(2021) A year when poor weather during the early part of the season resulted in reduced crops, but a fine and warm mid- and late season meant a smaller yeild of very high quality fruit from these Wairau River vineyards. Made primarily in stainless steel, approximately 4% was fermented at warmer temperatures in old French oak barriques and large format oak vats. Quite widely available. A particularly fruity passion fruit and gooseberry opening here, and while there is some elderflower pungency, it sits just behind the punchy fruit. In the mouth there's plenty of fruit sweentess and irresistable nectarine juiciness. It feels like a particularly concentrated vintage of the Sauvignon Blanc, the cool salty and lemony acidity providing good support and thrust. Could well be an example that ages rather well.
(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.
(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.
(2020) Whole clusters are barrel-fermented with wild yeasts, 5% new barrels at most. This is a single vineyard wine, where cream and oatmeal merge with classic passion fruit notes, still showing a bit of flinty reduction too. Big burst of juicy fruit on the palate, then a searing dry acidity, lots of orange and brightness.
(2020) Made in the same way as The Boundary, but with two years longer in bottle, this single vineyard wine has a fascinating nose, very subtle, less flinty, but the tropical fruit lift more obvious, a touch of nuttiness from the barrel. Creamy, smooth and delicious fruit on the palate, minty, lovely oak, pure lemon and lime, and great length, a touch of gravelly Pessac-Leognan quality too.
(2020) Very appealing nose, with butter and exotic fruit, ripe, a touch of mint, a touch of passion fruit. The palate has creaminess and texture, but has great freshness and clarity, the tropical mango and nectarine notes fill the mouth, but it stays juicy and focused to the finish.
(2020) Only five barrels were made of this wine from a single vineyard in the Rapaura region, 18 months or so in barrel, but the new wood proportion is small. Back on the flinty side of things, a more reductive style, but there is nuttiness and texture to spare, those aromatics have also opened up to show more stone fruit, then on the palate; super grapefruit and lime zest punch and freshness, long, the tangy acidity against hints of passion fruit, long and fascinating. No UK retail stockist listed at time of review.
(2020) Murray and Matt had lined-up all of their 2010 wines for me to try, but sadly the Chardonnay was corked, so this 2013 was pressed into action. Made with 70% Mendoza clone, the oak is all French. There is almond, oatmeal, plenty of reductive notes, but a big grapefruit tang and brilliant orange fruit and acidity, the two melding together so seamlessly into a long, poised and tapering finish. Fabulous. Price and stockist quoted are for the most recent vintage at time of review.