To create different characteristics in New Zealand and Chile wines, winemakers harvest grapes at different stages of maturity. In New Zealand and Chile, the most immature grapes are concentrated, rich in malic acid. As the grape matures, red and green pepper flavors develop and the grapes eventually achieve a balance of sugars. The characteristic flavor of Sauvignon Blanc is due to the methoxypyrazines found in grapes grown in the Wairau Valley, in Marlborough. The levels of maturation in the vineyard are slightly uneven, which makes the resulting wine taste different.
The winemaking process can have a significant effect on the quality of the Sauvignon Blanc fruit. One of the decisions is whether the must should come into contact with the grape skins during fermentation. The first New Zealand wine industry consisted entirely of wineries from the South Island, which required the transportation of freshly harvested grapes to Auckland, on the North Island. In this way, the skin of the fruit came into greater contact with the grape juice and produced a more intense and bitter wine. In the Loire, some winemakers would intentionally leave some juice in contact with the skin of the grape and then mix it with another juice. California winemakers used to avoid contact with skins because of the lower aging potential of the resulting wine.
One of the most crucial decisions is the fermentation temperature. French winemakers prefer warm fermentations (around 16-18°C) that give rise to mineral flavors in wine. Winemakers in the New World prefer to cool wine slightly to produce fruity and more tropical flavors. A small but growing number of winemakers in the Loire are using malolactic fermentation,
which is more common in New Zealand wines. Aging in oak can increase the quality of wine. Oak provides flavors and softens the high natural acidity of grapes. New Zealand winemakers and those from Sancerre prefer stainless steel tanks for fermentation instead of barrels to maintain the freshness and intensity of their wine.
Sauvignon Blanc in Chile
This article examines the current situation of Sauvignon Blanc wines that are made in Chile, as well as the alterations in their manufacturing process that have occurred over the years. It provides a historical context that helps to understand this evolution and how it has affected the area where it occurs.
According to recent data, Sauvignon Blanc is the second most planted grape variety in Chile. However, this situation has only changed in recent decades as a result of the country’s viticultural evolution, which has gone from being a country focused solely on domestic sales to a nation with a clear export orientation.
The purpose of this presentation is to describe the effect that becoming an exporting country has had on Chilean Sauvignon Blanc viticulture and how the right terroirs for its production were determined.
Next article I will discuss the before and after of this strain in Chile. A hug and stay tuned to my posts, if you want to know more about the evolution of this delicious strain in Chile