Written on: 13/03/2013 by Perrypatetic
What's happening to Marlborough sauvignon blanc is what happened to rioja, and Italian pinot grigio, and others, and will presumably befall Argentinian malbec. It got popular and fashionable, the supermarkets forced down the prices to meet demand, and you got a new wave of cheap and (almost) nasty wines. A year ago, I would have said that I'd never had a bottle of poor Marlborough sauvignon. Now, they're everywhere. The good stuff is still out there, of course, but it's got rather expensive, hence the new stuff which is not in the same league, pricewise or qualitywise. Makutu Bay is typical of this new stuff.
A few years ago when I was in NZ, I criticised a Marlborough producer to his face, telling him that NZ should concentrate on quality and not on price. He replied something like "would love to, mate, but the UK supermarkets have the whip hand and they force our prices down, and with it, the quality."
You can tell Makutu Bay won't be much good by looking at the label. "Imported by and bottled by P&B Wines (followed by a postcode)." Who on earth is P&B wines (no web site - would someone like to tell me?). This wording presumably means it is imported in bulk, probably in steel tanks, and then bottled in Surrey. Decent NZ wine is bottled in NZ.
But if it's "half price" at £4.99 or something, it's good value compared with other £4.99 wines. But "half price"? Nobody in their right mind would have paid £9.98 for it.
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