What’s in the glass tonight Jan 26th

Sacred Hill Sauvage 2008

Sacred Hill Sauvage Hawkes Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2008 – $$$

Another bottle from the Pool Room. I love this label. Their Rifleman Chardonnay ’07 was THE wine that turned me on to really enjoying NZ wines. I didn’t realize that wine could have such depth and complexity of flavour and smell, until I tried it. (After I recovered from the $50 cost!)

This is a bottle I have been looking forward to opening for three reasons:

1. As above.

2. To see how HB differs from Marlborough in style of sauvignon blanc.

3. To see what effect aging has on the style.

Sauvignon blancs in this country are generally produced to be drunk young. With a few exceptions. Tony Bish at Sacred Hill has attempted to make a wine in more of the French style, with the potential to handle some age.

The wine is the colour of pale straw. It has mineral citrus notes on nose, but not the brightness of fruit you might expect if it were younger. I am not sure how much of this is the winemaking, the region, or the aging. There is a complexity here that is deeper than a young wine from Marlborough, and none of the squeaky grass character I would expect.

In the mouth it is smooth, with again citrus, and melon, and not the traditional NZ acid bite. The minerality has softened somewhat, and the fruit forward has mellowed. Quite long finish for a sav. It was food-friendly and a good aperitif. Nice, but not the show-stopper I had hoped for. Probably asking too much from this variety?

I’d like to now taste a young version to see how ‘bite-y’ it might be, but I can’t see anything past the 2008 being offered through the website.

Great bottle tho – nice shape and heavy in the hand. Says ‘quality’ to me…


  1. Tis a beautiful day in Paradise, Chateau Du Cardboard vino in hand! Can’t comment on the quality the orange and mango mixer is a tad overwhelming…hic!

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