The Luminary Sauvignon Blanc Martinborough 2016 – $$
Simple and uncomplicated, with a calm nose. Very typical of the restrained form of Kiwi savvy hailing from Martinborough. There is freshness and acidity as you would expect, and quality fruit weight . It has presence. But a little boring.
Recommended 88 points
Craggy Range Te Muna Sauvignon Blanc Martinborough 2016 – $$
Greenish pale straw. 13% alc.
Nose of apples and limes, cut grass.
A grainy texture to the lean citrus fruit flavours. Dry. A restrained savvy.
Recommended – 88 points
Grava Sauvignon Blanc Martinborough 2015 – $$
Whole bunch pressed. Pale greenish straw. 12.5% alc.
Light and lifted, grassy, and finishes with a strong hint of licorice allsort
A smooth Savvy up front, slightly lean to taste, and minerally, with the expected lemon tang. Also evident is the typical lower North Island dialed-back SB acidity, but still is fresh and invigorating. Short.
Recommended – 87 points
L and I and the fam had a week’s break in Havelock North in the heart of Hawkes Bay wine country. In between swimming, tennis-playing, cycling, and tractor-riding to the Cape Kidnappers gannet colony, we enjoyed the sun and views and a few local wines…
Clearview Estate Winery Te Awanga Sauvignon Blanc Hawkes Bay 2015 -13% straw
Sweet tropical nose, mild grass and acidity, clover Restrained acidity in mouth sweet ripe flavours luscious fine mouthfeel finishes sweet and lively. Main impression is sweetness. 89 points
Rod McDonald Wines Te Awanga Estate Chardonnay Hawkes Bay 2015 – 13.5% pale brilliant gold Clear and crisp nose. Lemon. Peach. Iinear. Minerally. Salty. Spicyfg Lean. Simple. Linear, Citrus. Refreshing. Long. 90 points
Elephant Hill Le Phant Te Awanga 2014 – A Merlot-predominant blend with 26% Syrah and 13% Cab Sav. Perfumed and smoky, blackcurrants, brown paper, sweet on the nose. Evocative. I keep returning to sniff. Sweet and grippy, the wine opens up to show supple tannins, dark plums and berries, vanilla, smoky oak, & spicy finish, really moreish and very good. A very distinctive blend. 95 points
Spencer Hill Estate Latitude 41 Moutere Chardonnay Nelson 2015 – 12.5% pale gold. A variation from the Hawkes Bay theme… Oaky vanilla, buttery & rich. A developed golden stone fruit bouquet. Full of flavour on attack. Great line of citrus balanced with ripe fruit. Creamy Complexity on palate that is very appealing. 92 points
Palliser Estate Sauvignon Blanc Martinborough 2015 – $$
Greenish pale straw colour. 13.5% alc.
I can feel the heat of the Martinborough days and the cool of the nights in the fresh mandarin and lemon bouquet of this wine. It smells of summer sun-blanched grassy hills beside the Ruamahunga River. Light and lifted, with clover honey and pear.
Sweet upfront to taste, there is a restrained citrus character supported through the middle with bags of sweet ripe fruit and bags of flavour. Utterly delish this is. It gives Te Mata’s Cape Crest a good run for the money!
Outstanding – 95 points
L and I tramped around Lake Waikaremoana in the Te Urewera national park over Christmas. Our kids were all with their other parents, so rather that sit around home by ourselves, we thought to head out into the bush for a 4-day circuit of the lake.
Waikaremoana from Panekire
Along the way we saw some fantastic sights, and met some lovely people. The walk was strenuous in parts, but we were blessed with great weather.
This IS a wine blog…the evening meals in the hut were accompanied by a glass of canned wine we bought in a supermarket in Nelson for just this occasion (empty tins are MUCH lighter to carry out than glass)…
The Charlatan Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough – $
Sharp nose through the plastic of the cup, with green apples and capsicum. Lightly fruited in the mouth, with a strong line of citrus. Some sweetness on attack. Astringent finish. Sharp is the key word here. Ok.
Commended – 83 points
L crossing the Korokoro Stream
And in the Waikaremoana Club on the final day I enjoyed a good simple cool bottle of beer to celebrate the finish of the walk. Yum.
Urlar Sauvignon Blanc Gladstone 2015 – $$
Greenish straw colour. 13.5% alc. Organic wine.
This wine exhibited attractive fresh citrus, gooseberry, green apple on the nose. Less assertive with the whole Kiwi green-grass-tom-stalk-and-capsicum thing that Marlborough has going for it.
Soft mouthfeel and citrus flavours going in, and a sharp and short finish. Some oak ferment adds softness and complexity through the middle. A ‘6’ on the 0-10 Kiwi Savvy intensity scale.
Commended – 85 points
Another three wines for aging:
Haha Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2015 – $ – drink 2018-2020. Decanter magazine Gold Medal awarded. I’ve been cellaring these for a few years now. Don’t disappoint. Super value.
Greywacke Wild Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2014 – $$$ – drink 2019. A Kevin Judd wine. Oak ferment, wild yeasts. I have tried and loved this.
From the Cellar: Te Mata Estate Cape Crest Sauvignon Blanc Hawkes Bay 2011 – $$$
Pale greenish gold. 13.5% alc.
This is consistently one of NZ’s finest wines, for the past half-dozen vintages at least. It is hard to approach tasting this wine dispassionately…
Sweet on the nose, aromatic and complex, with tropical notes of apples, gooseberries and ginger.
Flavours of ginger on the palate, apples and citrus. An excellent lightness of touch, a Hawkes Bay savvy that is softening agreeably, with oak complexity. Lots of fruit. Really splendid.
From the Cellar: Cloudy Bay Te Koko Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2011 – $$$+
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.