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by Fred McMillin
Birth of a Blanc
Auckland, New Zealand, Feb. 19, 1974 International Wine and Food Society Dinner:
The lamb casserole with minted potatoes was delicious. My wife quickly acquired the recipe. It was accompied by a muscat-based wine named LEXIA, produced by Montana Wines. The dynamic firm was founded in 1944 by Dalmatian-born Ivan Yukich. His sons, Frank and Mate, now ran the show. We were told they had just taken a big risk. They had made a major investment in the untested Marlborough region, located on the northeastern tip of the South Island. Farther south than any successful Southern Hemisphere vineyards, it looked far too cool. So what was the outcome? (Note: At the time there were but 60 acres of Sauvignon Blanc in Australia, none in New Zealand.)
The Rest of the Story
Let's listen to America's foremost wine critic, Robert Parker, Jr., in his Buyer' Guide, 5th Edition, 1999.
Sauvignon Blanc elicits the most excitement of all New Zealand wines. They can be surprisingly rich, the best possessing a stunning midpalate and length. All you have to do is taste...a Montana Sauvignon Blanc to see that special wines can emerge from this varietal.
My panel just tasted one, a Montana Marlborough Blanc, our...
Wine of the Day
Name—Montana Wines "B" Brancott Estate Sauvignon
Postscript—You've Come a Long Way, Baby
At the time of our 1974 visit, the most widely-planted white wine grape was Baco 22A, a hybrid of the French Folle Blanche and the native American Noah. It was created in 1898 by French nurseryman Francois Baco to fight phylloxera. The most widely-planted red wine grape was another titan of the vineyard, the native American grape Albany Suprise!
This page created March 2000