What’s in the glass tonight November 19th – Sauvignon Blanc

Astrolabe Kekerengu Sav B 2015

Astrolabe Kekerengu Coast Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2015 – $$

From a reference producer of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, this wine is one of their series of wines exploring sub-regional expressions of the varietal, this example from near the southern coast of Marlborough.

Pale green straw colour. 13% alc.

Grassy and green on the nose. Green capsicum and gooseberries. Apples. A lichen salinity. Ascetic and austere.

Intense and long flavours. Limes and citrus, green tomatoes. Astringent. A grassy long note. Yet still full-flavoured within the confines of the style. Liking the expression of austerity very much!

Highly Recommended 91 points

What’s in the glass tonight October 5th – Riesling


Astrolabe Valleys Riesling Wairau Valley Marlborough 2014 – $

On Spring special at Regional Wines…this took a while to settle down after opening…a somewhat aggressive dry style of Riesling…

11.5% alc. Pale greenish straw colour.

Dry, lean and austere. Lots of citrus notes, & apples… a  premonition of lip-puckering flavours ahoy …with perhaps the occasional wince…

This wine had lots of character. Very assertive, and not so much built for ‘easy drinking’. Some will love this. It took me a few bottles over a couple of weeks to understand it and not freak out too much. Decant, and let it stand for a while. The acid starts to soften, and the fruit shows through. It has an expressive nose from the get-go, which helps a lot.

A hot day’s aperitif, or to accompany sweet seafood and you won’t go wrong.

88 points

What’s in the glass tonight April 9th – Chenin Blanc

Astrolabe Chenin Blanc 2014

Astrolabe Wrekin Vineyard Chenin Blanc Marlborough 2014 – $$

I went in to an in-store tasting to try (and buy) a Vouvray. But I bought this instead from a producer well-known for making some of Marlborough’s (and NZ’s) reference Sauvignon Blanc wines.

Greenish bright sun straw colour. 13.0% alc.

Lovely clear bouquet of apple + lemon, honey, passionfruit and, funnily enough, sweaty socks.

Soft ripe white fruit flavours, lemons and limes. A dry style of wine, very graceful and appealing. Fresh acidity, quite short. You’d buy this for it’s thirst quenching quality, rather than looking for bags of flavour. That said, a good food wine, and works as an aperitif. I’d buy this again too.

92 points

What’s in the glass tonight March 16th

Astrolabe Awatere Valleys SB 2014

Astrolabe Awatere Valleys Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2014 – $$

A straight example of SB compared to the first Astrolabe wine I tried earlier. I guess this is more the ‘reference’ wine that I was writing about.

Made from machine harvested fruit off the van Asch and Lissaman family vineyards in the lower Dashwood and central southern Awatere Valleys. Neutral yeast fermentation.

Pale straw. 13%. Typical true-to-type gooseberry/lime/tom stalk aroma characters. Not as intense as others made elsewhere in the ville. Smells refined in the glass.

Classic citrus splash in the mouth. Easy to drink, this. Mouthwatering finish. In a mineral style, less fruity. I taste lemon, wet gravel and herbs.

BTG 3+


What’s in the glass tonight March 10th

Astrolabe Kekerengu Coast SB 2011

Astrolabe Kekerengu Coast Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2011 – $$

Astrolabe, founded by Simon Waghorn in 1996, produce some of the region’s ‘reference’ Sauvignon Blanc wines that emerge from Marlborough province.

Astrolabe is named for the ship L’Astrolabe that the French adventurer and naval officer Jules Dumont d’Urville sailed in when he explored the inlets of the Marlborough Sounds in the 1820’s.

This Kekerengu Coast wine showcases one of the sub-regions of Marlborough. The winemakers say this area achieves budburst first, but is often last to be harvested, off limestone soils.

First off, the wine shows some bottle age. This is older than most Sav’s I drink. Light gold colour. 13%. Nose reminiscent of white Burgundy, almost Meursault, with notes of passionfruit and lemongrass, quite peculiar in it’s way, very thought-provoking, but still clean and restrained. Wild fermented.

This restraint continues in the mouth, the fruit is held back, almost austere. Shows minerality and finesse. Drying. Would be great with oysters. Very intriguing and complex Sauvignon Blanc. Love it!

This producer could be my find of 2015, I reckon. Should drink another bottle of this to see if it is true to type. Will definitely try some of the other SB variants this company offers as well…

VG 4