What’s in the glass tonight October 10th – Sauvignon Blanc


From the Cellar: Cloudy Bay Te Koko Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2011 – $$$+

Oak fermented, with wild yeasts, this is one of NZ’s vinous rock stars – an icon, a unique wine, a sensory delight. I love it.

Pale gold. 13.5% alc.

Great refinement and complexity on nose. An aromatic delight with notes of citrus and golden fruit.

There was a lovely texture, depth to the wine in the mouth. It was expressive and distinctive – it spoke of place and winemaking craft. There was the sweetness of perfect ripe fruit. It lacked the assertive grassy-capsicum-ness of its stablemate, a relief. Exceptionally long for a savvy.


95 points

What’s in the glass tonight July 9th

Cloudy Bay Te Koko 2009

From the Cellar: Cloudy Bay Te Koko Sauvignon Blanc 2009 – $$$+

We are super excited tonight.

The two youngest kids are crawling around pretending to be cats. The eldest is at a birthday party. It is very cold out. A southerly storm is blowing up the country and snow is falling everywhere.

We are packing to go on the first ski weekend of the new season…yay! Thursday nights at this time are always a bit stressful. We have to haul the ski gear out from under the house. Fit the roofbox to the car. Make sure everyone has packed everything they need for a weekend on the slopes. And we need A LOT OF STUFF…

So, get this treasured bottle out from the cellar and toast the season!

L and I bought it a few years ago from the cellar door when we were down in Marlborough for the Graperide. 14%. Sunlit golden colour. Magic.

Brilliant bouquet of gooseberry, lemon zest, lime and crisp apple.

Oaked and age-softened in the mouth. Balanced acidity and fresh fruit. Mouthwatering and zesty, but shows perfect restraint. Not too brash. A burst of sunshine smiles on an auspicious night.

Outstanding 5

Straight to the Pool Room – April 2015

Pool Room April 2015

From our recent trip to Marlborough cellar doors:

Cloudy Bay Te Koko Sauvignon Blanc 2011 – $$$ – drink 2015 – 2017. This is practically the only Sav L likes.

Villa Maria Reserve Malbec Gimblett Gravels Hawkes Bay 2009 – $$$ – drink 2019 – 2029. Tasted dense and impressive at the Cellar Door. Had to get one.

Villa Maria Reserve Noble Semillon 2011 – $$$ – drink 2021 – 2026. L likes a good sticky.

Forrest Estate Graperide Pinot Noir 2014 – free – drink 2017 – 2018. Cook With or Hold.

What’s in the glass tonight Sept 6th

Cloudy Bay Te Koko Sav Blanc 2009

Cloudy Bay Te Koko Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2009 – $$$

I expect that this wine is as close as we generally get to a premier cru for this varietal in New Zealand.

There are other benchmark wines that sit alongside it, but as this producer was in the vanguard of exporting Marlborough sauvignon blanc to the world, its nose is in front. In the subjective wine world, first impressions count…

A few weeks back I won a supermarket competition, and I received a few grocery vouchers. Rather than fold them into the weekly food shop, I thought I would apportion the vouchers over a few ‘feast’ nights, where I would buy more expensive ingredients than usual, and cook something nice for my closest and dearest. This was one of those nights.

L brought this bottle over to share, and pair with my grilled marmalade salmon fillets, yoghurt dill and mustard sauce, boiled new potatoes and mesclun salad. Joining us were her boys, her new au-pair, and my LG. We had a good time.

And the wine was wonderful: 14%. Gorgeous gold. Aromatic, warm and rich. A nose of oak and vanilla. Only a hint of Marlborough varietal character.

This is a matured wine, issued for sale by Cloudy Bay after three years of aging. It is made from the best grapes, with minimal handling and wild yeast fermentation.

L called it the sav for chardonnay drinkers. I agree. It has the complexity and mouthfeel of a chardonnay. Absolutely delicious, the vanilla comes through in the mouth, with smooth fruit, honey, vanilla, and creamy texture. Perfect with the salmon. 5

Then we had wildberry danish’s with fig and honey ice cream for dessert. L brought along a sticky to pair with it:

 Fromm Late Harvest Gewurtz 2010

Fromm Marlborough Late Harvest Gewurtztraminer 2010

12.5%. It was richly aromatic and sweet, with honey and spice and golden syrup. Delish. 4

Lucky me in so many ways…

Straight to the Pool Room – April 2013

Pool Room April 2013

Vintage is underway in Marlborough. All weekend the roads have been filled with mechanical harvesters driving from site to site. Grape boxes have been stacked up at the end of the rows. Trucks filled with fruit have been driving slowly to the wineries. This summer has been a pearler, and every indication is that this year’s vintage will be a great one, all over the country. Buy up in 2014/2015!

So, L and I visited a couple of Marlborough wineries on our way back to the Cook Strait ferry after the Graperide. I recommend visiting them.

We were given a very warm welcome at Fromm. We worked our way through a tasting of their sav, chardy, syrah, malbec, a couple of pinot noirs and a dessert gewurtz. The chardonnay was very stylish but I picked up a bottle of a wonderfully fragrant pinot. James Suckling awarded 95 points to this:

Fromm Brancott Marlborough Pinot Noir 2009 – $$$ – drink now – 2014

Then we moseyed over to Cloudy Bay. The company’s success at introducing the world to fresh Marlborough sauvignon blancs has been invested into building a spacious and stylish cellar door complex, with many enthusiastic staff to take us through the tasting process. It was particularly endearing seeing a bunch of little kids, in matching Cloudy Bay black T-shirts, running around the barrel room. Apparently it was ‘take your children to vintage day’.

What did we have? Their eponymous sav, riesling, chardonnay, Te wahi pinot noir, pinot gris, late harvest riesling, and this true NZ classic oaked sauvignon blanc, another 95-pointer:

Cloudy Bay Te Koko 2009 – $$$ – drink 2014-2017

And for completing the Graperide last year, Dr John Forrest gave all riders a bottle of:

Forrest Estate 100 Virgins Pinot Noir 2012 – drink 2015-2016