Grapes grow here!

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Grapes, growing up in the Netherlands, were a fruit of sunny Mediterranean holiday lunches. We would buy bunches on the roadside with some fresh bread, cheese and a piece of those beautiful dried sausages and have a picnic under large plantain trees in the middle of village square. We would have a proper siesta, letting the hottest part of the day go by, whilst munching on the sweet juicy grapes. I never thought then that growing them myself was ever going to be an option.

But of course in New Zealand, land of the most beautiful wines, grapes do grow! And even though I haven’t done so yet, I know I can grow them in my garden. Friends and neighbours definitely do! I still find it amazing to see these beautiful bunches grow in common gardens. It just looks so exotic to me.

Even better is to see the rolling hills of vineyards planted up, ready for harvest to make another year of their gorgeous juice: Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Malbec.. There are so many good wines to choose from here in New Zealand! It’s not a very old winemaking country, but gosh have they caught up with the rest of the world! I blame the clean air and the great balanced climate. If you haven’t tried, you really should!

Tonight I might just use the grapes I was given by a friend yesterday roasted with some onions, garlic and fresh salmon. And of course I’ll have a nice glass of Sauvignon Blanc with that!

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Successful sassy Sauvignon Blanc

Winning combo of NZ salmon and Sauvignon Blanc ,

Winning combo of NZ salmon and Sauvignon Blanc

I clearly remember my first glass of Sauvignon Blanc. And unfortunately I cannot admit to love at first sip. My first memories of a Sauvignon Blanc are of surprise. Surprise why anybody would prefer this grassy smelling lightly coloured liquid to the beautiful smooth red wines that I had grown up with.

NZ Sauvignon has only been around for the last 40 years, which is obviously a blip in time compared to some of the old European wine chateaux. The early NZ wine pioneers knew they had a great moderate climate to play with, but they had to start from scratch in a very small market. So with their sassy pioneer spirit and typical ‘make do’ Kiwi ingenuity, like stainless steel tanks and screw caps, Sauvignon became the typical NZ flavour that quickly established itself as the benchmark for this type of wine.

My first taste of Sav was a long time ago and luckily, I tried again. And this time, I was getting it. It might have been the combination with another NZ great, Marlborough Salmon that did it, but I was sold. In my last visit to the Netherlands, it was clear, I was not the only one that had fallen for it. NZ Sauvignon is now standard staple in many Dutch and other European and UK supermarkets. Little NZ conquering the world, what a great story!