(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) From a small, biodynamically-run family vineyard in Marlborough, this is a blend of fruit from two vineyards that was destemmed and sorted, then fermented in small, open tanks. The wine was in barrel for 11 months, all French oak and 30% new. Beautiful colour, pale-ish garnet with a hint of violet. Fragrant, bright nose, though there is some chocolate and coffee, it's mostly floral and red-fruited a little bracken note too. There's a keen, decisive edge of acidity on the palate, a lemony grip that slices through the raspberries and cream. Quite crisp in the finish, lingering on fruit and accurate acidity. Made from Able and Clone 5 clones. Importer: Les Caves de Pyrene.
(2020) A desire to make Bordeaux-style wines is one thing that fuelled Hans Herzog's move from Switzerland, and thankfully this is a beautiful blend of equal parts Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. Very juicy, intense, a nice level of green pepper and herbs from the Franc, meaty, nutty and a plummy too. Balsamic, plummy and very grippy, as always, strong acidity and very grippy tannins and concentration, but ripe and fine.
(2020) Quite pale, fragrant, cherry and clove, tobbaco spices, the dry cherry fruit wrapped in some thyme and dried herbs. Firm tannins, but long and sweet-fruited, deliciously long and spicy/fruity finish. No UK retail stockists at time of review.
(2020) Hand-picked from its own vineyards in Marlborough, Dog Point's Sauvignon is bright, crisp and super-fresh, more typical in Marlborough style than the barrel-fermented 'Section 94' cuvée, with huge punch and verve. Passion fruit is there, with tropical notes suggesting lychee and guava, a touch of capsicum, but really all about the fruit. In the mouth the texture has some richness and mealiness to it, the citrus blast of the acidity balanced perfectly against that more unctuous, tropical fruit into a dry and beautfully balanced finish. Typical and yet not, this is a fine example of Marlborough's unique Sauvignon style.
(2020) A Sauvignon Blanc that marches to a different beat, fruit is hand-picked, whole bunch pressed and fermented and aged in older French oak barrels for 18 months. Grapefruit and nutty, almondy oak combine, along with a ripe orchard fruit character. In the mouth lovely juiciness and thrust, the pithy, mineral freshness of the acidity, a touch of flint, and squeeze of citrus to finish.
(2020) Deep but soft colour, lovely spicy nose with some rhubarb and beetroot character, clove and a touch of something floral, red fruits too. In the mouth silky textured and creamy, with plenty of keen, bright fruit, raspberry and some cherry moving into plum, a little spice and chocolate and the oak adding more silky depth. Lovely acidity, cherry fresh and clean in the finish.
(2020) A blend from six vineyards, 10% is wild-fermented in barrel, 15% wild-fermented in tank, the rest inoculated but stays on the lees. Pungent elderflower nose, lots of passion fruit and flinty, sulphide notes. Zesty citrus in the background. The palate is all about that dry, zingy citrus lemon and grapefruit pith. The finish verges on a touch of endive bitterness.
(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.