Carolina Wine Merchants

Loving NZ Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc All over Again

Let’s face it…there are a LOT of Sauvignon Blancs out there from the famous Marlborough region in New Zealand. A few really good ones (but pricey) and then many that are just average at best. I find way too many of them to be very acidic and unbalanced having a very narrow focus on flavor….mainly one dimensional “grapefruit” flavors.

And then steps in the Makara Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc and that changes everything for me. Truly outstanding and the best I’ve had that I can recall at its very generous price point. The key is that the fruit is being sourced from two very different Valley’s within Marlborough. This leads to a more complex and balanced wine.

Grapes from the Wairau Valley adds the flavor of passion fruit, gooseberry, grapefruit and very tropical fruits. While the grapes from the Awatere Valley have characteristics resembling the famous Sauv Blancs of Sancerre in style contributing a crispness, and minerality.

Just outstanding! These two valleys combined make the Makara the best New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc under $20 out there IMO.

2016 Makara Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc - $16.99 btl / $14.99 Solid Case

Makara Sauvignon Blanc, offering extraordinary quality at an exceptional value, is sourced from two valleys within the Marlborough wine region, which is renowned the world over for its outstanding flavor characteristics.

 2015 Mulderbosch Western Cape Sauvignon Blanc - $17.99 / $13.99 Case

Antonio Galloni 93 Points

“Bright, light yellow. Alluring scents of fresh peach, gooseberry, nettles, white pepper, citrus pith and flinty minerality; time-capsule Sauvignon Blanc aromas from a great vintage. Rich, smooth and substantial but with perfectly integrated acidity giving definition and punch to its fruit and mineral flavors. This cuvee includes a good percentage of cool-climate fruit in 2015, which contributes to the wine's density and verve. Amazingly rich yet pungent Sauvignon Blanc with terrific purity and slowly rising length. Delicious now but I'd love to see this in its dotage.”

2014 Tapiz Alta Collection Cabernet Sauvignon Mendoza –

Reg. $19.99 / $16.98 Case

Tapiz is one of the most renowned and awarded Argentine wineries, made even more famous by the addition of winemaker Jean Claude Berrouet in 2012, recently-retired from Petrus after 44 vintages at the revered Bordeaux chateau. To celebrate his addition to the team, Tapiz created a new "Alta Collection" line of wines using fruit that comes solely from Tapiz's sustainably-farmed San Pablo vineyard in the Uco Valley. San Pablo is one of the highest altitude vineyards in Mendoza (4,600 feet above sea level). This extreme altitude provides for warm days which impart concentration to the grapes, and cold nights which give natural acidity.”

James Suckling 96 Points

"A wine with lots of depth and fruit now with dark berry and dark chocolate character. Full body, velvety tannins and a long and flavorful finish. So much here. Give it four to five years bottle age. Great wine."

2016 Quinta De Chocapalha Arinto - $12.99

This local white from Portugal is a bargain! Crisp lemony limey notes are punctuated by a stony minerality. Bone dry and zippy, this soulful little bottle is perfectly suited to pair with the white fish/shellfish type and an equally well qualified patio-pounder. One of my “pick section's” best kept secrets.

Arinto (or Pederna) is a white wine grape variety grown in the hot wine regions surrounding Lisbon on the central coast of Portugal. The variety's naturally high acid content makes it well suited to this region, where varieties with less-robust acid structures struggle to retain sufficient acidity in the hot, humid climate.

Arinto covers the citric fruit spectrum, led primarily by lemon and grapefruit. It can also show various stonefruit characteristics and can take on rich peach flavors when aged.

Wine Advocate 91 Points

“The 2016 Arinto, sourced from 30-year-old vines, is the latest in a brand that is one of my favorite overachievers from Chocapalha. It comes in at 12.5% alcohol. This is another fine one. It has excellent acidity but a bit more depth than the 2015, if not quite its laser burst of acidity. All unoaked, it is pure and fresh, with the ability to age. (Tasting the 2008 next to it proved that, by the way.) The acidity of this grape is always a preservative and it ages well in many regions. If you like them lighter in style and crispy, this is a great warm-weather choice at a bargain price.”





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