Written by: Tim Edison

Updated: July 13, 2023

Matua Sauvignon Blanc Review

Do you want to learn more about the first Sauvignon Blanc made in New Zealand? Read more about the award-winning Matua and its winery here.

matua-sauvignon-blanc wine

If you’re partial to the crisp flavors of a Sauvignon Blanc, you might want to consider sampling a glass of Matua.

A Kiwi Sauv Blanc, Matua are the granddaddies of this wine in New Zealand. Decades on since they produced their first glass, they’re still going strong with bottle after bottle of this delicious white. 

But what exactly are you getting with the Matua? And does this Sauv Blanc have anything to offer over any other?

Here’s the lowdown on the Matua Sauvignon Blanc with everything you need to know. 

Innovation in New Zealand

Although Sauvignon Blanc is a long-established white wine drunk all over the world, it didn’t start being produced in New Zealand until 1974.

The creators of this very first Kiwi Sauv Blanc were none other than - yes, you guessed it! - Matua. All subsequent New Zealand wines which have followed since owe a great debt to this winery and their determination to join the market. 

The founders of Matua, Bill and Ross Spence, had a long and established history in wine-making with their family all involved in the business. As youngsters, they worked in their father’s winery before school and went on to study winemaking and viticulture. 


The family helped the brothers to set up their own winemaking business and in the 1960s, they spent a lot of time trialing different varieties of grape. Many didn’t prove to be a success but one that really took off was the Sauvignon Blanc. In 1969, the vineyard was planted in Auckland bringing Matua to life by the early 1970s. 

In 1974 the very first New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc was finally produced, with 400 bottles available for purchase. Over the years, the winery expanded and enjoyed huge success, moving to Marlborough where the Sauv Blanc is produced today. 

In 2001, one of the brothers, Ross, retired from the winemaking industry as Beringer-Blass Wine Estates agreed to invest in Matua. Bill chose to remain, eventually becoming Brand Ambassador, a role which he continues in to this day. 

Recommended Reading: Learn all about the infamous Apothic Red in our review.

Award-Winning White Wine

Being the very first is a great claim to fame, but it’s no testament to the current quality of the wine, nor does it give any indication whether it’s worth buying. However, the armful of awards that Matua has scooped is a different matter entirely. 

More than three decades after that first batch was produced, in 2012 Matua changed their branding to a teal label. This was to bring great luck as it also heralded the very first global prize for the company! At the London International Wine and Spirits Competition, Matua was named the winner of the New Zealand Producer of the Year. 

By 2015, Matua were dominating, holding Winemaker of the Year title for three consecutive years. This was to add to their 68 Gold medals and 16 trophies collected over a two-year period. Matua and its Sauvignon Blanc was officially considered to be one of the best. 


Recommended Next: We get deep with the 2017 Beaujolais. Was it a good year?

Sampling the Matua Sauvignon Blanc

To produce their 13% ABV Sauvignon Blanc, Matua use grapes from no fewer than 100 vineyards in the Wairau and Awatere Valley regions. As with most whites, it’s better chilled and Matua recommend chilling it for a minimum of 45 minutes first. 

Forgotten to chill the wine and worried about whether it’s cool enough to pour? Don’t worry, Matua have got you covered. On every bottle of wine, there’s a temperature-reactive snowflake. When this turns an icy blue color, you can serve up the Sauv Blanc with confidence. This type of clever gizmo isn’t common on wine bottles and it’s an impressive and thoughtful touch, typical of Matua’s ethos. 

The grapes for this wine are grown in conditions which are cool to moderate before being fully ripened by the sun. Before bottling, the wine is aged in stainless steel, a real departure from traditional methods. This special process developed by Matua is one of the reasons their Sauv Blanc is widely considered to be fresh and light on the palate. 


Before you savor that first inhalation of the Sauv Blanc aroma, take a moment or two to observe it in the glass. A beautiful pale white golden color, you should find the sides of the glass covered with little bubbles after the pour. Swirling the wine will reveal it’s a leggy vintage, with rapidly falling drips.


The lightness of this wine means that to get a full appreciation of its aroma, you’ll need to get up close and personal. Soft ripe fruits dominate, leaving the final impression of strawberry with a cantaloupe melon nose. Citrus comes through strongly too, creating a tropical blend which is refreshing and exotic. 

There’s no sharp alcohol aroma detectable, even with the largest breath in. 


A lemony tang is very evident in the flavor, with passionfruit and a background of gentle sweetness. Textural but light, it’s almost like sipping fresh air. There is a slight bite to the taste, adding a tartness which is noticeable but not overpowering. This acidity makes this wine ideal for coupling with rich, buttery dishes. 


The lasting impression from a mouthful of this Sauv Blanc is strong citrus flavors which cleanse the palate and leave you feeling refreshed. There are a decent amount of tannins and a finish which is long, but dry. 

To sum up…

Any Matua Sauvignon Blanc review is certain to be positive as this is a wine that’s guaranteed to universally please. It’s not difficult to see why this winery has won so many awards with its thoughtful and multi-faceted flavors which are complex and gently develop in the mouth.

Some Sauv Blanc varieties can be a little limp but that’s certainly not an accusation that could be leveled at this wine. Bold and with an appetizing flavor from start to finish, the Matua Valley Sauvignon Blanc offers great value for money with a surprisingly affordable price. 

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About the Author Tim Edison

Tim started Wine Turtle way back in 2015.
These days he contributes to Wine Turtle (and other renowned wine publications) while continuing his wine education.
Tim's wine of the month is the Coates & Seely Reserve Brut NV (from Hampshire, England).

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