The Tasting Panel magazine

April 2012

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Page 52 of 133

TRENDS Trend-Spotting in New Zealand "THE LAND OF THE LONG WHITE CLOUD" MOVES BEYOND SAUVIGNON BLANC story and photos by Deborah Parker Wong W Nigel Greening examines the soil at biodynamic producer Felton Road. hile New Zealand is globally recognized as a go-to region for signature Sauvignon Blanc and racy Pinot Noir, producers in the world's youngest winegrowing region aren't resting on their laurels. Marlborough, on the northern tip of New Zealand's South Island, is the place to look for trends in Sauvignon Blanc. Domestic consumption within New Zealand and exports to nearby Australia are driving the growth of aromatic white varieties other than Sauv Blanc, as well as new Sauvignon Blanc–dominated blends that appeal to consumers who eschew the style we so closely associate with the region. During a blind tasting of 2010 releases conducted at Drylands, a Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc/Pinot Gris blend was quick to capture our attention among a lineup of mono-varietal wines. Winemaker Darryl Woolley, who oversees all winemaking for Constellation New Zealand, says, "There's a synergy between Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris that is appealing across the board. In addition to ours, there are six blends on the domestic market, and all of them are [performing]. Consumers enjoy the hint of richness that Pinot Gris brings to the blend." Sauvignon Blanc–dominated blends are just one of the many styles emerging as a result of the variety's expanding popularity. "Oak is starting to creep in, and we're seeing more Sancerre-style wines being made for aging. Winemakers are looking to Hawkes Bay on the North Island for fruit with alternative flavor profiles and lower alcohol," noted Woolley. Old-vine, dry-farmed sites like Drylands lend themselves to more complex styles with wines that express grapefruit, minerality, mint and even black pepper rather than overt tropical fruit and pungent grassiness. 52 / the tasting panel / april 2012 Castle Cliffs vineyard in Marlborough, the source for Nobilo's mineral-driven Icon wines.

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