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Sauvignon Blanc Global Masters 2014: The results

by admin / 2018-09-17 08:10 Click: Sauvignon Blanc is undoubtedly one of the biggest success stories for the wine industry in recent years. While Sancerre has long been a staple of fridges and wine lists around the world, the vivacious, aromatic expressions unleashed by the New World in particular have catapulted this grape variety to a whole new level of consumer awareness.

  Sauvignon Blanc Global Masters 2014: The results

The latest report to July 2014 from the Wine & Spirits Trade Association shows that, in the UK at least, Sauvignon Blanc remains on a firm upward trajectory. What’s more, commanding a well above average off-trade retail price of £6.08 per 75cl bottle (compared to £5.27 for Chardonnay), this is far more than just a volume driver.

As such, Sauvignon Blanc represented an obvious candidate for the latest extension to The Drinks Business Global Masters Series. What’s more, with no fewer than 17 different countries represented among the medallists, the blind tasting format flagged up both the high quality and truly international offer from this grape variety today.

About the competition

• The Global Sauvignon Blanc Masters is a competition created and run by the drinks business, and is an extension of its successful Global Masters series for major international varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.• With Sauvignon Blanc entries from around the world, in total nearly 150 wines were judged blind by a group of Masters of Wine and senior buyers

This diversity of origin extended right up to the very highest medal categories. While New Zealand scooped a predictably large proportion of gold medals awarded, it shared this podium with Spain, France, Australia, South Africa, Chile and the US. Meanwhile it was a Sauvignon Blanc from Spain – hardly the first place most people would associate with this grape – that took home the only Master of the competition.

Regardless of origin, the judges offered a clear view of what they look for from Sauvignon Blanc. “It needs to be alive, tight and mouth-watering,” summed up Sarah Knowles, buyer for The Wine Society. Expanding on this view, Clive Barlow MW, director of merchant and consultancy business Press Wine Services, remarked: “There always needs to be harmony between crisp acidity and fruit, whatever that fruit style may be.” Despite the proliferation of Sauvignon Blanc in the marketplace, he also warned: “It’s not a forgiving variety. You’ve got to be careful or you can lose some aromatics.”

SUCCESS STORIES

As the discussion developed, there was an acknowledgement of the significant impact that one country in particular has had on this variety’s profile. “New Zealand has been so successful it’s shaped the market,” remarked Barlow. However, he stopped short of suggesting that competitors need to pursue this country’s trademark highly aromatic expression in order to succeed. Rather, he continued, “New Zealand raised the profile of the variety. It made people realise there’s more out there and maybe helped to break that Pinot Grigio stranglehold.” In particular Barlow pointed to the boost this raised awareness has given to the Loire. “People know it’s not the New Zealand style but they’re still happy to buy it,” he reported. “New Zealand has moved people towards a grape that they might not otherwise have tried. The Loire is still the home of Sauvignon Blanc and sells really well.”

  Sauvignon Blanc Global Masters 2014: The results

Clem Yates MW

Despite the success of these two regions, for those in search of a bargain, Laithwaites’ global buyer & winemaker Robin Langton waved the flag for a completely different corner of the world. “New Zealand is still the category leader but Chile is better value for money,” he insisted. “Under £10 Chilean Sauvignon Blanc over-delivers quality to price.” For all this area of strength, that was not to suggest that the country should restrict its focus to the entry level. While Langton praised Leyda as offering “benchmark” expressions of Sauvignon Blanc, the competition also threw up a pleasant discovery for presenter and consultant Sam Caporn MW: “One real surprise was a 2006 Sauvignon from Chile that had passed the test of time really very well,” she reported.

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