A few observations from last weeks Fair.
Anyone who missed it lost out on a fine opportunity to see
Some fantastic wines OTHER than Sauvignon Blanc. I really do like some of their inexpensive Pinot Noir (c €14.00). Also, those brave enough to keep faith with Riesling should be rewarded and as for Frank Nobilo's 2004 Gisborne Vinoptima Gewurztraminer!!
A varied and truly interesting selection of Sauvignon Blanc styles. I can taste a lot of vineyard work now where I used to taste a lot of winery work! Herbal, mineral, tropical and reserved can now be added to my lexicon of New Zealand SB tasting terms. Most consumers won't like this change if its pushed out as a selling tool. It may seem strange but consumer taste profiles for most countries are a few years out of date! If this change in NZ is allowed to develop then I reckon consumer tastes will catch up allowing NZ to have a quality Sauvignon Blanc customer rather than the sheep it has nurtured for the past while.
A wine making nation promising us price increases following this years bonanza. I don't see this happening and so we will soon see brands positioning themselves to either be a quality offer or a price offer. If it's the latter it will be Sauvignon Blanc led (in a grassy, ripe style - and boring ) with some 'weak' other varietals in the brand portfolio: if it's the former then it will be defined Sauvignon Blanc showing cutting edge character - worth pouring. It will be accompanied by a portfolio of other varietals that will be hard to ignore.
An extraordinary, and I believe misplaced, belief in Pinot Gris. I don't see the aromatics or the potential of this grape in NZ. At best we will have a few wineries producing memorable wine. The rest will be victims to fashion. Wait until an America soap opera champions another grape variety!
I'm a fan. Bring on next years Fair already!
New Zealand worth pouring - no longer boring.