Bet you haven’t heard of Sauvignon Gris

Courtesy of our temperate climate here in the Top of The South, vineyards and therefore the products they create, seem to flourish.

When friends and family visit from far away, there’s nothing more enjoyable that driving around (with a designated driver of course) vineyards for a tasting, then dropping off for a light lunch to test out another sample combination of wine & food. It’s one of the great pleasures of living here in the Nelson / Marlborough district.

You could buy your own winery, shop for vines to grow in your own special spot or purchase in bulk.

Media reports in the last few days have shed light on a new wine that I’m sure not many have heard of. (although it did win a Silver Award at last weeks Christchurch Royal New Zealand Show 2009 in the International Aromatic Wine Competition)

In difference to what the name may suggest, this wine is not a blend.

Sauvignon Gris is a grape variety in itself.

So it comes as no surprise then, that the company that brought us Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 30 years ago, Montana, is launching this new wine for the first time in NZ, in Marlborough.

In commenting on the areas unique topography and climate, media reports quote Jeff Clarke, Montanas’ Chief Winemaker as saying;

“We are privileged to have access to the most diverse range of quality vineyards in the country, whereby we can trial and plant new and promising varieties in small numbers leading to new discoveries,”

And no doubt the alluival soils / old river beds scattered around the Top of the South combined with the regions acknowledgement that we have officially the “clearest water in the world” in our region, all add to the equation locally.

According to a press release on the Voxy News site;

Sauvignon Gris is a largely unknown, ancient grape variety native to the Bordeaux region of France, not a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris as might be expected.

It would seem that from reading between the lines though, that the wine actually does what its name suggests, in other words it actually does taste like what you could imagine a mix of those two would.

Gisborne Arneis 2008 was one of the three new wines released, ……another one I also hadn’t heard of before?

Like the Sauvignon Gris above that I haven’t seen on any local shop shelves yet ….

Arneis is a rare, though highly-prized variety originally from the Piedmont region of North Italy, a late ripener that demands time in the vineyard

Can’t wait to taste either. And blessed with the outstanding success that our Top of the South region has had with Sauvignon Blanc lets watch this one develop, because if the taste is as they describe, then I firmly believe they will be on to another winner.

In related news Nelson’s own Waimea Estates has just been awarded Blue-Gold (standing for Double Gold Awards that is) at this weeks Sydney International Wine Competition for not just one wine, but two. Waimea’s Chardonnay 2008 and Bolitho SV Pinot Noir 2007 were the ones that did it.

Waimea Estates Winemaker Mike Brown said the companies products have garnered 31 golds and 5 trophies across 6 wine styles – most of these in 2009 alone.

Nelson / Tasman / Marlborough ….its the lifestyle that counts.

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