Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc - or bargain or not?

The Marlborough region in New Zealand can rightly claim to be one of the wine world’s success stories in the past decade. Success often brings problems though, and expansion through increased plantings over the years has resulted in a record-breaking harvest in 2009. How can a better harvest be a problem you may ask? Well the yield in 2009 was roughly in line with that of 2008, which was also record-breaking, and a whopping 39% up on 2007. As a result, Marlborough had an over-supply problem, and we have seen the results in the UK with NZ winegrowers wanting to clear their tanks and selling a lot of their wine in bulk.

Pop into any UK supermarket at the moment and you will see Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc wines on promotion at hitherto seen low prices. However, take a closer look. Tesco has Wairau Cove at £4.99, reduced from £9.99; Sainsbury’s has Milford Point and Makutu, both offered on “half-price deals” at £4.49, reduced from £9.99. Morrison’s have Okiwi Bay and Crux, though when I called at my local branch they were at £9.99 – though there is no doubt that they have been, or will be, sold at £4.49/£4.99 at sometime. Bargain Booze and Asda have similar “offers”.

What connects all these wines is that they are on totally false promotions. They would have course have to have been sold at the “original price” at some time, somewhere, to comply with the law, but don’t be misled, these wines were bought to be sold at the “promotional price”. If that’s not bad enough, those that have paid the so-called original price will have been cruelly ripped off.

What is also common with these “manufactured brands” is that all the wine for them was shipped in bulk containers and bottled in the UK. Whilst this fairly common practice is suitable for everyday, drinking plonk, there are those in the trade who would suggest that the very best wines should be bottled on the estate or at least in the area of production. It would also be logical to assume that these bulk wine shipments, made to reduce the overall juice held in New Zealand, would not have been of the very best production.

Marlborough is similar to most other wine regions of the world, in that there are sub-regions where the topography, soil conditions, and micro-climate (what the French call Terroir) combine to produce grapes, and therefore wines, of a higher quality than those from the general area. All the best-known and respected brand names select their fruit from the very best of these top vineyards.

So, would you rather pay around £5 for a wine of lesser quality, that has been bulk-shipped and then bottled in Manchester or Essex, or pay that little bit extra for a multi award-winning wine of known provenance. What is more, this branded wine is offering considerable genuine savings on its original selling price.

Check out the current offer on Waipara Hills Sauvignon Blanc on our website www.binendwines.co.uk where you can buy this highly rated wine at a price equating to just £6.63.

1 comment:

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