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The country is well-suited to producing Sauvignon blancs

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Most wine aficionados tend to overlook countries other than the obvious, but New Zealand has firmly stamped its mark with great Sauvignon Blancs.

In fact, the country is a home to what many wine critics consider the best Sauvignon Blanc in the world.

New Zealand is often lumped in with Australia, yet the twin islands lie some 1,250 miles southeast of Australia's shores. The North Island is famed for its volcanic mountains and its hot springs. The Southern Alps extend almost the entire length of the South Island, ending in deep fjords.

Though there are huge contrasts - from subtropical in the far north, to almost arctic in the highest areas of the south - New Zealand mostly enjoys a temperate, maritime climate. The sea has a strong influence on the country's vineyards, which are mostly coastal. Warmth and sunlight is plentiful during the day, whilst nights are cooled by sea breezes. Many areas benefit from a long ripening season, not unlike the vineyards of Alsace.

The grape which has really put New Zealand on the world map is the Sauvignon Blanc. Sauvignons, particularly from Marlborough on the northern tip of the South Island, burst onto the world stage in the 1990's.

The cool, maritime climate of the area allows for a long and steady growing season in which the grapes can ripen and develop a natural balance of acids and sugars. This brings out the flavors and intensity that distinguish New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs.

Dashwood wines have been around for more than 20 years now, the first vintage being way back in 1989. Along the way, Dashwood has collected trophies and gold medals, but what they are most proud of is the fact that Dashwood has built a reputation for offering great value wines that are packed full of flavor.

Dashwood Sauvignon Blanc is pale straw in color. The nose has stone fruit, citrus and fresh tropical notes that comes from the glass. The palate is expressive with stone fruit, citrus and fresh tropical flavors that linger on through the crisp finish. Vivaciously crisp, it showcases grapefruit, guava, lemongrass and tropical fruit flavors that linger through the refreshingly zesty finish.

This wine is best suited to asparagus and avocado. Shellfish and delicate white fish such as sole, skate and plaice are also perfect matches for this wine. Try it at Marco Prime with our oysters, any of the scallop dishes or simply as an aperitif.

Bon appetito and salute.

Adamo Serravalle is co-owner of Marco Prime and DaVinci’s restaurants, and is a wine connoisseur. Along with Laura Owen of CJ’s on the Bay and Marco Porto of chop239, he is a regular contributor to this column.

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