Perhaps the primary beneficiary of this trend is Cloudy Bay, the first New Zealand winery to win international publicity for its Sauvignon Blanc, and that as a result has seen demand turn it into a hard-to-find item whose price tag has increased at my local retailer from around $14 for the 1995 vintage to $20 with the newly arrived 1999.
Still, many wine lovers will pay for it, and gladly, too, particularly since the 1999 vintage saw a general return to that wacky Marlborough style after an exceptionally warm 1998 that saw most wineries produced fatter, fruitier Sauvignons without the usual "greenness."
Here's my report on the 1999 Cloudy Bay, and on a widely available competitor that offers some of the same character for a significantly lower price:
Cloudy Bay 1999 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc ($19.99)
(For more on Cloudy Bay, see my July 1999 tasting notes on 1998 and 1997 Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc and another lower-priced competitor.)
Villa Maria 1999 Private Bin Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc ($11.99)
FOOD MATCH: Both wines went very well with a dinner created specifically to address their characteristic flavors: Veal chops pan-grilled with a lightly spicy velouté sauce flavored with jalapeño and chipotle peppers, and rice steamed with lemon and ginger.
These wines were featured in The 30 Second Wine Advisor, my free weekly E-mail bulletin of quick wine tips, advice and tasting notes. Click here to join the E-mail list!
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