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Ten New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc 2014 wines to try

Despite talk about Riesling coming back and ‘trendy’ varieties like Picpoul de Pinet and Fiano taking over from Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay in high street wine bars, Sauvignon Blanc is still a big hitter - and the most popular white wine variety in the UK. Here's 10 wines from New Zealand's 2014 vintage to try.

Marlborough vines

And you might not be surprised to know that New Zealand – the country that brought us ‘Brand Marlborough’ and Cloudy Bay – is still the country that UK wine drinkers look to first if they want a glass, representing 38% of all the Sauvignon Blanc sales, according to Nielsen data.

First planted in 1973 in Marlborough, today there are more than 20,000 hectares across the country, representing 72% of New Zealand’s wine production and an incredible 86% of bottles exported.

The early, high-yielding 2014 vintage was a tricky one thanks to a cooler than normal summer and late-season rains, with many of the wines lacking some concentration. So for those who normally shy away from the full-frontal tropical fruit assault of Kiwi Sauvignons, this may be your year to enjoy them.

The 10 wines below are all drinking well now and until 2018 or 2020.

Neudorf, Nelson
One of New Zealand’s most reliable names. This 2014 has a beautifully textured and rounded palate of guava, lemongrass and peach brightened by subtle toasty oak, leesy complexity and zingy acidity. Far removed from a stereotypical Kiwi Sauv Blanc, and one that will age well. Alc 13.5%
18.25 pts/20 (94/100)

UK stockist: £17.95 Fields Morris & Verdin

Te Whare Ra, Marlborough
Just 1,450 cases of this wine were made. Most of the fruit comes from the Awatere Valley sub region and 7% is barrel fermented, giving lovely structure and seriousness. It’s textural and bone-dry with fresh pineapple fruit and grassy notes backed by firm acidity. This will mature well. Alc 13%
18 pts/20 (93/100)
UK stockist: £20.95 Hallowed Ground

Matua, Single-Vineyard, Awatere Valley, Marlborough
This is Matua’s flagship Sauvignon Blanc from a range of wines created in 2011 to show off the individuality of the estate’s best sites. Dry but rich palate of gooseberry, ripe tropical fruit, smoky limes and herbs carried along by fresh, mineral acidity. Fine, pure and long. Alc 13%
17.75 pts/20 (92/100)
UK stockist: £23 Treasury Wine Estates

Auntsfield, Single-Vineyard, Southern Valleys, Marlborough
This estate boasts Marlborough’s first vineyard and winery, established in 1873. The organic vines for this wine were only planted in 1993, but winemaker Luc Cowley has coaxed out gentle passion fruit and pretty nectarine characters along with fresh citrus acidity. Balanced, weighty and textural. Alc 13%
17.5 pts/20 (91/100)
UK stockist: £13.75 New Generation Wines

Jackson Estate, Stich, Marlborough
Named for John Stichbury, the founder of Jackson Estate, 17 parcels of fruit were sourced from three sites across the region and aged on light lees, giving texture and depth but allowing the ripe passion fruit, citrus and stone fruit flavours to shine. Mineral and crisp. Alc 13%
17.5 pts/20 (91/100)
UK stockist: £14.99 Gonzalez Byass UK

Vidal, Reserve, Awatere Valley, Marlborough
An approachable, classic style of Marlborough Sauvignon from premium vineyard sites. It shows intense, ripe papaya and passion fruit cut with a citrus tang and fresh cleaning acidity, plus good weight and yeasty bite from a bit of lees ageing. Alc 13%
17.5 pts/20 (91/100)
UK stockist: £16 Hatch Mansfield

Greywacke, Marlborough
Pronounced ‘grey-wacky’ (and named after the rock in the soil), this is the solo venture from former Cloudy Bay chief winemaker Kevin Judd. It’s hard to live up to the great 2013, but this is still very fine, displaying melon and nectarine fruit, tart limey acidity, and a floral, nettley edge. Generous and long. Alc 13%
17.25 pts/20 (90+/100)
UK stockist: £16.99 Liberty Wines

Alana, Martinborough
This family-run boutique winery has a minimal-intervention approach in both vineyard and cellar and has produced a classically styled Sauvignon Blanc in 2014. It’s fine and dry but full of luscious stone fruit flavours, a refreshing line of acidity and the tang of natural yeast. Alc 13.5%
17 pts/20 (90/100)
UK stockist: £19.99 Fields Morris & Verdin

Babich Family Estates, Headwaters Organic, Wairau Valley, Marlborough
No gimmicks here: just organic fruit, crushed, pressed and fermented in stainless steel and then bottled. It’s a pure, firm and focused wine with a seam of acidity to enliven the zesty gooseberry, passion fruit, floral and grass notes. Well balanced and grippy – a nice food wine. Alc 13%
17 pts/20 (90/100)
UK stockist: £14.99 Bibendum

Villa Maria, Private Bin Lighter, Marlborough
For those looking for a low-alcohol wine option, Moscato, Kabinett Riesling or even a spritzer are usually the way to go. But if you must have New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, then this new line from stalwart Villa Maria is probably your best bet. Early-picked fruit is given more skin contact to add weight and there are pleasant flavours of nettles, melon and grassy herbs. Alc 9%
16 pts/20 (86/100)
UK stockist: £11.25 Hatch Mansfield

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Written by Tina Gellie

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