“Philosophy is like wine. There are good years and bad years but, in general, the older the better.”

Eric Weiner

Anyone for cat’s pee on a gooseberry bush? Yeah, it’s time we took another look at sauvignon blanc, a wine that can be refreshing, fruity, acidic, pungent, serious and fun.

Sauvignon's spiritual home is Sancerre in France but it’s far better known over the last couple of decades for one far-flung wine region and one innovating winemaker. The far-flung wine region is, of course, Marlborough in New Zealand where the winemakers of the 1980s took Sancerre's bone dry and often austere grape and tarted it up a bit.

While not quite the vinous equivalent of putting lipstick on a pig, the transformation was remarkable, with standout fruits on the nose and the kind of refreshing finish normally reserved for a cold shower. Nowadays, when we think of quality Sauvignon, Sancerre is often a distant second except for those with sadomasochistic palates.

The innovating winemaker was Robert Mondavi from the Napa Valley, who came up with the idea of oak ageing some parcels of sauvignon blanc to see if he could create a viable market for the variety. The oak changed the wine so dramatically that he coined a new name for it, Fume Blanc and then rather generously spread the knowledge among his neighbouring vineyards.

In one magic stoke of a barrel, Mondavi gave the Napa Valley its own style, which was as unique to it as South Africa's take on Chenin or Argentina's versions of malbec.

Nowadays good sauvignons can be found all over the world, but for me, none of them can match the uniquely aromatic, tropical fruit dominated versions from Marlborough where some of the vineyards such as Cloudy Bay have reached legendary status among wine lovers the world over. It seems that far from having a Gerald Ratner moment when its wines were famously described as having the aroma of cat's pee on a gooseberry bush, the region has held the quote up like a badge of honour and a mark of quality for other to aspire to!

Sancerre Blanc, Dom Clairneaux, Loire

A sharp, apple dominated aroma leading into a dry, crisp palate with hints of minerality and gooseberries.

Ten Acre Wines £19.95

Astrolabe Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough

Simon makes a more serious Sauv than most of his neighbours but it’s still unmistakably a Marlborough wine, it just adds body and attitude to the gorgeous fruit.

Waitrose £19.99