Why Noble Sauvignon Blanc should be in your glass this Christmas!
Noble Sauvignon Blanc, what exactly is this wine? And what’s so special about it?
When conditions are right, and by right, this is usually wrong for typical grape growing, Noble Sauvignon Blanc can be produced. At Marisco Vineyards, Sauvignon Blanc has been planted in the leigh of a hill and is shaded until mid-morning. This causes moisture to sit on the vines and fruit for an extended period of time. The fruit then dries out when the sun reaches the vines but come 4 o’clock, a heavy dew returns. This process repeats day after day and is the perfect growing conditions for ‘Botrytis Cinerea’ or the ‘noble rot’ - the fungus that can create a beautifully concentrated, sweet dessert wine.
So, if it’s a fungus, why is it so ‘noble’? In the case of grapes, Botrytis Cinerea infects healthy fruit, weakening the grape’s skin and accelerating the evaporation of water. Not only does this make the fruit start to shrivel and look like raisins, but the dehydration concentrates acidity while also intensifying the grape’s natural sweetness.
While traditional wines have a higher alcohol percentage, Marisco Vineyards’ have produced their sweet wines in a traditional Noble Sauvignon Blanc style to have a slightly lower alcohol while maintaining flavour and texture. The difficult growing conditions, winemaking process and limited volumes produced means that Noble Sauvignon Blanc in New Zealand is scarce and usually only hand sold through cellar doors, on-premise or available at select retailers.
Marisco Vineyards now make two dessert style sweet wines; The Ned Noble Sauvignon Blanc, made in a fresh, clean style and The King’s Series ‘A Sticky End’ Noble Sauvignon Blanc 2021, which is fermented in French oak (similar to styles from Sauterne in Bordeaux) and is richer and more complex.
While both of these dessert wines are a gorgeous, honey gold colour, over the last year, they’ve also seen their share of Gold Medals too! The Kings ‘A Sticky End’ 2021 and The Ned Noble Sauvignon Blanc 2021 were both awarded Gold Medals at the Marlborough Wine Show in October. The Ned was also awarded a Gold Medal and 95 points at the International Wine Challenge and 5 Stars by Sam Kim from Wine Orbit, while the ‘A Sticky End’ was awarded 5 Stars and 95 points by The Real Review.
Not only can these delicious wines be consumed after a meal paired with cheese and fruit, but sweet wines also work well at the start of the meal, especially the lighter-bodied The Ned. This can be served well-chilled as an aperitif to accompany pâté and dips.
However, heading into the Christmas season, these wines are perfect for your Christmas day treats! Try The King’s Series ‘A Sticky End’ with a fruit cake or your Christmas mince tarts. Or The Ned Noble Sauvignon Blanc with the kiwi classic – pavlova, or other fruit-based desserts.
Buy yours now at marisco.co.nz
Enter the dish tasting panel:
Bring on the Big Reds
Our next dish Tasting Panel will focus on New Zealand Reds . Results to be published in issue 115 of dish, on-sale 13 May 2024. Entries close on Wednesday 20th March. We'd love to see your wines so please enter here!