Sauvignon Blanc. It’s the wine people turn to again and again because they enjoy it and it’s a safe bet, but why is it so popular?
Go into any wine merchant or supermarket in practically any developed country in the world and you’ll find dozens of Sauvignon Blanc options but it wasn’t always like this.
Before the 1980s, Sauvignon Blanc was a variety that featured rarely in the world’s top wines but today it’s a staple. Can you imagine a world without Sauvignon Blanc? So what happened?
Well, we have New Zealand to thank for its popularity today. Surprising perhaps that a relatively young wine-producing nation could have almost single-handedly changed our wine tastes, but it’s absolutely true.
Pre-1980s, none of the big French wine producers paid any attention to Sauvignon Blanc. They didn’t need to. It was of course a component of white Bordeaux but that was about as far as its use went.
Then those crafty Kiwis, without much fanfare, started producing incredible wines using Sauvignon Blanc. The New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc options were out of this world; they were bold and refreshing and suddenly everybody was hunting out the variety.
And like in any industry, when people demand something new, the producers have to stand up and listen. That’s exactly what happened.
The world’s wine producers got themselves in a bit of a tizz about Sauvignon Blanc and after some rushed experiments, most of them were producing fantastic wines with this new-fangled variety.
By the time we were approaching the nineties, South Africa and Chile in particular were producing some unbelievably good Sauvignon Blanc wines.
Bordeaux even stood up and took note of what was happening and started producing Sauvignon Blanc wines with a definite Kiwi accent.
Yes, little old New Zealand, quite by accident, had started a wine revolution that the whole world wanted to be in on.
The interesting thing about the evolution of this story is that since those heady days in the 80s and 90s, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc wines have come in for some pretty tough criticism.
Many connoisseurs have accused New Zealand of “dumbing down” their Sauvignon Blanc to appeal to a broader market. Is that unfair? Probably, because there are still many fantastic New Zealand Sauvs to enjoy.
It’s too simplistic to say that New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc isn’t as good as it used to be although there are examples that back up that statement.
We at Lockett Bros love New Zealand and its wines so we will always be staunch supporters of them and we are pretty proud of the range of Kiwi beauties we have in store.
The next time you and your friends are pondering your Sauvignon Blanc choice, you can enlighten them to the fact that if it weren’t for New Zealand you probably wouldn’t be drinking it at all!
Want to know more about Sauvignon Blanc? Great! Visit the Lockett Bros team at 133 High Street, North Berwick or log on to the website.
Lockett Brothers are an independent wine and whisky merchants based in North Berwick, East Lothian.