A classical Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand

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Top choice: Sauvignon Blanc is the king of varietals in New Zealand. It was planted in the east coast region of Marlborough in the 1970s. | Larry Ruehl~Sun-Times Media

Many recognize Sauvignon Blanc as a refreshing summer white that serves to quench the palate on a hot summer evening with stone green fruits. Although this is typically the case, Sauvignon Blanc’s personality remains elusive depending on where it is grown. The origin of this green tinged varietal heralds from the Loire Valley of central France, where it is recognized as Sancerre or Pouilly Fume, but its complexion is transformed in New Zealand, Australia, South America and California. It can present itself as overly tropical, clean and flinty or aggressive and grassy in character. This grape thrives in temperate climates with warm/hot days and cool nights allowing it to retain its pure vibrant acidity.

Sauvignon Blanc is the king of varietals in New Zealand and was planted in the premier east coast region of Marlborough in late 1970s. The stony soils near the Wairau Valley are conducive for allowing Sauvignon Blanc to achieve its maximum potential with the cool evenings intensifying the grapes aromas and flavors.

Cairnbrae is a small boutique winery in Marlborough adjacent to Stoneleigh Vineyards and well-known Cloudy Bay. After supplying grapes to other wineries in the 1980s, the owners decided to establish their own label in 1992. The 2011 Cairnbrae Sauvignon Blanc is a more classical expression of Sauvignon Blanc and is best served cold in order to enhance the intriguing nature of this wine. Medium to light bodied in style, it exudes fresh pink grapefruit aromas, while inside there are green apple, kiwi, resin and orange zest elements that embody this wine. It is balanced with a fine backbone of racy acidity that will make you passionate about using this wine as your everyday summer companion.

Suggested retail: $11.99

W. Peter Hoyne has been a wine journalist for over 20 years, covering stories of national and international significance. While his professional relationships in the wine industry have allowed him to share a unique perspective of wine, he is also intrigued by the culinary aspect and harmony that exist between wine and food. As a wine advocate, he is committed to consumer education and is focused on upcoming trends and American wine-buying habits.