New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is a wine with a particular style. It is quite recognisable with vibrant powerful flavours but I personally find it seems to have certain characteristics that whilst pleasant are often overpowering meaning little variation between the wines. For this reason it’s often a wine that I pass over when perusing the shelves of my local wine store. Not because I don’t like it, but because it seems boring and unsurprising to me, like I know how the wine will taste before ever opening the bottle. So when recommended by my local wine merchant to try this bottle in an attempt to educate my naivety I hesitantly accepted his challenge.
The Domain Road vineyards are located in the Central Otago region of New Zealand, which is also the most southerly wine producing region in the world. Better known for its red Pinot Noir wines this region has some of the highest altitude vineyards in New Zealand and microclimate characterised by hot, dry summers, short, cool autumns and crisp, cold winters. Domain Road is situated in Bannockburn (in Central Otaga) which was the centre of a gold rush in the second half of the 19th century and the vineyards are still believed to contain gold. But is it of liquid variety?
The wine has a very pale, crisp and clear appearance almost like tainted white gold in fact. On the nose you get gooseberries and passion fruit as well as white flowers and a refreshing salty, sea air aroma. Tasting you get the typical flavours of kiwi, gooseberry and lime that are common in New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc but they are more subtle than in some similar wines (especially the vibrant and powerful Marlborough ones). This subtlety allows for other flavour expressions to emerge. Flavours more typical of French whites such as Chablis or those from the Loire Valley whites. Those white flowers I could smell on the nose and a slatey minerality feel more familiar from a Sancerre or Pouilly Fume. The palate has good length as is often the case with this style of wine with flavours lingering on long after swallowing.
Overall this wine is a well balanced and delicate execution of a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc remaining true to its roots but not blinkered. A more subtle and complex profile giving it maturity to complement the usual bold and expressive flavours. It reminds me very much of one of my other favourite New Zealand Savignon Blancs, Greywacke, (a fantastic wine produced by Kevin Judd) but at nearly half the cost, this Domain Road bottle is excellent value for money and is likely to be purchased far more frequently by me. This wine has then opened my eyes to a wine I thought I knew and reminded me not to pre-judge or naively ignore but to revisit old friends and foes.
- Price: £12-16 a bottle
- Producer: Domain Road
- Origin: Bannockburn, Central Otago, New Zealand
- Style: Crisp, light and refreshing NZSB with a French Loire Valley twist.
- Food Pairing: Seafood, and chicken dishes, particularly barbecued or flavoured with citrus fruits.