The Vavasour family sold their grapes in Marlborough, New Zealand, for 100 years before Louis Vavasour built their first winery. With a century of experience, it's no wonder his wines were so spectacular. When you're farming the same land for that long a period, you get to know it well, if not better, than your own offspring.
Savee is in the Awatere region of Marlborough, where grapes were first planted in 1973. Few people predicted that the region would become New Zealand's largest and best-known area for Sauvignon Blanc in little more than 20 years. The distinctive pungency and zesty fruit flavors of the first wines captured the imagination of the country's winemakers and wine drinkers alike and sparked an unparalleled boom in vineyard development.
However, it was some ten years ago that the Wine of the Month Club discovered something that shocked us. As good as their Sauvignon Blancs were and for as well as they were received, it's their Pinot Gris that knocked us on our heels.
Pinot Gris is grown extensively in the Alsace region of France, where it accounts for some of the finest white wines made there. In Italy, it is known as Pinot Grigio and is grown in almost every province where it usually makes delicious everyday wines with few exceptions. Awatere's Pinot Gris is closer to the Alsace version. It's penetrating kiwi and guava flavors, and bright apple component is just what is needed with black cod in a miso sake broth or a spicy shrimp pasta.