If there were seven wonders of New World wines, Marlborough would be one of them. The region that propelled New Zealand onto the international wine stage had no commercial wineries until the 1970s and yet has, since then, become the country’s biggest producer of wine. And not just any old wine. It may not be stepping too far over the line to say that Marlborough’s Sauvignon Blanc put New Zealand on the map. A map at least. And like a precocious and gifted – but rather spoilt – brat, Sauvignon Blanc leaves little room for its talented but less adored siblings to get much of a look-in, accounting for 65% of the region’s planting. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay jostle for a little well-earned attention but in Marlborough it is Savvy that steals the show.
Reveling in perfect conditions for growing seriously wonderful Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough has offered up such greats as Cloudy Bay, Allan Scott and Wither Hills. Consistently warm, but not hot, sunny days followed by cooler nights allow Marlborough savvies to hold onto their acid and to punch out the intense flavours which have become the trademark taste for these world beating wines. The unrelenting terroir of Wairau Plain and Awatere Valley give the vines a testing workout and produce grapes that are thankful to be alive. Even those old hands, the French, have been forced to sit up and take notice.