New Zealand and Loire team up for Sauvignon Blanc showcase

New Zealand Winegrowers, Loire Valley and Centre Loire Wines joined forces for a joint celebration of the myriad wonders of Sauvignon Blanc today.

The London tasting marked the first time that the world’s two most famous Sauvignon Blanc producing regions have collaborated in the UK market.

The idea was spawned when Chris Stroud from New Zealand Winegrowers and Victoria Kukla from Sopexa, which represents the Loire generics, were drinking copious amounts of Sauvignon at the International Wine Challenge dinner.

Jamie Goode and Rebecca Gibb MW made the case for the regions at the tasting and the organisers were pleased with the turnout.

Kukla told DRN: “New Zealand and the Loire are always pitted against each other when it comes to Sauvignon Blanc. People have preconceptions about both regions, but Sauvignon Blanc has evolved so much and there’s so much talent working in New Zealand and going over to the Loire, and vice versa and we just felt that with this tasting we wanted to challenge all the preconceptions that people had.”

In blind tastings, several MWs and leading wine experts mistook New Zealand Sauvigons for Loire wines and vice versa.

“We wanted to show that there are exciting things going on with the same grape on opposite sides of the world,” added Kukla. “It has come out really positively, showing the distinction rather than pitting them against each other, because we’re all one big wine world.

“A lot of the producers from the Loire have been going to other regions. Henri Bourgeois has created some great Sancerre, but also some great Marlborough. It’s interesting to see the differences, and that people are collaborating.

“It really frustrates me that people talk about Old World and New World. It’s one wine world, because realistically nowadays a lot of them are going to work in different wine regions and sharing techniques.

“You are seeing it across the board in France, not just in the Loire. You’re seeing it in Beaujolais, in Chablis. In Burgundy they now have an internship where young winemakers go out to Central Otago.

“It’s interesting to see how they’re swapping talent. It’s very progressive.”

Related articles: