Although many consumers had never tasted wine from New Zealand before the 1990s, the country’s piercing and pungent sauvignon blanc wines became an international hit when they gained global distribution about 25 years ago. In fact, the continuing popularity of these distinctively zesty whites helped make sauvignon blanc the fastest-growing wine type in the U.S. during this past spring and summer. The following two wines are from Marlborough, New Zealand’s sauvignon blanc capital.
Villa Maria 2019 Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New ZealandBought • Dierbergs, 8450 Eager Road, in September for $14.99
Description • Villa Maria is a perfect example of the incredible success of New Zealand sauvignon blanc. George Fistonich launched Villa Maria in 1962 when he was in his early 20s. After beginning international exports in 1988, Villa Maria is now one of the country’s biggest brands. Fresh, tart and vibrant, this aromatic white tastes distinctively of grapefruits and limes. It’s dry but not bone dry as the residual sugar helps to balance the sharp acidity. It would go well with oysters and other shellfish, salads and spicy Asian cuisine.
Giesen Wines 2019 Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New ZealandBought • Dierbergs, 8450 Eager Road, in September for $11.99
Description • Giesen was started by three German brothers who bought land in New Zealand in the early 1980s and had their first vintage in 1984. The winery’s 2019 sauvignon blanc, which won high scores from several critics, is a bigger-bodied, richer and more complex white than the Villa Maria. This is a herbaceous sauvignon blanc that tastes of grapefruit, lime and tropical fruit along with hints of ginger spice. Also dry but not bone dry, the Giesen ends with a long citrusy finish. Best enjoyed with food, it would go well with chicken and fish.