(2018) Another wine that moves the story of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc on a page or two, from the organic certified and biodynamic vineyards of Seresin, fermented with wild yeasts and with a small proportion fermented in French oak, as well as having 5% Semillon in the blend. That speaks of an attempt to create a more layered wine with real dimension, and it succeeds. A little wild yeast funky and earthy character lies behind yellow plum and melon aromas, no more than a hint of grassiness. In the mouth the exotic opulence of the fruit shows through a little more, moving into papaya and nectarine, then a fine, racy, driving mineral acidity gives a bit of oomph to the finish. Not a simple quaffer, but not without its approachable charms. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2017) Austria's Grüner Veltliner is gaining some traction in southern hemisphere vineyards - I reported recently on a small enclave in Australia's Adelaide Hills - but Marlborough has also taken to the variety. Only the third vintage for Riverby, this has succulent pear on the nose, limey citrus and a hint of mineral salts. There's a delicious weight to the fruit on the palate, texture and silkiness, the sheerness of the citrus acidity sweeps through, cutting rather more tropical fruit flavours to finish dry. A really very good expression of Gru-V. Note: price and stockist quoted at time of review is for the 2014 vintage.
(2017) Riverby Estate's Chardonnay block was planted in 1989, making it one of the oldest Chardonnay blocks in Marlborough. Like all the wines in this range there's a joyous blend of restraint and approachability in this lovely wine: only 12.5% alcohol means it is crisply focused with excellent acidity, yet the fruit is ripe and bountiful, 12 months fermentation and ageing in French oak plus three more years in bottle giving nutty, golden-hued depth. It is indeed 'Burgundian' in many ways, a hint of flintiness in there too, and is supremely enjoyable.
(2016) Another example of Marlborough's shifting shape, a barrel-fermented, natural yeast treatment loads the wine with minerals, smoke and flint, very much of the complex and super dry mould. Massive assertive grapefruit finish and such formidable presence. Bravo to Ben Glover, the winemaker here at his family estate, for an exceptional effort.
(2016) This is a Sauvignon Blanc that marches to a different beat. It has intriguing nutty and honeyed nuances as well as ripe ogen melon fruit and a little hint of Sauvignon herbaceousness. On the palate it is savoury and layered, complex flavours underpinned by a grapefruit juicy tang and length, in a powerful yet subtle interpretation of the style. Will age for five years easily.
(2016) There's a gorgeous sense of ripeness and quite opulent, succulent fleshiness where peach and fragrant nectarine skins melt into a touch of almond and sweet earth. In the mouth its a Wild Sauvignon with so much texture, the creaminess and the little disruptive graininess of tannin and grapefruit acidity, against that flood of creamy and rich, fleshy stone-fruit density. With its 14% alcohol a substantial expression of this wine that will show at its very best with food.
(2011) Regional . 14.5%. Biodynamic wine, whole bunch pressed and spending six months in French oak with battonage. Deep colour, rich, nutty nose, a touch of vanilla and a glimpse of bruised apple. The fruit comes through beautifully on the palate, with a lot of tropical, rich, vibrant fruit that has a sweet edge, but huge concentration too. The tang and decisive concentration of the finish means it needs food, but what a mouthful of wine.
(2011) Huge brazil nut French oak nose with masses of green fig and bold, tropical fruit. The palate has that huge presence too, the super-sweet fruit set against a decisive core of minerality, hints of coffee and charry oak just adding a supporting layer beneath.
(2011) "alternative, not better". Just under 9g/l , lovely savoury wild ferment character with a touch of oak, that umami nose with a meatiness and a core of such piercing, vital lime and apple fruit. Incredible freshness, stunning intense minerality but that touch of sweetness just emphasises the fruit and gives this fabulous clarity.
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