Posted on 25th January 2017 by JN Wine
From renowned names such as Cloudy Bay, Oyster Bay, Villa Maria and Brancott, the fresh, vibrant hits of gooseberries, passion fruit and grapefruit leap out of the glass offering instant gratification. It’s no wonder it is so popular at parties when it makes such a forceful first impression. But what if you want to branch out a little? What if the dominance of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is getting a bit too familiar? Well, there are plenty of great options to take you away from the same old, same old.
There are, of course, great Sauvignons from New Zealand which buck the usual trend and offer something a little more sophisticated. Producers such as Dog Point make exceptional wines with far more elegance and subtlety than you might expect, but the best bet is to get away from New Zealand in general.
A fantastic alternative grape variety would be Riesling. If you wanted to stick with the New World, Australia produces some great dry Rieslings, light and fresh, from Clare Valley, such as Kilikanoon Morts Block Riesling. You can get a slightly off dry style, richer and more luscious, offering a fruit intensity similar to that of a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, even if the flavours themselves are a leaner, green fruit style, from Germany, for example Loosen Estate Riesling.
Rueda, in Spain, is renowned for its Verdejo wines, a grape often referred to as Spain’s Sauvignon Blanc. The Finca Montepedroso Rueda offers superb, fresh acidity matched with an array of Citrus flavours and aromas that offer complexity along with approachability. One of my favourites from Italy, a country where the whites are usually light but full of expression, is the Solo Fiano from Michele Biancardi. Beautifully subtle floral aromas matched with delicious stone fruit, honey and spice flavours. You would be forgiven for switching the holiday plans from New Zealand to Puglia once you’ve tried this!
Picpoul de Pinet has become a little trendy of late, picking up fans of dry, fresh, crisp whites with classic citrus flavours mingling with more exotic fruit flavours. The Beauvignac Picpoul is a great example of this style. Jump on board!
This is merely a snapshot of what you could try out. New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc may be an easy option, an easy pleasing style of wine which appeals to so many people. But just a little venturing into the lesser known grape communities can yield some extraordinary surprises which will change your perspective without challenging you.