Our New Zealand Tasting week kicked off on Friday in Majestic stores nationwide. We give the store teams a free hand to choose the wines they want to share with you. You’re sure to find some amazing Sauvignon Blancs, Pinot Noirs, and perhaps some Pinot Gris and Riesling open for you to enjoy.
Meanwhile, our Wine of the Week hails from the Leyda Valley in Chile. El Viajero Sauvignon Blanc is a cracker we picked out as a counterpoint to the explosive fruit of Marlborough wines. In fact, it’s much more akin to the wines of the Loire than to Marlborough. Where New Zealand tends towards big, bold citrus and tropical fruit (Robbie in our Aberdeen store famously described it as “Like being slapped in the face by a gooseberry bush”) this cool climate Chilean drop is more subtle. Citrus definitely, and a touch of apricot. It’s a nice halfway point in style between the delicate Loire and full-on Kiwi.
A big reason for that is the climate. Leyda Valley is south-west of Santiago, and the vineyards for El Viajero are only 10 miles from the coast. The Pacific Ocean has a cooling effect thanks to an ocean stream known as the Humboldt Current, so the winters are mild and the summers warm rather than hot – which Sauvignon Blanc loves.
Chile has long been recognised as a great spot for value; this wine shows that value can also mean great quality. A wine this good in the Loire would be twice the price.
Sauvignon Blanc is a natural pair for lighter dishes and salads, but the crisp character makes it a great foil for crumbly goat’s cheese as well. Or just pour a glass and enjoy.