Sauvignon blanc is generally regarded as a “drink now” wine. Australians love it, downing more New Zealand sauv blanc than any other white.
The Kiwi winery that started the craze, Cloudy Bay, celebrated the 30th anniversary of the wine that changed a nation’s drinking habits this year. The first Cloudy Bay sauvignon blanc was released in 1985.
The remarkable thing about this particular wine is that the team at the Malborough winery built it with longevity in mind.
Business Insider had the chance to try the 1995, 2001 and 2007 back vintages of the wine, which proved every bit as complex and interesting as an old Hunter Valley semillon.
The 2015 vintage was recently released and shows all the classic characteristics of a young sauvignon blanc — plenty of fresh citrus, with stonefruit on the palate and the acidity that helps the wine age so well. There’s even some Thai flavours in the 31st vintage, with kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass on the nose.
Business Insider had the chance to speak with Cloudy Bay’s viticulturist, Jim White, about aging sauvignon blanc.
The trick he says, is to make a wine that avoids the green and herbaceous flavours many associate with sauv blanc, to give it the aging potential. Even better, the wines are now under screw cap, which delivers consistency.
“Lovely, toasty, honeyed characteristics,” White says. “A touch of marmalade and lemon tart.”
The 2015 vintage has the potential to age for 15 to 20 years too, he says.
All that’s needed is patience on your part.
Here’s what White said:
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