Complex, ripe and pure, this is the rare Sauvignon Blanc that comes with significant bottle age. Fresh white peach, preserved lemon, pineapple and green mango notes jump from the glass. The palate is textured and fruity with plenty of varietal character and a unique spice. The finish adds wet stone minerality and zippy acids.
Sauvignon Blanc originates from the Bordeaux region of France. Depending on the climate, the flavour can range from aggressively grassy to sweetly tropical. In cooler climates, the grape has a tendency to produce wines with noticeable acidity and green flavours of grass, green bell peppers and nettles, with some tropical fruit such as passion fruit and floral notes such as elder flower. In warmer climates, it can develop a more tropical fruit profile but risks losing its aromatics from overripeness, leaving only slight hints of grapefruit and peach.
Sitting at the northern tip of the South Island, Marlborough is New Zealand’s largest (it contains half the country’s vineyards) and best-known region. The first vines were planted here in 1973 by Montana – the country’s first commercial vineyard. For many years, grapes were trucked north to Auckland or Gisborne, a journey of approximately 18 hours. In 1985, Cloudy Bay, owned by Australia’s Cape Mentelle, launched its Sauvignon Blanc, and Marlborough’s – and New Zealand’s – reputation was made. Global response to the pungent, aggressive style was incredible; feverish planting resulted. Today, far fewer grapes are shipped to the North Island for processing, and many growers that used to sell their grapes to large companies bottle their own wines. The region is effectively a long, flat river valley with varying deposits of silt and gravel. Soil patterns are very irregular, but the best wines come from shallow, stony, well-drained soils of limited fertility. On these sites, long days, cool nights, bright sunshine and dry autumns give distinctive grapes of high sugar and bright acidity. There are two sub-regions: Wairau Valley, a haven for hobbyists anxious to buy into the lifestyle; and Awatere Valley, much further south, where summers can be warm enough to ripen Bordeaux varietals. Sauvignon Blanc is still the number-one grape growing New Zealand, followed by Chardonnay, Riesling and Pinot Noir. Sparkling wine is also an important commodity.
Sourced entirely from a single site in the Waihopai Valley. Vines are 15-25 years old, planted in free-draining, clay/loam soils.
Harvested in the cool evening from a single vineyard in the Waihopai Valley sub-zone. Partial barrel ferment (15%) via native yeasts and full malolactic conversion. Bottled after a very light filtration.