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THE warm weather here in Blighty might have put a spring in your step, but if you really want to celebrate it, make your way over to the other side of the world.

The clean taste of a New Zealand sauvignon blanc, and its herbaceous, flavoursome white grape, is perfectly in tune with this time of year, and the harvest there is just getting under way.

Judging by their own weather conditions, Kiwi wineries opening their cellar doors will have plenty to celebrate, too.

"The weather in the past month in key growing areas has been absolutely fantastic so the outlook from a wine quality perspective is, at this stage, looking great," says Chris Stroud, marketing manager Europe, New Zealand Winegrowers. And we are looking positively towards a good quality harvest in all regions."

Warm, sunny days and cool nights produce a crisp style which can veer from uber-tropical to limey and pungent, and thanks to prized weather conditions last year, 2013 is considered a high quality vintage.

Marlborough on the northern tip of the South Island is the country's most famous wine region and leading producer Wither Hills have teamed up with Asda to make their Extra Special New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand 2013 (PS7.48, Asda). A great value savvy blanc, it's fruit forward with generous guava and tingling gooseberry, a touch of freshly cut grass and hints of passion fruit on the finish.

Giant producer, Indevin, make Sainsbury's Winemakers' Selection Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand (PS7, Sainsbury's) which is flowing with gooseberry and herbal aromatics, and a splash of chardonnay controls the zingy flavours and brings some ripeness to the wine.

Another team effort, The Society's New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc 2013, New Zealand (PS9.50, www.thewinesociety.com) is a collaboration between the Wine Society and Villa Maria, the country's most awarded winery.

Concentrated and herbaceous with a good balance of flavours and crisp acidity, it's versatile, vibrant, and very easy to drink.

Elsewhere, Yealands Estate aspire to create the world's most environmentallyfriendly wines and the subtle twang of flavours in Peter Yealands Sauvignon Blanc 2013, Marlborough, New Zealand (PS9.99, Sainsbury's) certainly taste harmonious. Refreshing and minerally with ripe stone fruits and a limey, tropical fruit finish.

Their chief winemaker - Tamra Washington - also oversees The Crossings label, a key brand in the Yealands portfolio, and expresses similar big green flavours in The Crossings Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough 2013, New Zealand (PS9.98, www.thedrinkshop.com).
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Geographic Code:8NEWZ
Date:Mar 21, 2014
Words:409
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