Greywacke was created in 2009 by Kevin Judd, chief winemaker at Cloudy Bay from its inception for 25 years and instrumental in the international recognition which Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc enjoys now. The name 'Greywacke' was adopted by Kevin for his first Marlborough vineyard located in Rapaura in recognition of the high prevalence of rounded greywacke river stones in the soils of the vineyard, a sedimentary rock which is widely found in Marlborough. Kevin Judd is also New Zealand's finest wine photographer and has recently published a book 'The Landscape of New Zealand Wine'.
Fruit was sourced from various vineyard sites in the Southern Valleys and the central Wairau Plains, specifically in Woodbourne, Renwick and Rapaura. Soil types vary from the young alluvial deposits of Rapaura and Renwick, which contain high proportions of greywacke river stones, to the older and denser clay- loams of the Southern Valleys. A high percentage of the vineyards were trained using the divided Scott Henry canopy management system, with the balance on two- or three-cane vertical shoot positioning.
The season started in timely fashion and settled conditions during December allowed a generous crop to set. Extremely low rainfall during the early summer put pressure on water supplies, but rain in early January broke the drought and vineyards flourished as temperatures started to climb above average in the New Year. Considerable thinning was carried out across all varieties to establish ideal cropping levels. Harvest started in mid-March, and in late March northerly airstreams brought with it some rain, which put pressure on the harvest and led to remedial canopy and crop management being needed in many vineyards. Temperatures remained well above average and Marlborough’s classic Indian summer made a welcome appearance allowing vineyards to achieve full ripeness. The last Sauvignon Blanc was hand picked on 18th April 2016 under sunny skies.
Some vineyards were harvested by machine and others by hand, all into half-tonne bins, which were tipped directly into tank presses. The grapes were pressed lightly and the resulting juice was cold-settled prior to racking into mostly old French oak barriques. The juice underwent spontaneous indigenous yeast fermentation, the tail end of which continued for well over six months. The wine had occasional lees stirring and approximately two-thirds underwent malolactic fermentation. It was transferred out of oak prior to the following harvest and left on lees for a further six months.
This wild Sauvignon Blanc has aromas of shortbread, quinces and apricots, lemon zest and ginger, honeysuckle and vanilla bean – a delicious, sweet-scented fragrance of ripe fruit and Asian spices infused with a tarragon-like herbal thread and a faint whiff of wood smoke. Fermented entirely with naturally occurring yeast, this is an alternative style of Sauvignon Blanc that is both intricate and textural with a rich, succulent palate finishing crisp and long with a flinty dryness.