New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs to Beat the Winter Blues
New reviews of whites from Marlborough and beyond for under $20
Posted: February 22, 2018
Tasting Highlights’ wine reviews are fresh out of the tasting room, offering a sneak peek of our editors’ most recent scores and notes to WineSpectator.com members.
On Feb. 2, groundhog meteorologist Punxsutawney Phil predicted six more weeks of winter. For many, signs of spring can’t come fast enough. But in the southern hemisphere, summer is winding down and the first grapes are coming off the vine. These zesty, fruity Sauvignon Blancs from New Zealand are great buys, all of them costing under $20. They have the stuffing to keep you going through the rest of winter, but are also great to sip on and dream of a sandy beach.
One of the top scorers here is from Seifried, a winery located in the lesser-known Nelson appellation on the northern tip of the South Island, just west of Marlborough. The region has the highest sunshine hours in all of New Zealand. Farther inland, mountain ranges to the east, south and west provide shelter for the valleys and benchlands, while the northern areas benefit from a more maritime climate. The summers are warm and relatively dry and the nights cool.
Seifried pulls from two vineyard sources to make this complex and juicy white. One is just 10 miles from the coast, adding liveliness to the wine, while the other is sheltered from the coast, with stony soils yielding riper fruit.
Another unique wine on the list is Brancott’s Flight Song, which is made in a low-alcohol style by harvesting earlier in the season. At 9 percent alcohol, this wine is tangy, with lemon, lime and jalapeño notes; it is distinctive and doesn’t spare flavor.
These wines are imported in large quantities and should be widely available. And because of their wallet-friendly price tag, we suggest stocking up now. Summer will be here before you know it.
THREE BROOMS Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough Single Vineyard 2017 Score: 90
Grapefruit, peach and lime zest notes mingle with details of lemongrass, mineral and fresh-ground ginger, showing good intensity and a supple, juicy body. Drink now. 11,500 cases imported.—M.W.
ARONA Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2017 Score: 87
Bright peach and Key lime flavors are supple and fleshy against a backbone of crisp acidity. Aromatic accents of citrus zest linger on the finish. Drink now. 12,000 cases imported.—M.W.
THE LOOP Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2017 Score: 87
Offers a refreshing mix of green papaya, lemon and ruby grapefruit flavors. Fresh and focused, with a crisp and juicy finish. Drink now. 11,000 cases imported.—M.W.