By Andy Young
With the release of GR9, a 96 point Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, Dan Murphy's has told TheShout that the variety and its cleanskin range are still very popular.
The GR9 is part of the Dan Murphy's cleanskin range and Peter Nixon, the head of Dan Murphy's wine panel said that the chance to stock this wine, which is produced by one of Marlborough's most highly regarded winemakers, was too good to miss. He also said an increase in global demand could put pressure on prices in Australia.
Nixon said: "At the International Sauvignon Blanc symposium in New Zealand recently they were talking about key markets and saying that North America has started to wake up to Marlborough Sauv Blanc and so demand there is taking off rapidly. So with Canada and the US in the mix we expect good value Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc to be harded to come by. The prices have been very reasonable in Australia over the last five to 10 years and I think that scenario is about to change. So when we saw a Sauvignon Blanc opportunity like this one come up, we thought we better jump on this one.
"This isn't your everyday pantry-filler, this is a top-notch, premium Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, a wine which is as much about texture and minerality as it is impressive fruit intensity."
In terms of which wines Dan Murphy's will stock in its GR range, Nixon told TheShout: "We don't have a hard and fast rule about how many we'll have every year, but it has got to be exceptional value. Then we get behind them and make sure that people get excited about them and jump on them because they are only available for a short time."
Speaking about the 96 out of 100 score for the wine, Nixon told TheShout: "The score was given by our panel, which is not an independent panel, but it is made up of people who have significant international wine judging experience. We're not independent but we do represent our customers, so in our minds we are always thinking about what our customers will think of the wine. They are our most important critics.
"The wine show system has two classes, it has a premium wine class and a value wine class and this is a score that I would stand by in the premium class. It's the sort of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc that I would be very happy to drink."
And regarding the popularity of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, Nixon added: "Marlborough Sauv Blanc is still the number one selling white wine in Australia, there is still huge demand. People ask if it is still growing, well we are still seeing growth in Sauv Blanc and what we are starting to see now is premiumisation in Sauv Blanc. People are starting to spend up and they are seeing good quality. But of course people do still love a bargain, so when they see premium quality Sauv Blanc at a value price point like this, they will jump on board.
"But the white wine of the moment is still very much Marlborough Sauv Blanc and the red is still South Australian Shiraz, from the Barossa in particular. But what I anticipate over the next 10 years is more diversification and people will increase their repertoire of styles."
So what will be the next big thing after Marlborough Sauv Blanc? Nixon told TheShout: "I think it is going to dry, pale roses, those delicate styles that are delicious on their own and are an excellent aperitif wine, or Prosecco. Those two styles will be the big competition for Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc over the next 10 years."
The GR9 Sauvignon Blanc is now available to customers at $50 for six bottles or $9 per bottle.