The 2009 Mohua Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand is a classic Marlborough expression of the varietal: pale platinum in color, delightfully crisp and redolent of grapefruit and gooseberry. Widely available at about $14.
Peregrine Winery's Mohua line, named after a rapidly vanishing bird native to the country's South Island, where Marlborough is located, also offers riesling, pinot gris and pinot noir. The grapes from which the wines are made are sustainably farmed and the winery contributes to projects intended to save the label's namesake in the wild.
The aroma of this wine is subtle and almost entirely astringent gooseberry. On the tongue, however, the gooseberry is subordinate to the lively snap of grapefruit abetted by grassy grace notes and hints of lime, honeydew and white nectarine, an ambrosial harmony of flavors. The whole profile is underpinned by a nearly flinty minerality, which contributes substantially to a long, dry and refreshing finish.
Grilled fish is a natural pairing with Marlborough sauv blancs, of course, but it also makes an exceptional aperitif, clearing the palate for whatever food and wine may follow. It would be yummy with a fresh fruit salad crowned with creamy goat cheese, too.
By Colette and John Bancroft. She is the Times' book editor, and he is a freelance writer specializing in food, wine and travel.