Again this year I utilized a number of vineyard sites as a blending strategy to enable me to present classic Marlborough terroir. The blend is a seamless layering of grapes from diverse sites in the Wairau River Valley. Depending on exposure and soil structure, which ranged from rocks and pebbles to sand and clay, the different lots contributed citrus, lemon zest, nettles, pineapple-tropical fruit, and white currant, with a touch of minerality.
Suggested Food Pairings:
"Vibrant flavors in this sauvignon work well with aromatic foods – even those that are acidic and spicy. It's a natural with fresh fish and shellfish in a wide range of preparations, from sushi to grilled, poached or richly sauced. Bridge ingredients – such as herbs, capers, green olives, curries, sour cream, goat cheeses, and citrus 'squeezes' – connect this multifaceted sauvignon to a wide range of seafood and poultry."
- Chef John Ash
Sauvignon Republic Winery
The men involved in Sauvignon Republic (John Buechsenstein, John Ash, Paul Dolan and Tom Meyer) are committed to becoming experts on Sauvignon Blanc and producing it around the world in the best locations. All four men are passionate about this grape.
Sauvignon Blanc is a grape variety that expresses "terroir" (the place that it is grown) more profoundly than almost any other grape variety. California, New Zealand, South Africa, Chile and France are the locations where it has shown greatness. Sauvignon Republic intends to produce a wine in each area. It will allow them to promote and share the unique flavors that each location provides.
Food styles and flavors have changed profoundly in recent years. Asian, Hispanic and Indian flavors and techniques are being widely embraced by both chefs and home cooks. European and Mediterranean flavors of course will continue to be a part of "American" food but the increasing influence of these new cuisines is having a profound impact on wine choices. Sauvignon Blanc has the unique ability to wrap itself around all of these new flavors and cuisines.
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Sitting pretty on the northern tip of New Zealand's south island, Marlborough has become synonymous with New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. As well it should be – Marlborough is the primary region for those delicious, citrusy, summer-lovin' wines with vibrant acidity and pungent, grassy, grapefruit flavors. Sauvignon Blanc is the main grape here; Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Riesling are also made.
The region has well-drained alluvial loam soils, which are perfect for grape growing. The grapes receive a good deal of sunshine during the day, but recovers in the cool evenings. Marlborough's growing season is long, which helps foster the gradual, even ripening of the grapes. Not made for much aging, the Sauvignon Blancs of Marlborough are of the buy ‘em and drink ‘em class of wine. Expect little vintage variation here - quantity differs more than quality.
It's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country into itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.