’s Marlborough region on the other side of the Pacific Rim. Bright, aromatic and crisply textural The Myth of Motu Nui is a delightfully aromatic Sauvignon Blanc, as rich as the myths that inspire the name.
Coterie by Wildeberg Semillon Sauvignon Blanc, Coastal Region 2020 SBO515
The nose has an immediate attack of lemongrass and grapefruit with notes of hay and fennel. The palate has a rich, textural mouthfeel of lanolin and waxy lemons. Pithy, affirmatively tart with bright acidity this would be a joyous accompaniment to oily fish or green curries.
Novas Gran Reserva Sauvignon Blanc, Casablanca 2020 [Organic] CHV650
Vibrant aromas of grapefruit and gooseberries combine with notes of green chilli, nettle and tomato leaf. The palate shows lovely zingy fruit with a nice silky texture and long concentrated finish. The move to Casablanca, from San Antonio with the 2020 vintage allows Emiliana to grow the quality of this within their own newly expanded organic vineyards.
Bottega Vinai Sauvignon Blanc, Trentino 2020 ICV160
Each wine in the Bottega range is exemplary, with the best sites for each variety being carefully selected after a 5-year study. In this case, vineyards are on the slopes of the Valle dei Laghi north of Lake Garda where cool nights give a ripe but taut and fresh style with nice purity of fruit. While Alto Adige to the north is justly regarded as the source of Italy’s best Sauvignon, wines such as this from Trentino are catching up fast – and are considerably more affordable.
Menade Organic Sauvignon Blanc 2020 EME006
Making wines as naturally as possible is this innovative winery’s very clear mission so this is wild ferment, organic, high altitude Sauvignon, fresh and clean but with real character.
Circumstance Sauvignon Blanc, Stellenbosch 2020 FBW090
Difficult to categorise, with elements of both New and Old World, this is a delicious and distinctive style with ripe, honeyed fruit perfectly balanced by bracing acidity. A rich, textural palate around a mineral, lightly saline core, the vibrant fruit gives way to reveal more nuanced, herbal characters and a taut, long finish. The quality of the grapes from low yielding vineyards farmed to biodynamic principles is the key, along with a long natural fermentation in old oak barrels.