Sometimes it takes a trip overseas to realise how good your country’s own number one wine is. Sometimes it is drinking your own country’s sauvignon blanc overseas, sharing a favourite label with wine friends on a balmy summer evening at an idyllic seaside setting on Washington’s Birch Bay (pictured), and listen to them wax lyrical about how good the wine is, you realise New Zealand really does have something very special. Of course when it’s a wine you chose yourself, you hope they will like it. But love it … oh, yes. You feel so proud!
The wine section in the Cost Cutter Supermarket in Blaine, just south of the Canadian border, is quite spectacular, especially when it comes to New Zealand sauvignon blanc. And although there were specials for under US$10 a bottle, and some terrific names too, I couldn’t resist the Dog Point Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2012 when I saw it, even though it was over twice the price at around US$22. It was by far the most expensive, but it was worth it for its outstanding flavours – the classic citrus and gooseberry and even a touch of passionfruit and underlying savouriness from wild ferment – a dry wine with exemplary restraint.
So now I am back in New Zealand and drinking sauvignon blanc again. The 2012 wines are still delightful and the terrific Peter Yealands Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2012 that won five gold medals in five New Zealand competitions between August 2012 and March 2013, as well as a gold medal in China, was a star performer when staying with family at Whangamata just last weekend. Still fresh as a daisy, it simply oozed fruity deliciousness with a tangy citrus twist. This was packaged in a lightweight shatterproof bottle and there was some discussion whether wine in a glass bottle tastes better, but could anyone fault the wine in our glass? No. Easy to see why the judges at every wine show had loved it.
I’m also really enjoying the new vintage offerings from 2013, many I tried during the New Zealand International Wine Show when I was given the task of writing the official notes of the gold medal winners. My highlights of the 2013 savvies tasted so far. That’s the next blog. Soon.