We are approaching that time of year when the new vintages from the southern hemisphere start to arrive, bringing a taste of the exuberant style and intensity for which New Zealand is best known. With both the ‘classics’ and the lesser known examples, New Zealand rewards those willing to look beyond the everyday.
For Kevin Judd’s Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc, 2018 marks the 10th anniversary of this wine. Kevin first registered the Greywacke name in 1993, with the vague notion that he might one day want to use it to make a wine of his own. 16 years later the dream became a reality, with the first vintage produced in 2009. Kevin’s wines have continued to gain international recognition as benchmarks for the very best from Marlborough. The 2018 Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc exhibits Kevin’s trademark panache – an aromatic salsa-like fusion of ripe summer fruit and fragrant Asian spices, with nectarines, yellow peaches, rock melon, grapefruit and a splash of passionfruit.
Another new arrival to look out for is the Blank Canvas Sauvignon Blanc 2018. After 50 vintages in 25 years across both hemispheres, this is Matt Thomson’s third vintage under his own label, with his partner Sophie Parker Thomson. The fruit comes from the Dillon’s Point sub-region of Marlborough so look out for the region’s tell-tale mineral drive and rich texture, evoking river stones and sea spray alongside the distinctive blackcurrant, guava and passionfruit top notes.
Outside top-quality Sauvignon Blancs, we were delighted that three wines from our portfolio were the highest scoring wines in Decanter’s recent tasting of New Zealand Alternative Whites, all from estates generally recognised for their top quality red wines. Burn Cottage’s blend of Grüner Veltliner and Riesling from Central Otago is delicate but intense simultaneously. The two varieties are vinified separately before blending, then rested in old oak barriques, giving the wine a complex nose of beeswax, white pepper, chamomile and lemon curd. One for curious tasters.
Ata Rangi’s Pinot Gris was also singled out by the panel. Ata Rangi’s Pinot Noir often takes the limelight, but this white is a hidden gem for those who discover it – crisp and dry, with a portion fermented in 500 litre oak puncheons adding weight and complexity. It shows an opulent mixture of fresh pear, custard, pecan nuts and lychees, with a creamy palate and hint of smoke on the finish.
Another stand-out is the Marsanne/Viognier blend from Trinity Hill – the estate famed for its world class Syrahs. Exotic and textured, this blend shows Trinity Hill can do white Rhône varieties as well as they can red – it is voluptuous and rich, but with clean balance and fresh acidity. It would make a splendid match for rich Middle Eastern dishes with a touch of spice.