Corkmaster: pole position in the white wine market

WINE EXPERT Bob Marshall looks at the competition for pole position in the wine white market

WINE EXPERT: Bob Marshall
WINE EXPERT: Bob Marshall

Sauvignon Blanc used to be the most popular choice in wine bars and restaurants – then Pinot Grigio came along and the battle for pole position started.

By this time Chardonnay had been relegated from top spot to somewhere near the back of the grid.

What is strange is the Pinot Grigio grape produces quite a bland wine with little flavour in the glass, whereas the Sauvignon Blanc grape is alive, fresh and dynamic with noticeable leading edge acidity.

At the moment these two totally different grapes are battling for top spot and nothing comes close.

Pinot Grigio, which translates as Grey Pinot, comes mainly from Italy and a few New World countries while Sauvignon Blanc is renowned from New Zealand but its spiritual home is France, especially the Loire and Bordeaux as well as Languedoc.

Sauvignon Blanc wines in general are not expensive and range from £5 to £20 per bottle for the top of the range kiwi called Cloudy Bay.

French sauvignons are about the same price spread, with the south of France offering great value for money and the Loire Valley offering premium prices for the highly pedigree Sancere and Pouilly Fume wines.

But coming up quick on the outside is Chile. The country has a fabulous climate and viticultural ability and is producing some fantastic Sauvignon Blanc wines.

Pinot Grigio is not left on the back seat either. Other than Italy, this grape is also grown in New Zealand and The Alsace region of south eastern France where it is known as Pinot Gris and costs around £10.

Pinot Gris from Alsace are truly brilliant wines and taste gorgeous with mineral notes and savoury aromas.

This is certainly the right time of year to enjoy these classic white wines and in all cases they should be enjoyed young and fresh and straight from the fridge, accompanied by cold meat slices and simply-mixed salads.

Bob from Winos.

Family business Saddleworth Wine Vault has access to more than to 3000 wines and 300 spirits. Visit them at 72 High Street, Uppermill, ring 01457 238924, email or visit their website:

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