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Orchard Lane Sauvignon Blanc

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Country/State New Zealand




Type Sauvignon Blanc

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I think I know something you may not about this New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc – that it’s actually handcrafted, environmentally sustainable, low-chemical-input farming, and light-touch winemaking “for the next generation” in the words of Kate Acland at the Sugar Loaf winery in Marlborough.

Now why the heck is that important?

Because most of New Zealand’s Sauvignon Blanc, which means most of its winemaking industry, isn’t this way at all. Here is how it happened:

Back about 30 years ago, Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand exploded into the international world of wine with wineries like Cloudy Bay and Kim Crawford. Before these places, nobody really bought New Zealand wine: Indeed, most of it wasn’t even exported. But then it became an international sensation and blew up.

Now blowing up as a business is great if you’re something manufactured like, say, White Claw. You can just take the ingredients and make more. But wine comes from grapes, which are fruits, so you have to grow them in ever-changing conditions. The solution in New Zealand was for large conglomerates to quickly plant massive tracts of high-input vineyards. And suddenly, the world was awash in bulk industrial juice. Indeed, of the 250 or so labels that now come to the U.S. as New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, less than 10% are from actual wineries.

Now none of that may matter to you. Light-touch, sustainable, organic, hand-crafting winemakers can certainly make bad wine as much as the next guy (or maybe you just don’t like a lot of jargon in your drink). But I would submit to you that you already know the difference between say, a great cappuccino made by a barista (annoying jargon for sure) and a cup of joe from the auto mechanic’s lounge. One is simply for maintenance, one is for a daily reward. And Kate Acland’s Sauvignon Blanc is thoroughly ready to reward you:

The nose opens with a gorgeously perfumed display of pink grapefruit, kiwi, and passion fruit aromas, almost like is the vision of a beautiful flower bouquet, but pleasing the olfactory senses instead of the eyes. Cascading onto the palate, the aromatic sense comes across with snappy and vivid freshness. It’s vibrant and frisky, but not tartly acidic or shrill. With a crisp finish, the wine offers a seamless drinking experience from the very first whiff to the final lingering finish. It’s a simple pleasure to drink this cheerful wine—exactly what you’d expect from great New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, but simply turned up to 11.

So what’s with the name? Well when Kate Acland was starting her winery in 2004, she wasn’t really thinking about exporting to the United States. And now she is. But unfortunately someone else already owns the name “Sugar Loaf” in the US, so a new sister label was developed – Orchard Lane. Same wine, different name.

Ok, I may actually know something else you don’t know about ALL New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs. You’ve heard that logistics are bad for pretty much everything, and prices are going up around the world for anything. Well, even more so in New Zealand. New Zealand is far enough away from pretty much everyone else that for almost two years, they’ve had a problem securing reefers. No, not the kind you roll and smoke, but rather the huge cargo containers that are air-conditioned to keep wine safe as it travels across the equator. It’s crazy to think about, but New Zealand’s been outta reefers for almost 720 days. So not only is this wine a great deal, but we were incredibly luck to secure it at all! Brighten up your summer imbibing.