|Think Sauvignon Blanc; think New Zealand. It is fair to say that New Zealand has become synonymous with Sauvignon Blanc, or more specifically, Marlborough Sauvignon. This is the single most successful New World
variety of the 21st Century: yes, Chilean Carmenère, Argentine Malbec and Australian Shiraz have all become benchmarks, but the Sauvignon from this one tiny area of one tiny country has become the global pinnacle
for the variety, and one of the world's most recognisable wine styles.
I visited New Zealand in February 2006 and tasted over 100 Sauvignons. Whilst the pungent, green bean and tropical fruit style was still alive and kicking, there were also many producers playing with subtly
Some producers are toning down the herbal qualities, making leaner, more Sancerre-like wines, and some are ageing their wines in oak. These Kiwi Sauvignons
from Marlborough range from the full-on, impressively "typical" style of the Babich Family Reserve, to the more elegant, savoury style of Jane Hunter's wine. But each is a fine example of one of the world's great modern-day
Forrest Estate (NZ) 'Stonewall' Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2005
One of the nicest visits I had on my trip to New Zealand in February this year was to Forrest Estate, where John Forrest, a no-nonsense gentle giant of a man led me through a tour and tasting. This wine has a beautifully clean, rounded, slightly waxy tropical style of fruit on the nose, with pear and nicely aromatic herbal qualities. A little lychee note comes through. The palate is filled with rich passionfruit flavours and rolling, fleshy nectarine fruit with fine length and really nicely balanced acidity that is not too aggressive. Very good indeed/excellent. £9.91