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  • Jancis Robinson
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  • Jancis Robinson
20 Mar 2009

Some time towards the end of last year, someone wrote to me asking whether I would write an article that listed the trailblazing visionaries in various parts of the wine world.I started to research the topic, asking various people around the world for their thoughts, and finally started to write it earlier this week (first two paragraphs below) when I felt a nagging sense of déjà lu. Sure enough, putting 'Hohnen' and 'Catena' together in the search box to the right yielded an article written in 2001 called ... Trailblazing visionaries.  (Nicolas Catena, pictured here with his daughter Laura, is this year's Decanter Man of the Year.)

Now I cannot find the details of my original correspondent, who may just have been teasing me for all I know. But if by any chance you are reading this, the answer lies above rather than below. (Not least because the helpful emails in answer to my exploratory questions last autumn seem to have disappeared, along with your original query/suggestion.)

Earlier this year Pernod Ricard, owners of the dominant wine company in New Zealand, invited interested parties from all over the globe to Marlborough to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Montana Sauvignon Blanc. This was by way of establishing very firmly that they pioneered the world-beating combination of Sauvignon Blanc and the northern tip of New Zealand's South Island.

I was asked recently to come up with a list of 'trailblazing visionaries' in the world of wine. So would Montana, now sold in the US as Brancott Estate to avoid confusion with the American state, count as the trailblazing visionary of the New Zealand wine business? I would argue not. Trailblazing, yes, but visionary, no. It took the visiting Australian David Hohnen of Cape Mentelle in Margaret River to have the vision of what New Zealand Sauvignon could become. He came, he saw, he tasted, he met winemaker Kevin Judd, dreamt up the name and label Cloudy Bay and the rest, as they say, is history.

One small, unrelated observation for readers in the UK.  This weekend the disgraceful movie Bottle Shock opens here. See my review  of Bottle Shock and save the price of a ticket.

Later that same day I suddenly thought of searching the forum and, sure enough, here is Rodrigo Mainardi's original request. Rodrigo, I think we may have to let a bit more time elapse for an update to offer enough new material.  Apologies for this stream of  (semi?) consciousness.