Yvonne Lorkin Wine column for week beginning Sat 2nd Sept 2017

Ask not what your sauvignon can do for you, but what you can do for your sauvignon. That’s the question. I’m not a winemaker, I’m a wine drinker and I love sauvignon to distraction. I will drink it on a boat, in my coat, on a train, on a plane in the rain while travelling to Spain, I will drink it here or there; I will drink it anywhere. But only if it’s awesome. Where sauvignon is concerned, I don’t much care for average. I want something interesting. Something that leaves a lasting impression in my mouth and makes me look forward to the next sip. Something that makes me salivate. The classic, crunchy fruit bomb Marlborough style put New Zealand on the world wine map 35 years ago, and when I ask people from overseas about their favourite wines, inevitably “Sauvignon Blanc from Nooo Zeeeland” is mentioned. However they never seem to single out Marlborough. I could be wrong (often am) but I think if the wine is great and it has ‘New Zealand’ written on the bottle, chances are it could do well in any market. So it’s time to push our leftfield sauvignon styles. Not all New Zealand sauvignon has to be green, limey and squint-inducingly acidic. Not all sauvignon carries gooseberry and grass, capsicum and cats pee either. Today there are some succulent, saucy sauvignon’s available that are deliciously different and deserve attention. There are winemakers across New Zealand who look at their sauvignon fruit for what it is, and bring out the best in it by perhaps using a little oak, maybe a little malo* and maybe a touch of wild yeast to create something unique to their vineyard and their region. Marlborough does that famous, classic style jawdroppingly well and nobody else can replicate it. But other regions are creating some incredibly ripe, complex, achingly-good, barrel-fermented, leesaged, alternative sauvignons that are amazing to drink. It’s also encouraging to see some Marlborough producers stepping outside the steel and having a crack at something different.

*malolactic fermentation converts hard malic acid into softer, creamier lactic acid. …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Pacific Potion Hawke’s Bay Organic Sauvignon Blanc 2017 $25 (4 stars)
Certified organic and oozing personality, this is lemongrassy, limey lusciousness at its best. Produced by the Supernatural Wine kids with organic-specialist winemaker Hayden Penny at the helm, the Pacific Potion is a skilfully produced clean, zesty, tangy and tropical tipple. It’s surprising to see it’s lower in alcohol than most (11.5%) but I love it’s mysterious, herbaceous layers and green apple complexity. www.greatlittlevineyards.co.nz

Terravin Te Ahu Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2013 $40 (4.5 stars)
‘‘Te Ahu’’ loosely translates to ‘‘new beginning’’ in Maori and for many sauvignon blanc fans, one sip of this will send them into new realms of possibility. Barrel-fermented, as opposed to the usual stainless-steel treatment, and using wild, indigenous yeasts, this wine offers almond meal, frangipani, freshly baled hay and baked tropical fruits on the nose. The crushed-stone character and crisp acidity gives the wine a mineral-like edge. The finish is long, textural and darn lovely with lemony octopus kebabs.
www.terravin.co.nz

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Here are three tasty wines you’ll be able to enjoy during Nadia Lim’s nationwide “Let’s Eat” cookbook tour that kicks off this week.

Leveret IQ Premium Brut NV $20 (4 stars)
This méthode traditionelle (the same method of making Champagne) is a regional blend of Hawke’s Bay and Marlborough Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier that’s been disgorged after a minimum of 18 months on its yeast lees (the residue leftover from the ferment). These guys have been making high-end sparkling wine since aeons ago, and they know how to craft bright, citrusy, slightly dry, nutty fizz with creamy harmony, vibrancy and depth. It’s jaw-droppingly good with Nadia’s Gooey Baked Camembert.
www.sipit.co.nz

Te Pa Wines Oke Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2015 $24 (4.5 stars)
Forget the words ‘sauvignon blanc’, because it’s way more like a ‘crazy, complex, smoky, roasty, toasty white wine’ than a sauvignon. Aromas of pine pollen, marzipan and smoked passionfruit are followed by lemongrass, lime leaf and tropical tastiness. Essentially it’s a gloriously complex wine, produced by a family that can trace their roots back to the first Maori landing at the Wairau Bar 800 years ago. Your soul won’t rest until you’ve tasted this with Nadia’s Thai whole baked fish.
www.sipit.co.nz

Alex K Big Back Yard Waipara Pinot Noir 2014 $24 (4 stars)
Crafted by the talented team at Kalex wines from fruit grown in north Canterbury, there’s a spice, soy and black olive note which wraps around the cherry and berry characters beautifully. It’s also got that gorgeous, hedgerow fruits and earthy, mossy character that I really love in great Central Otago pinot noir. There’s even a bit of sweaty saddle leather in there too, which accentuates the moody length of flavour and it’s divine when served with Nadia’s Meatball Bake
www.kalexwines.com

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