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New Zealand`s Stoke-by-Nayland

I have written about the success of the Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc brand, but it would be remiss of me not to mention the merits of the grape variety in other regions around the country.  Marlborough Sauvignon represents 56% of plantings as compared to just 11% grown elsewhere, but many of these are also excellent.  My absolute favourite is Nelson, located north west of Marlborough, on top of the South Island, where it sits in the cradle of picturesque Tasman Bay. Beautiful, tranquil Nelson, named in honour of British naval commander Admiral Horatio Nelson. It was a surprise to us, when we visited back in 2010, that Nelson has a `Stoke` and a `Nayland` in their city. On further investigation it turns out our local Suffolk village does, indeed, have an historic connection. British naval officer Captain Arthur Wakefield (1799-1843), born in Essex, helped found the new settlement at Nelson. Wakefield`s personal servant on the voyage was born in Stoke-by-Nayland so it is supposed that it was a nod to him; but the connection is deeper due to the influx of migrant workers which followed some years later, including fifty Stoke-by-Nayland residents and another forty from neighbouring parishes, who arrived at the new coastal settlement in search of a better life. Wakefield`s is a fascinating story, not least, because it was the time of Empire. But in fact, his work in New Zealand was after his service in the navy, working for The New Zealand Company. Historians, I recommend you look him up; his story makes terrific reading.  At any rate, it`s largely thanks to Wakefield that Nelson was born, and eventually Nelson Sauvignon Blanc. And due to Nelson`s stony, free-draining alluvial soils, its maritime climate, and high sunshine hours (the highest in all New Zealand), the wines are aromatic and fresh with bright, juicy acidity and tremendous purity of fruit. They are not unlike those of Marlborough, but stylistically, perhaps, more restrained. We stock Seifried Sauvignon Blanc, one of the best, for £16.99, with discounts available in-store through May. Cheers everyone!


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