Marlborough: A 'Wineland' Like No Other

     All wine drinkers experience it at some point: boredom with the same-old same-old.

     The cure for this affliction: a glass of wine with a ton of personality. And nothing fits that description better than Sauvignon Blanc from the Marlborough region of New Zealand.

     Marlborough is New Zealand’s largest and best known winegrowing region. It’s located in the northeast sector of the South Island, with the small city of Blenheim at the center.

     The adjacent Marlborough Sounds are known for their beauty and aquaculture farms, and also as the stopping off port (at Picton) for the ferry to the nation’s capital across Cook Strait, which separates the two main islands.

     The first Marlborough vines were planted in 1973, and Sauvignon Blanc wines from the region soon attracted global interest due to the pungent, zesty fruit aromas and flavors of the wine. Interest has continued to grow, and New Zealand’s Sauvignon Blanc from the Marlborough region is in demand worldwide.

     There now are three distinct growing areas, all with interesting, identifiable characteristics. The free-draining, alluvial loams over graveled sub-soils in the area provide ideal growing conditions.

     Land in the Wairau River Valley, the neighboring Awatere Valley and the gravels of the lower Wairau River in the Rapaura Road area was formerly used for orchards and pastoral farming, but over the last decade has been in high demand for conversion to vineyards.

     Sauvignon Blanc is the most widely planted variety in the region, followed by Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Riesling, in that order. Pinot Noir produced in the region is claiming attention and looks likely to become the second most popular variety over time.

Posted in Wine Region Profiles
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