Dave Edmonds of Nobilo Wines was just 15 years old when he knew he wanted to be a winemaker. He was actually born the same year the first sauvignon blanc grapes were planted in Marlborough, New Zealand, which he sees as a sign. “I’ve always had a natural affinity to whites, so I understand them. Sauvignon blanc is my passion.”
This past May, Nobilo launched its Regional Collection Sauvignon Blanc in Ontario. Recently, I had the pleasure of sampling this crisp wine — fresh notes of pineapple, passionfruit, melon and fruity flavours — and meeting Edmonds. I asked the New Zealand-native about food and sauvignon blanc pairings and the best way to store this popular white.
1. What makes the Marlborough climate so perfect for growing sauvignon blanc grapes?
Don’t tell anybody, but Marlborough is the easiest place in the world to be a winemaker — it has a large land mass, dry climate and has perfect growing conditions. People are coming to understand that there’s a variety of wine that suits a region best, and obviously we’ve found it with sauvignon blanc in Marlborough.
2. What is the best way to store sauvignon blanc?
We store sauvignon blanc at 13°C, but if you store it cooler it will last longer, which is part of the research we’ve been doing. So even if you want to store it at 5°C — that’s a great temperature to have it at. And if you buy a good bottle, you can just keep it in the fridge. With a screwcap, it will last for several years.
One trick that I use — I’m not sure what you call it, but it’s called a Soda Stream in New Zealand — I just give it a little squirt of gas. It’s carbon dioxide and it’s what we use in the winery to exclude air from the wine. So you can have a glass every day of the week if you look after your bottle of wine by keep it in the fridge with a little bit if COT.
3. What are the best food pairings for sauvignon blanc?
I love oysters. The juicy acidity of sauvignon blanc is kind of opposite to the richness of oysters. So having that bright, juicy acidity to cut through the richness of the oyster… I love that.
In New Zealand, our Christmas holiday is over summer, and we have all of the traditional stuff — we roast turkey, we have the ham — but it’s in the middle of summer, so not only are you full, but it’s 30°degrees outside! So you can’t have a buttery chardonnay with that — that will just tip you over the edge. The sauvignon blanc is a great wine to have to sort of juxtapose that really rich food. People also love to pair the wine with Pavlova, which is a classic pairing in New Zealand.
This interview has been edited and condensed.