Spring for­ward with Sauvi­gnon Blanc

The Chatham Daily News - - NEWS - CHRIS WA­TERS WA­TERS ON WINE Email: chris.wa­ters@sun­media.ca Twit­ter: @wa­ter­s_wine

Re­mem­ber when the suc­cess of Marl­bor­ough Sauvi­gnon Blanc was writ­ten off as a flavour of the month? But 30 years af­ter the re­lease of the game-chang­ing Cloudy Bay Sauvi­gnon Blanc, the zesty white wine con­tin­ues to se­duce wine lovers with its re­fresh­ing and flavour­ful siren song.

Sales across Canada con­tinue to boom, which un­der­scores the fact Marl­bor­ough Sauvi­gnon Blanc is a fad that isn’t go­ing away. In fact, suc­cess isn’t lim­ited to bot­tles hail­ing from New Zealand. Our grow­ing ap­petite for Sauvi­gnon Blanc has also seen sales of ex­am­ples from Chile, South Africa and the United States rise steadily.

The ap­peal is ob­vi­ous. (Although it’s equally clear the brash in­ten­sity of the grape va­ri­ety makes it a love or hate prospect for many. Fear not, if you find it’s not to your taste.)

When it comes to de­scrib­ing the re­fresh­ing char­ac­ter of well­made Sauvi­gnon Blanc, I use the term “spring-like.” I’ve gone as far as declar­ing it the of­fi­cial wine of spring some years back and have yet to find an­other brac­ingly zesty white wine to usurp that po­si­tion. Cer­tainly the style of Marl­bor­ough Sauvi­gnon Blanc has shifted from zesty and in­tensely green styles to ones with more cit­rus flavours. There’s more ele­gance and in­trigue in the glass to­day, in­clud­ing markedly less sweet­ness in the af­ford­able se­lec­tions. It’s a lit­tle less jolt­ing than the model of Sauvi­gnon Blanc that cap­tured the world’s at­ten­tion, but its crisp, clean edge suits the mood of the chang­ing sea­sons.

If that weren’t enough, Sauvi­gnon Blanc Day on May 5 helps fo­cus more at­ten­tion on the dra­matic per­son­al­ity of a grape that has yet to fall out of fash­ion.

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