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Wine of the Week for week ending 28 July 2002
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Montana Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2002
Marlborough, New Zealand

Wow! Smell the gooseberries, smell the herbaceousness, smell the tropical fruit - this is Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc as we know and love.

It's pungent as heck and very zesty, limey, spritzy and spicy with fabulous mouthfeel and vibrancy. It is ever so juicy too with hints of peach, pear, kiwifruit and chilli as well as the gooseberries and herbs. Then a gripping spicy green apple flavour that so reminds me of some of the grapes I tasted the day I visited the Marlborough sauvignon blanc vineyards at harvest (click here).

The year the wine has fantastic balance. Last year's wine, the 2001, the acid was too pointy for me - it stuck out like the knob on the end of a lemon. The balance in the 2002 is great.

Gosh, the pungency 'power drives' the finish, the flavours last for many minutes.

What more can I say! This is classic stuff!

I write this note in July 2002 so this is very young sauvignon blanc. From my experience the flavour profiles of sauvignon blanc change so rapidly in the bottle in the early months. Drink this wine young! Drink it now. It is just so deliciously enjoyable.

At the price and availability of this wine - recommended retail NZ$15.95 but a favourite with the supermarkets for 'specials' - it should be able to be found at a price that means easy replenishment for tasting over several months.

As producers rush to get their 2002 sauvignon blanc wines on to the market, some critics are saying the wines are being released too early just to catch-up on the shortfall in the market. However, I love the flavours of the new vintage and the Montana Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2002 is one wine that really shines.

There was only one problem - I found it quite difficult to get the cork out of the bottle. Montana, please change to screwcaps.

Montana is known as 'Brancott' in the North American market. The name comes from the Brancott Estate vineyard in Marlborough. The website is or click here specifically for more on this wine.

A note on kiwifruit: Cut a brown furry kiwifruit that is ripe but still firm and have a bite. It is full of delicious lime-like acidity and this is definitely one of the flavours I get in this wine. Yum!

© Sue Courtney

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