NO MATTER how hurtfully Australian wine producers may disparage New Zealand sauvignon blanc and lament their loss of market share to this all-consuming tsunami, it is all fair in wine and war. Marlborough sauvignon blanc sells because people like the way it tastes.
End of story.
We can argue and debate exactly why people enjoy it ’til the sheep come home, but you cannot dispute the democracy of popular taste.
Over many a Coopers Green Label in the back of Adelaide Hills wineries at smoko, the Aussie winemen and women may agree that residual sugar or clever marketing has hoodwinked the public. They may scoff that the herbaceous flavours are the result of unripe grapes and over-cropped vines. But the fact remains that it’s just as legit a wine as Clare Valley riesling, and people love it.
They love its pungency, yes, and that tropical, passionfruit, sweaty, grassy pungency is unmistakeable; distinctive; so obvious that it’s hard to mistake it for any other wine. Easy to identify. And people like that about it.
There is something magical about the intersection of climate, geology and the sauvignon blanc grapevine in Marlborough that’s resulted in a global phenomenon the likes of which the world has not seen before. Love it or hate it, it is real, and it’s here to stay.