Monday, February 21, 2022

Sunshine Bay 2021 Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough

Sometimes we drink glamorous wines and other times…

Living The High Life

One of my friends frequently expresses that he is envious of my role as a wine writer and a reviewer of some really great wines. How I wish his imaginings were true.

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We aren’t chauffeured around in a limo to a private jet that flies us to exclusive wine galas where ultra-premium wine flows like water. I don’t lounge around all day in a tuxedo sipping grower champagne from the finest crystal. If only.

While we do get to taste and write about some really wonderful wine, there are times when the Green Dragon roars and demands that we stock up on inexpensive, everyday vino. Her drink of choice while soaking in the tub is Sauvignon Blanc.

That brings us to our wine of the day: Sunshine Bay 2021 Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand’s Marlborough region. This fell into the shopping cart at Aldi. At $7.95, if it were a complete bomb, it wouldn’t be too much of a loss.

Three Winning Wine Regions

I put Marlborough in the same category as Willamette Valley in Oregon or Horse Heaven Hills in Washington. It’s not that they share similar climates or soil – but rather that just about every bottle that comes out of these regions is a winner. Marlborough has about two thirds of all the grapevines in New Zealand. Most of it is Sauvignon Blanc, but the region is also the largest grower of Pinot Noir in the country.

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Just like Provence locked into the flavor formula for rosé, New Zealand perfected the taste profile for Sauvignon Blanc that captured a massive world market. Sunshine Bay sticks to the playbook and has produced an entirely drinkable wine that differs little from wines two or three times the price.

This is a wine that doesn’t deceive the sniffer. One smell of the cut grass aroma tells you this will be a classic Marlborough Sauv Blanc. It’s pale straw in color and almost certainly is aged strictly in stainless steel to keep the fresh bouquet and bright flavors. On the palate, you get a heaping helping of acidity that combines with the grapefruit flavor to deliver the trademark zing. There are also some floating peach notes.

The body is medium with an ABV of 12.5% keeping things light and lively. It’s a dry wine but rewards you with some nice fruit. This works well on its own or is a fine pick with shellfish, barbeque chicken, or chicken fajitas.

Sunshine Bay is a steal at $7.95. If you are looking for different expressions of the Sauvignon Blanc grape, check out French Sancerre or California. Chile also has some unique tasting Sauvignon Blanc and is right-priced.

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