What white grape produces the globe’s most consistently good wines? According to US wine writer Matt Kramer, it’s a well-known variety, but it’s not Chardonnay.
The 35th Annual New Zealand trade tasting aims to demonstrate the diversity of its flagship Sauvignon Blanc
Speaking earlier this month in New Zealand – where Kramer was asked to speak at the country’s first International Sauvignon Blanc Celebration – the respected commentator began his presentation by stating the dependable credentials of one grape.
As soon as he arrived at the lectern, Kramer said, “Sauvignon Blanc is the world’s most reliably good dry white wine – full stop.”
Continuing, he explained, “Is it the world’s greatest grape? Hell no, Chardonnay scales that in Burgundy, and also here [in New Zealand], but day in, day out, country in, country out, Sauvignon Blanc is the most reliably good wine.”
Kramer added that he would opt for Sauvignon Blanc on a wine list if he wasn’t sure what to choose because “it never loses”, before stressing that such consistency was impressive.
“It’s not nothing to be the world’s most reliably good white wine,” he said.
Nevertheless, as previously reported by the drinks business, Kramer said that Marlborough Sauvignon producers were going through a “mid-life crisis”.
“There’s some sense of a mid-life crisis here in Marlborough… a sense that somehow you’ve missed something,” he observed.
Continuing he said, “You can claim success, claim uniqueness, claim profitability… but you are going through a mid-life crisis because you are in phase 1 and you are about to enter phase 2.”
While Kramer praised the style and quality of Marlborough Sauvignon, he did say that the cropping levels were too high by some producers.
“I think some of you need to lower your yields: Sauvignon Blanc – like Riesling – can handle a higher level, but can it handle 16 tonnes per hectare? We know it’s being done,” he said.
Kramer was addressing attendees of New Zealand’s first ever “celebration” of Sauvignon Blanc, which was held in Marlborough from 1-3 February.
Click here to read more about the event, and click here to read more about Kramer’s views on the evolution of Sauvignon Blanc in Marlborough.