Sauvignon Blanc is the famous white grape of Bordeaux, but it seems like these days, Marlborough in New Zealand is just as well-known for it. In France, Sauvignon Blanc is all citrus (lemons and limes), green fruits (gooseberry, green apple) and usually some asparagus. It always possesses a high, refreshing acidity, and the cooler the climate, the leaner and crisper this wine will be. The climate is cool too in Marlborough – well, up in those high altitude vineyards it is – but there is sunshine pretty much all day every day. This gives a riper style of Sauvignon Blanc and this is where you get that incredible passionfruit filling your mouth so distinctly that sometimes you expect the glass to be bright yellow when you push it back from your lips!
Whitehaven is a premium example of that juicy Marlborough style and, as well as the passionfruit, you might taste grapefruit and guava too – the palate profile is firmly in the tropics. The finish really goes on and on, a hallmark of great quality wine, with a hint of flintiness or ‘minerality’ that makes an impression at the very end.
The small team behind Whitehaven is headed by Sue White, who is pursuing the dreams she shared with her late husband of winning global recognition for the Whitehaven brand. I hope they achieve it too, because they are committed to producing elegant, single varietal Marlborough wines, made with integrity and passion – which is most definitely what New Zealand’s wine industry should be celebrating.
If you’re a fan of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, I encourage you to step away from the huge brands and try a smaller producer. As well as getting the warm, fuzzy feelings of knowing you’re supporting a grass-roots, family-run winery, the wine stands to be of superior quality than a mass-produced product – I’d love to know what you think! It’s currently available at Ocado, Addison Wines and Ellis Wharton Wines. Cheers!