Some say that the grapes are trodden by the feet of hobbits. Others that it is simply made with their pee.
What can’t be explained what magic has been invoked to make a New Zealand wine has become the most popular quaff of the Aussie – Oyster Bay sauvignon blanc from the Marlborough region.
Marlborough sauvignon blanc is becoming more popular by the day. In 2008 sales increased by 52.3% in 2008 and 143% in the last two months of 2008 when it accounted for 42% of the 65 million litres imported.
And half of all imports into Australia are from New Zealand
For years it has quite possibly more than an urban myth that there are more New Zealanders in Australia than in their homeland. I now wonder if in fact we could find ourselves in a similar situation with Kiwi wine.
A while ago at The Prince wine store in St Kilda the wine fridge was stuffed with sauv blanc and I was forced elsewhere for my last minute shopping.
What I see is the growth of a generic style of wine into a bubble that hopefully will burst – much as it did for that awful oaky labrador yellow chardonnay that was once in fashion.
Fortunately, we have a new Prime Minister Kevin Rudd who already is showing signs of invoking Howard-style Aussie nationalism. To people who like this style of politician he has already proved himself to be a perceptive art critic who knows when artistic genius may just be a bit dodgy.
I believe, with my tongue firmly planted in my Riedel Vinum sauvignon blanc tasting glass, that perhaps it is time for the Prime Minister also to speak out as a wine critic.
It’s time for him to wrap the proverbial Aussie flag around his shoulders and tell the world why we shouldn’t be drinking Oyster Bay sauvignon blanc and save the troubled local wine industry.
Here, as an unashamed wine snob, are my suggestions. And I would welcome yours in comments.
1. It’s fruity flavour tastes like Starburst (weren’t they better as plain old Opal Fruits) with a bite of lemon acid afterwards.
3. Oyster Bay is a caricature of a sauvignon blanc with its bold tropical fruity flavour and acid.
4. It way well be grown in Marlborough but really reflects the terroir of stainless steel.
5. It’s not really a wine but a stepping stone from alcopops and sweet cocktails to wine. Try something like a pinot gris instead or if you have a sweet tooth a local slightly fizzy Moscato (the Brown Brothers is great value at $15).
6. It is difficult to find any food that this wine does not overshadow (apart from a Big Mac).
7. If you do order it in a restaurant you will be ripped off because the owner knows it will be a popular choice and therefore will fatten their margins by charging extra for it. (Best to avoid any restaurant with Oyster Bay sauv blanc on the menu to be honest).
8. If I were to match it with anything it would be the TV show Desperate Housewives (which, of course, I have never watched) or Ladette to Lady.
9. Okay it’s been reviewed by the big name critics who use their words carefully. Technically the wine may have no obvious imperfections but it’s still a big tropical fruit acid bomb.
10. You can buy it for under $17 but there are so many Australian alternatives available for much less – less than $10 in Dan Murphy’s (try any Yalumba, the sauvignon blanc if you have to)
11. Alternatively, dare I say, try a Sancerre. Now that’s what I would call a sauvignon blanc if it wasn’t unAustralian.
Coming soon: my frugal quality Australian wine dozen.