How we’re celebrating #Sauvblancday: Marlborough’s Blind River ‘Tekau’

We at team db want to celebrate the very best bottles from our Global Wine Masters and, it being Sauvignon Blanc Day on 3 May, we couldn’t resist pulling out this stunning example from New Zealand that picked up the top accolade in our Sauvignon Blanc Masters last year.

For those who’ve been following the development of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc closely, it will be apparent that this style of white wine has been undergoing an evolution. Although this part of New Zealand can still deliver plenty of pungent gooseberry and boxwood aromas that made it famous, new styles are emerging, particularly at higher prices, that are bringing a bit more diversity to the offer from this country.

In particular, producers of pricier Sauvignon Blanc are sacrificing some of those aforementioned instantly-recognisable aromatics for a wine that is less green in flavour, but has a richer, riper, more textural appeal, helped by a move from temperature-controlled fermentations in stainless steel to winemaking in barrels, often using native yeasts.

Among such styles of Sauvignon, this example from Blind River stood out in last year’s Sauvignon Blanc Masters. Although it’s quite expensive by Marlborough Sauvignon standards, priced a little over £20, it’s good value compared to barrel-fermented whites from Europe.

So, what do you get for your money? Well, if you like classic Marlborough Sauvignon, it won’t disappoint, as this top expression from Blind River still has a touch of those crunchy fresh characters that so many wine drinkers love, particularly lime zest and bell pepper, but also a slightly oily mouthfeel, and a touch of exotic fruit, from peach to passion fruit, along with a subtle nutty, gently toasty character – but not the vanilla flavours found in barrel-influenced Chardonnay.

In essence, this is a more complex style of Sauvignon, more serious if you like, that could still be enjoyed on its own, or with white meats and oily fish, and a welcome, well-made addition to the world of Sauvignon, which is often wrongly deemed one-dimensional in character. And with that latter point in mind, don’t forget that some of the planet’s most long-lived whites – the great wines of Graves in Bordeaux – are made from this grape, often blended with Semillon, and usually barrel-fermented.

The wine: Blind River ‘Tekau’ (from Lawson’s Dry Hills)
The source: Marlborough, Awatere Valley, Blind River
The grape(s): Sauvignon Blanc
The style: A crisp, dry, barrel-influenced white wine
The price: £20-22
The medal: Master – The Sauvignon Blanc Masters, 2018

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