This month we are showcasing Cloudy Bay, arguably New Zealand’s most prolific winery. Multi award winning Sauvignon Blanc’s from the new world home of this old school, classic French varietal.
Marlborough is not just a region anymore; it is a style of wine. Lean, crisp, and racy white wines that are just perfect for the summer just around the corner.
Marlborough, and indeed Cloudy Bay has a special place in my heart. I was fortunate enough to live in the land of the Kiwi for just under a year. Traveling and working my way through various wine regions, I settled in Marlborough for a few months to complete the 2015 Harvest!
There are few things on this planet more beautiful, than a perfectly uniformed, well organized winery set in a stunning location. The Cloudy Bay Estate is the perfect example of this. From the gated entrance and vine-lined road approaching the winery, to the cellar behind the glass wall of a grand tasting room. Everything was perfect. Not a barrel out of place, not a fingerprint on a tasting glass, such care and consistency in the delivery of both the experience and the brand.
Marlborough is New Zealand’s most important wine region. It is responsible for almost 75% of the wine production of the entire country. Found on the northern tip of the stunning South Island, the region is made up predominantly of two valleys, the Wairau and Awatere.
The cooling influence of the ocean, coupled with lots of sunshine hours and dry autumns gives the Sauvignon Blanc grape the perfect conditions to ripen fully and maturely without losing any of its famous, crunchy acidity.
Although this varietal dominates most of the area under vine in this wonderful part of the world, other French grapes also boast fantastic styles of wine. From the less aromatic but ever versatile Chardonnay, to the classic Alsatian Pinot Gris and Riesling.
The most dominant Red varietal in Marlborough is without doubt Pinot Noir. I suppose its because of the long ripening season that helps this grape to mature fully, and Pinot Noir, fully ripened is a force of nature.
Many will argue that the Central Otago region produces the best Pinot Noir in New Zealand- some 600km south. I would have to agree to an extent. The Central Otago is now the most prolific Pinot Noir region in NZ, but wine is always subject to opinion.
It turns out, in my own humble opinion, I prefer the more feminine, perfumed, softer Marlborough style to the rough and ready, masculine styles from the deeper south.
Why do we love Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc? I guess it’s the same reason we all love Malbec, its defied the odds and made itself a new world home outside of the Mecca (France).
All wines below are available to buy online and in the M wine Store. Click on the links to follow them to the M Wine Store webpage…
The Kiwi’s certainly have cultured a new style of Sauvignon Blanc and this is pretty faithful to that. The classic ‘cats pee’ aroma on the nose. What Cloudy Bay have done of piste slightly is create aromas of lemon rind and lime. Staying away from the under ripe pea and asparagus notes. The palate is lean, with crisp acidity. Lemon sherbet on the finish that is focused through the center of the tongue with a lingering finish. Classic Sauvignon Blanc, young, crisp and well balanced.
Another Sauvignon Blanc here. But with a twist. Made in a Fume Blanc, barrel fermented style, the Te Koko has a wonderful nose of guava, candied lemon and baking spice. There is an element of funk also which can only really be found with wines that have been left to ferment naturally, using the indigenous yeasts present on the grape skins. A silky mouthfeel with flavours of orange blossom, and a beautiful bitterness to offset any sweetness imparted from oak treatment. Extremely well made. Must try!
For me this is the pick of the bunch. In a hedonistic way of course given my affinity for oaked Chardonnay. But the balance with this Chardonnay is impressive. Obvious oaky aromas manifest on the nose, but do not over power a generous fruit profile of pineapple and green apples.
Waxy tannins and the acidity is kept lean and crisp with little malo lactic creamy-ness. A great New World Chardonnay for those put off by the BIG buttery, California oaky style.
Good minerality lines up along with an attractive red fruit set on the nose. Leathery, tar aromas bring up the rear-good complexity.
Very easy, this wine can be drunk with or without food. Its luscious, attractive with chalky tannins that are persistent and line up well next to the fruit profile on the finish.