New Zealand is home to what many wine critics consider the world’s best Sauvignon blanc. Oz Clarke, a well-known British wine critic wrote in the 1990s that New Zealand Sauvignon blanc was "arguably the best in the world" (Rachman). Historically, Sauvignon blanc has been used in many French regions in both AOC and Vin de Pays wine. The most famous had been France’s Sancerre. It is also the grape used to make Pouilly Fumé. Following Robert Mondavi's lead in renaming Californian Sauvignon blanc Fumé Blanc (partially in reference to Pouilly Fumé and partially to denote the smokiness of the wine produced due to flinty soil properties and partial oak barrel ageing) there was a trend for oaked Sauvignon blanc in New Zealand during the late 1980s. Later the fashion for strong oaky overtones and also the name waned. In the 1980s, wineries in New Zealand, especially in the Marlborough region, began producing outstanding, some critics said unforgettable, Sauvignon blanc. "New Zealand Sauvignon blanc is like a child who inherits the best of both parents—exotic aromas found in certain Sauvignon blancs from the New World and the pungency and limy acidity of an Old World Sauvignon blanc like Sancerre from the Loire Valley" (Oldman, p. 152). One critic said that drinking one's first New Zealand Sauvignon blanc was like having sex for the first time (Taber, p. 244). "No other region in the world can match Marlborough, the northeastern corner of New Zealand's South Island, which seems to be the best place in the world to grow Sauvignon blanc grapes" (Taber, p. 244).

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