The Marlborough Region

The home of New Zealand’s flagship variety Sauvignon Blanc, although other varieties are starting to flourish in this cooler climate region.

Key Marlborough Grape Varieties
  • Sauvignon Blanc
  • Pinot Gris
  • Riesling
  • Chardonnay
  • Pinot Noir

Facts about Marlborough Region Wines

Over 85% of Marlborough’s wine production is Sauvignon Blanc.

Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are also grown here, in very small quantities, and often found in sparkling wines rather than still.

Grapes grow so well in this climate because of diurnal range, this means long hot days combine with cool nights to balance the growing environment for the grapes.

New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is much more expressive than wines from classical regions such as the Loire Valley in France. New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc often shows very pronounced overripe tropical flavours and tomato stalks, they are also very high in acidity, and can be very dry.
Oaked Sauvignon! Some producers are now experimenting with oaking this variety. They are a stunning alternative to a fine white Burgundy or oaked Sancerre so look out for Churton’s Best End and Dog Point’s Section 94.

Classifications (the technical bit)

New Zealand are a little behind the trend with classifications as it wasn’t until 2007 that legislation was passed to make sure labelling laws came into place. These laws ensure that 85% of wine is from the grape variety, origin and vintage stated on the bottle.

Hennings Wine says

Sauvignon Blanc can be a bit of a marmite wine, but there is more to Marlborough so don’t be afraid to experiment. If you’re a Sauvignon Blanc fan there are a multitude of winemakers and price brackets to choose from but if you fancy something a little different hunt out a Pinot Gris, this variety couldn’t be further from a classic Sauvignon Blanc style so give it a try!

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