(2021) An excellent vintage. A little darker but still green and bright. Toasty, nutty, like an aged Riesling in a way, lovely sheen and creaminess, and this made in all stainless steel. All those pungent SB characters now mellowed and subdued. The palate is superb, sweet orchard fruits, hints of melon, maybe kiwi fruit or melon, delicious juiciness of grapefruit and lemon. Lovely balance too, quite surprising for a 2006 wine, delightful concentration and intensity, balanced to the finish. A real treat to taste this. Not currently available.
(2021) Organically certified, this is Kim Crawford's estate, and the wine is given a 'hands-off' treatment, fermentation stopped at 12.5% abv when the wine was in balance, leaving 5.2g/l or residual sugar. There's a touch of pinky-bronze to the colour here, and a confectionary nose, all icing sugar and raspbery ripple. In the mouth the sweetness pushes through, with a sense of coolness to this, Asian pear and lemon, though for me it lacks the charm of the Pegasus Bay Riesling.
(2021) The majority of the fruit comes from Estate vineyards, a proportion from growers in ohter sub-regions which Nautilus believes gives them a diversity of flavour profiles. Just 2% was barrel fermented. Fair bit of straw to the colour here, green capsicum, gooseberry and peach on the nose, then a dry palate - the driest tasting of the Sauvignon's so far - lots of sour lemon and grapefruit, that is the driving force though there is rosy apple juciness too. Good length and a grown-up style.
(2021) An organic wine, but unusually, Loveblock use the antioxidant properties of green tea to protect this wine rather than sulphur: every time the juice / wine was exposed to oxygen 5 mg/L of green tea powder was added before the wine was racked to barrels. 6.10g/l of residual sugar. Very unusual on the nose. I guess it is the green tea giving this unusual, herbal, chamomile and, yes, gree tea notes. On the palate a substantial weight and loads of flavour. Again I can detect that unusual tea character, and again too much residual sugar for my palate. In the finish the dry tannin-like and umami quality of the tea against the sweet stone fruits, sugar and sour acid makes for a very unusual wine. Interesting, but I wouldn't want a second glass.
(2021) From Villa Maria's vineyards in the slightly warmer sub-region of the Wairau Valley, there's a lightly candied, toffeed note on the nose here and a nice depth of lightly smoky mango and lychee fruit. Some oily green bean and leafy green herb character in the background. On the palate a full, generous wine, abundant fruitin a ripe tropical spectrum, and cleansing lime and lemon acidity into the reasonably long finish.
(2021) A single vineyard Chardonnay from vineyards on gravel and silty soils in Marlborough, vines were planted in 2000 and the wine is whole-bunch pressed, with half fermented with wild yeasts and half inoculated. It spent 10 months in barriques and larger barrels of French oak, 35% new and around 40% went through malolactic. Pale straw in colour and a lovely creaminess to the aroma, nutty too, with a lightly oxidised caalmond even a hint of hazelnut, as well as some flint. In the mouth cool lemon meets ripe apple, a leaner style here, but there is mid-palate fruit ripeness without a doubt, and it is really very well done.
(2021) A really attractive Sauvignon this, passion fruit and gooseberry, and a hint of substance with melon skin and lemon rind grip. Grapefruit floods the palate, just hints at a more tropical, ripe smoky guava character, then chalky mineral acidity gives a wonderfully fresh and zingy finish.
(2021) Really nicely done this Marlborough Sauvignon, brightly packed with tropical fruits, enough elderflower and a wisp of cracked stone smokiness to add interest. In the mouth it has ripe, juicy and sweet nectarine, then a more direct and pithy grapefruit and lemon acid character picks up on the finish. Very tasty and stylish.
(2020) There's normally around 7% oak fermented wine in Cloudy Bay, but this year was so good that it was pulled back to 4% to showcase the fruit. There is pea shoot and fresh leafy green herbs, a touch of elderflower, but also peachy, ripe and quite exotic fruit. The palate has beautiful balance, with arguably less 'aggression' than a brand new Marlborough Sauvignon might exhibit, a beautiful purity and focus, grapefruit and orange, and a long, shimmering finish of lime peel and salts. A very good Cloudy Bay this.
(2020) I was lucky enough to visit this new operation just before lockdown, led by the hugely experienced Steve Smith MW, ex-Craggy Range and Villa Maria, along with his US business partner. A very premium Sauvignon Blanc from 25-year-old vines in the Wairau sub-region of Marlborough, it's a wonderfully expressive, aromatic and decidedly opulent take on the NZ Sauvignon formula. The nose is flooded with ripe, juicy peach as well as the distinctive but subtle top notes of grass and elderflower, not too green, but vivacious. On the palate there is lovely texture here, real concentration sometimes missing in lesser examples, and that all-encompassing ripeness of peach, mango and exotic lychee, but all the time balanced by its sheer acidity into a long finish. A terrific Sauvignon Blanc. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.