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Ata Rangi Sauvignon Blanc 2017 (1x 75cl)

The 2016 vintage was awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their August 2017 edition review of New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs (see blue link below).

Ata Rangi SB 2016 - August 2017 Decanter review

Ata Rangi is owned and run by Clive Paton and his wife Phyll, together with Clive's sister Alison and winemaker Helen Masters. Clive planted the bare, stony five hectare home paddock at the edge of Martinborough in 1980 and, in doing so, was one of a handful of people who pioneered grape growing in the area. Renowned for their Pinot Noir, which is consistently ranked as one of New Zealand's best, Ata Rangi also produces a range of white wines including Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

The Ata Rangi vineyards are situated in Wairarapa, just north of Wellington. The grapes for this wine come from Lismore, Waiora, Walnut Ridge, Hau Ariki Marae and Sutherlands Block. Vineyard husbandry is important to Ata Rangi, including leaf plucking to keep the canopies open. Yields are typically low due to the cool, windy spring weather which affects fruit set and the lean, stony soils which are low in vigour and fertility. The vineyards are in conversion to organic certification and are accredited as 100% sustainable.

The 2017 growing season was uniquely cool, leading to small bunches and low yields. Luckily, this cool weather reduced disease pressure so fruit remained healthy right up until harvest.

The 2017 Sauvignon Blanc now takes the name Raranga (‘woven’ in Maori) to express Ata Rangi's range of winemaking techniques in the creation of their uniquely Martinborough style for this varietal. The grapes were hand-picked from 30th March – 11th April. 10% of the grapes were fermented on their skins for eight weeks, 4% was whole bunch fermented and the rest was fermented in stainless steel tanks and barrels. The juice was inoculated with cultivated yeasts and fermented in controlled temperature storage at 12-18°C.

This wine has aromas of spiced apple pie, lime and melon. On the palate, there are notes of candied lemon and cardamom. On the finish, the wine is creamy and savoury.

£16.20

Cloudy Bay Chardonnay 2015 (1x75cl)

Established in 1985, Cloudy Bay was one of the first five wine makers to venture into Marlborough. At the time, it was almost an unimaginable place to set-up a vineyard but Cloudy Bay’s founder, David Hohnen, was convinced of its potential to produce great wine and invested in the best land of the region. The winery was named after Cloudy Bay, a body of water explorer Captain James Cook found during his voyage to New Zealand in 1770. His discovery coincided with flooding in the region, which washed large amounts of sediment into the sea. Noticing the water’s opaque appearance, Cook christened the area Cloudy Bay. 

Powerful and exotic, the 2015 Chardonnay is an embodiment of the artistry and the craft of Cloudy Bay. The grapes are sourced from four vineyard blocks located in separated sub-regions: Brancott, Fairhall, Ben Morven and Central Wairau Valley. The vines are planted on a mix of free-draining gravel and loam based soils.

In 2015 there was an immediate clarity of Chardonnay flavour from the moment that the fruit was received in the winery. The harvest season commenced on March 13th and culminated on March 31st.

After gentle pressing, the juice was pumped into barrels. The vinification utilised naturally occurring yeast populations to undergo a wild fermentation. A portion of the wine was fermented with full solids in order to build additional texture and complexity in the wine. After fermentation the wine rested in French oak barrel for one year of maturation.

Jim White, Technical Director at Cloudy Bay says the following of Cloudy Bay Chardonnay 2015: "The 2015 Chardonnay is savoury and complex, a wine whose deftly woven aromatics give way to power on the palate."

The aromas include exotic flavours of orange blossom and preserved lemon with an undertow of smokey lees character. The flavour has the classic characters of zesty grapefruit and citrus rind. The wine lingers with roasted hazelnut notes and linseed flavours on the finish.

£26.15

Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2017 (1x75cl)

Established in 1985, Cloudy Bay was one of the first five wine makers to venture into Marlborough. At the time, it was almost an unimaginable place to set-up a vineyard but Cloudy Bay’s founder, David Hohnen, was convinced of its potential to produce great wine and invested in the best land of the region. The winery was named after Cloudy Bay, a body of water explorer Captain James Cook found during his voyage to New Zealand in 1770. His discovery coincided with flooding in the region, which washed large amounts of sediment into the sea. Noticing the water’s opaque appearance, Cook christened the area Cloudy Bay. 

Cloudy Bay has built a reputation for refined, elegant Sauvignon blanc, and the 2017 vintage is no exception despite critical harvest conditions: lower quantities to meet high quality standards. The vineyards are located in the Rapaura, Fairhall, Renwick and Brancott sub-regions of the Wairau Valley. The vines are planted on free-draining gravel based soils with shallow sandy-loam horizons.

The Sauvignon Blanc 2017 harvest commenced on April 1st and was completed on April 20th. Grapes were picked with ripe flavours and great acid balance.

Following harvest, the free-run juice was cold settled for 48-72 hours before racking. Fermentation was primarily carried out in stainless steel tanks with a mixture of cultured yeasts and wild yeast. Approximately 3% of the blend was fermented at warmer temperatures in old French oak barriques and large format vats. As usual this sauvignon blanc was stringently blended, including only the strongest batches.

Jim White, Technical Director at Cloudy Bay says the following of Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2017:  “Cloudy Bay 2017 Sauvignon Blanc is an excellent vintage that reveals an elegant and concentrated palate with ripe, juicy stone fruit and lemongrass, supported by a lovely minerality. Its crisp acidity leads to a mouth-watering and persistent finish suggesting a Sauvignon Blanc that will age well.” 

The aromas are bright. Lifted citrus aromatics of Kaffir lime and grapefuit abound, supported by ripe nectarine-like stone fruit notes. An elegant, concentrated palate reveals ripe, juicy stone fruit and lemongrass, supported by a lovely minerality.

£26.30

Cloudy Bay Te Koko Sauvignon Blanc 2015 (1x75cl)

Cloudy Bay broke the winemaking rules to create a sophisticated style of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc made through wild fermentation and aging in old French oak.

The Te Koko is made from a blend of six of Cloudy Bay's Sauvignon Blanc vineyards located within the Rapaura, Brancott and Renwick sub-regions. The vines are planted on free-draining gravel based soils with shallow sandy-loam horizons.

After gentle pressing and settling for a period of 24 hours, the juice was racked directly to French oak barrels (8% new) where it underwent a slow and steady fermentation that was initiated by indigenous yeasts. The wine rested in barrel on fine lees until the spring of 2016. Whilst in barrel, the wine underwent a partial malolactic fermentation. Careful maturation in the cellar creates the unique texture and acid profile of Te Koko, with the resultant wine reposing a delicate balance.

On the nose there are aromas of grapefruit and white nectarine displaying a fresh counterpoint to the richer notes of lemon curd and beeswax. The palate is tightly focussed with a taut entry.The finish is an amalgamation of nectarine, glacé fruit and a subtle smoky oak complexity. Floral characters linger in the background.

£35.55

Framingham F-Series Old Vine Riesling 2016 (1x75cl)

These wines represent an alternative approach to the varieties within the core Framingham range – staying true to their style, but with room for innovation. A strictly limited edition, the F-Series allows head winemaker Andrew and his team the flexibility to experiment with winemaking techniques and create small batch wines that capture the essence of each vintage, resulting in some of Marlborough’s most exciting wines.

Grapes for 2016 F-Series Old Vine Riesling were selected from the 35 year old organically grown vines in front of the cellar door building. Soils there are of the old river bed type; fist sized stones composed of greywacke (a hard, dark type of sandstone streaked with quartz and feldspar) mixed alluvial gravel and silt. Vineyard practice for this wine is geared to produce ripe grapes that have had maximum “hang time” on the vine.

Marlborough’s growing season is generally characterised by warm, sunny days and cool nights resulting in fruit with good natural acidity and clean, fresh flavours. Heat summation data for the 2015/6 growing season shows it to be second only to 1997/8 for recent vintages. Weather was stable and relatively dry under El Niño conditions into March. Framingham's vineyard management meant that Pinot Gris crops were perhaps a little lighter than some other varietals for 2016, and generally favourable weather over the rest of harvest allowed them to pick ripe grapes with the good late season flavours.

All fruit was harvested by hand, and then separated into two portions on arrival at the winery. Half of the grapes were de-stemmed and given six hours skin contact before pressing, and the rest were whole bunch pressed. Unclarified musts were settled for 12 hours before racking off gross solids to a mixture of stainless steel barrels and older oak. Fermentation was allowed to start spontaneously, and the components were left on full ferment lees for nine months before blending and bottling. Of the total volume, approximately 12% was fermented in old oak.

A deliciously balanced old-world style, the nose has concentrated lime fruit with hints of honeysuckle and stony minerality. Medium to full bodied, the palate is intense with rich, balanced flavours of mandarin and ripe apple. Layered and complex, citrus fruits and wet slate continue throughout. Crisp, lively riesling acidity carries through the dry, lingering finish.

£20.20

Framingham Pinot Gris 2017 (1x75cl)

Awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their November 2018 article on Sweetness in Wine (see blue link below).

Framingham Pinot Gris 2016 - Nov 2018 Decanter review

Awarded 88 points and Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their September 2018 edition panel tasting of "Alternative" New Zealand Whites (not Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay) (see blue link below)...

Framingham Pinot Gris 2016 - Sept 2018 Decanter review

Please click the blue link below to see Framingham's excellent information and tasting note for this wine.

Framingham Pinot Gris 2016 - fiche technique

Rich gold in colour, this wine delights with mellow aromatics, which are reminiscent of pear, apple, quince, dough and cream, with a touch of wood smoke. On the palate, generous flavours of baked apple, quince, cream, nuts and pastry. The intense, complex and rich palate balances acidity with good weight and a silky texture, culminating in a spicy, leesy finish.

£14.65

Greywacke Chardonnay 2014 (1x75cl)

This wine was awarded 89 points and Highly Recommended status in Decanter's February 2018 review of New Zealand Chardonnay. They say "An elegant Chardonnay beaming with tropical fruit, pineapple, ginger and creme brulee sprinkled with toasted hazelnuts, finishing with a warm lick."

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'.

The grapes for this wine are primarily sourced from the low-yielding Mendoza clone, known for its concentration of flavour and crisp acidity; the balance were from Clone 95. The majority of the fruit was sourced from the lower reaches of the Brancott Valley and Fairhall, grown in gravelly, clay-loam soils, the remainder coming from Rapaura, grown in young alluvial soils containing high proportions of New Zealand’s ubiquitous greywacke river stones. All vineyards were trained on a two-cane VSP trellis.

The vineyards were hand-picked separately at high ripeness levels and fruit was whole bunch pressed. The resulting juice was lightly settled and racked to French oak barriques (20% new).The juice underwent spontaneous indigenous yeast fermentation, the final phase continuing for many months. The wine received occasional lees stirring and underwent a complete malolactic fermentation. It was transferred out of oak after 18 months and bottled in December 2015.

A deliciously rich amalgam of pink grapefruit, figs and baked apples intertwine with more savoury characters redolent of meadow hay, toasted hazelnuts and buttered brioche. This grapefruit and nutty savouriness pervades the crisp, dry palate, while the power and concentration of the Mendoza clone creates an extraordinarily long finish that lingers and lingers.

£25.05

Greywacke Marlborough Riesling 2016 (1x75cl)

Greywacke was created in 2009 by Kevin Judd who was the chief winemaker at Cloudy Bay for 25 years. 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'.

The fruit for this wine was grown at the organically-farmed Ashmore Vineyard in Fairhall, adjacent to the mouth of the Brancott Valley on gravelly clay-loam soils, conditions more typical of the Southern Valleys than the Wairau plains. The 17 year old vines were trained on a two cane VSP (vertical shoot positioning) trellis and careful shoot and bunch thinning was carried out. All Greywacke wines are produced from vineyards that are accredited to the Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand (SWNZ) program and most of the vineyards are in conversion to become certified organic.

The grapes were hand-picked at moderate ripeness levels and were whole bunch pressed using a very low maceration press cycle. The resulting juice was cold-settled, then racked to fermentation vessels. Half of the juice was inoculated in a stainless steel tank using cultured yeast and the balance was filled into old French oak barriques where it was allowed to undergo spontaneous indigenous yeast fermentation. Towards the end of fermentation all the wine was transferred to a stainless steel tank where the fermentation was stopped, retaining 20 g/l residual sugar. The blended wine was then put in old barrels where it remained on yeast lees for a further five months before bottling in December.

A virtual fruit salad of mandarin segments, white fleshed peaches and crisp apples, sprinkled with lemon blossom and a dollop of honey. A lively, aromatic off-dry style that delivers a sherbet-like balance of bright, natural acidity and a subliminal touch of sweetness.

£17.90

Greywacke Pinot Gris 2016 (1x75cl)

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'.

Much of the fruit is from the Selection Ovaille and Mission clones grown at Wrekin Terrace Vineyard in the Brancott Valley, a valley floor site on gravelly clay-loam soils typical of the Southern Valleys. A smaller parcel of the newly released Entav 52 clone (known for its small bunch and berry size) was grown at Riverbrook Vineyard in Rapaura, in young alluvial soils containing high proportions of greywacke river stones. The vines were trained on a two-cane VSP (vertical shoot positioning) trellis and crop thinning is carried out to target a modest yield of 7.5 T/Ha.

The three clones were hand-picked separately at high ripeness levels and whole bunch pressed using very low maceration press cycles. The resulting juice was cold settled then racked to fermentation vessels. Most of the juice was allowed to undergo spontaneous indigenous yeast fermentation in old French oak barriques and the balance was fermented in stainless steel tanks using cultured yeast. The fermentations were stopped to achieve an average of 8g/l residual sugar. The barrel fermented components remained in oak for seven months during which time a portion underwent malolactic fermentation. All the batches were kept on lees in stainless steel tanks for a further six months and the wine was then blended and bottled mid-2016.

An autumnal bake-up of soft sweet figs, poached pears and quince, scented with a hint of mulling spices and almond crumble. An opulently ripe expression of the Pinot Gris grape with great texture and a luscious off-dry richness that finishes crisply with considerable power and length.

£17.90

Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc 2017 (1x75cl)

Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their May 2018 column, "Weekday Wines" (see blue link below).

Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc 2017 - May 2018 Decanter review

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 prime vineyard sites in Marlborough’s Southern Valleys, the central Wairau Plains (specifically in Woodbourne, Renwick and Rapaura) and a spectacular river terrace site in the upper Awatere Valley. Soil types vary from the young alluvial soils of Rapaura, Renwick and the upper Awatere, which contain high proportions of New Zealand’s ubiquitous greywacke river stones, to the older and denser clay-loams of the Southern Valleys. The majority of the vineyards were trained using the divided Scott Henry canopy management system, with the balance on a two- or three-cane VSP (vertical shoot positioning) trellis.

A mild, frost-free spring and warm conditions through to early summer provided ideal growing conditions for the vines. November will be remembered more for the magnitude 7.8 earthquake that shook the upper South Island. Early December saw good conditions for sauvignon blanc flowering. December-January was very dry, cooler than normal and often very windy. On April 4th the first of two cyclonic fronts passed through Marlborough bringing unseasonal rain and leading to an all-hands-on-deck flurry of rapid harvesting, with all the sauvignon blanc picked by the middle of the month. The combination of prime sites, low-cropping and efficient night harvesting saved the day and despite the challenging conditions the wines of 2017 are displaying good ripeness and structure.

Harvested largely by machine during cool (often cold) night-time conditions, the sauvignon blanc grapes were picked into half-tonne bins, which were tipped directly into the tank press and lightly pressed. The resulting juice was cold-settled prior to fermentation in stainless steel, primarily using cultured yeast for cool, slow fermentation. A portion was allowed to undergo spontaneous indigenous yeast fermentation using slightly warmer temperature regimes. All individual vineyard batches were left on lees and kept separate until late July, when the blend was assembled. The wine was bottled in mid-August.

Deliciously aromatic and highly perfumed – exuding ripe nectarine, pink grapefruit and lemon zest with a lifted floral fragrance reminiscent of jasmine and elderflower. Classic ripe Marlborough Sauvignon – with melon and gooseberry flavours and a touch of passionfruit, wound into a generous, mouth-filling palate that finishes dry and crisp.

£16.45

Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc 2018 (1x75cl)

The 2017 vintage was awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their May 2018 column, "Weekday Wines" (see blue link below).

Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc 2017 - May 2018 Decanter review

Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc 2017 - January 2019 Decanter review

A refreshing sorbet-like medley of fresh lychee, grapefruit and honeydew melon laced with flinty minerality and finished with an infusion of mandarin and lime zest. A lively, invigorating wine with persistent grapefruit flavours and a steely blackcurrant tang. Crisp with a long, enduring finish.  

£16.60

Greywacke Wild Sauvignon 2016 (1x 75cl)

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.

£22.00

Hunters Sauvignon Blanc 2017 (1x75cl)

Classically styled and characteristic of Hunters trademark Sauvignon Blanc, this wine immediately shows a mixture of passionfruit, crisp apple and citrus fruit aromas. The refreshing multilayered palate exhibits a blend of ripe tropical fruit, sweet herbs

£15.15

Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc 2017 (1x75cl)

Kim Crawford Wines was established in late 1996, when Kim launched a range made from fruit grown in the South Island. Kim sold the company to Constellation in 2005 and has since handed the winemaking reins over to the Constellation winemaking team. Despite Kim no longer being involved with these wines, the current winemakers continue the classic Kim Crawford philosophy and style. Control over grape supply has always been essential for Kim Crawford Wines and they now have the largest vineyard resource in Marlborough of any wine company, across the greatest breadth of sub-regions, ensuring consistent quality and style. For that consistency, and success over the past 20 years, Wine Enthusiast magazine USA recognised Kim Crawford as their “New World Winery of the Year 2016”.

Kim Crawford have access to probably the widest selection of Marlborough vineyards, for blending their distinctive, award-winning Sauvignon Blanc. 120 wines are included in the blend, from all over Marlborough. In 2017 the makeup was approximately 70% Wairau/Waihopai, 30% Awatere/Blind River. Their new Merrifields vineyards in Blind River were a significant contributor to the blend, confirming Blind River’s growing reputation as “Rapaura in the south”.

2017 was a challenging vintage for wine growers as conditions were wetter and cooler than usual. This reduced yields by approximately 9% compared to 2016. It also pushed harvest dates back for all varieties. The final wines were more restrained on the nose and the palate but still display distinctive varietal characteristics, as well as a strong sense of place.

The grapes were gently pressed upon arrival at the winery. Each block was fermented individually at controlled temperatures to capture the characteristics of each vineyard parcel. Fruit from the Wairau Valley, provided the classic passion fruit and grapefruit aromas. The remaining grapes from the Awatere Valley, contributed to the lemon, lime and fresh herbal notes. The wine is bottled under screwcap to ensure the freshness of the Sauvignon Blanc is retained.

Tropical fruit, lifted citrus notes and crushed herbs dominate the nose of the 2017 vintage. The wine has juicy acidity, with plenty of palate weight and length. Ripe, tropical fruit flavours of passion fruit, melon and grapefruit linger on the persistent finish.

£13.70
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