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Picking just the right time in New Zealand

It's all in the pick.

That's what's key in making a rock-star sauvignon blanc, according to Sam Small of New Zealand's Starborough.

"The most crucial thing is the timing of harvest," he said. "Too early and the wine is green, too late and you can lose flavor intensity."

Small is the chief winemaker behind our wine-of-the-week winner — the Starborough, 2013 Marlborough, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. It's a steal at $15 for those mad about New Zealand-style sauvignon blanc.

It's a racy, grassy sauvignon blanc that's edgy, with zesty notes of grapefruit, lime and that deliciously wicked jalape?.

Grooming grapes for this bottling requires precision, Small said.

"We select grapes from carefully managed vineyards that show not only varietal intensity but a great range of flavors," he said. "To do this, we have 34 different growers in all sub-regions of Marlborough."

This wine-growing region is located on the northern tip of the southern island, and today more than two-thirds of New Zealand's sauvignon blanc vines are grown there.

The hot summers and cool winters foster even ripening and stronger, vibrant fruit flavors, with crisp, balanced acidity levels.

Small said the growing region is key because it's essential to strike the right acid balance for this varietal.


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