This vintage displays a slightly cooler twist and lovely minerality. On the nose there are expressive fruit characters of white nectarine, pear and lychee melded with more savoury-spice aromas of almond croissant and ginger. The palate is fine and delicate, with a pure pear-juice character, and a long lingering finish.
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 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 Martinborough, to the north of Wellington. The grapes for this wine come from Waiora, Walnut Ridge, Hau Ariki Marae and Southdowns Estate. Vineyard husbandry is important to Ata Rangi, including leaf plucking to keep the canopies open. Naturally low yields, older vines, small canopies and judicious, labour-intensive hand picking of the entire crop are all factors in producing this uniquely Martinborough style of Sauvignon Blanc. The vineyards are in conversion to organic certification and are accredited as 100% sustainable.
Fruit was hand-picked and crushed with around half given a few hours of cold soak skin-contact before draining and pressing. Four separate ferment components make up the final wine. A small portion of de-stemmed whole berries were loaded into a super-sized oak barrel where the juice fermented in contact with the berry skins. Adding further complexity and savoury notes, around 30% was fermented in neutral oak barrels.
The on-skins component has highlighted beautiful citrus florals, with a hint of fresh fennel and lime zest. The wine has an impressive textural quality with mouth-watering drive and a tight, flinty, satisfyingly long finish.
The previous 2016 vintage was awarded 98 points and ultra-rare Exceptional status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their August 2017 edition review of New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs (see blue links below). It has been one of our biggest sellers of 2017.
The big question is: is the new 2017 be as good as the 2016? We think so, but see also the link below for the word from Auntsfield themselves...
... and the first word from the New Zealand reviewers...
A true cracker of a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc that simply bursts with both quality and flavour.
Marlborough is famous for its two main river valleys, the Wairau and the Awatere, from where many of its great names hail. The Auntsfield plots lie directly between the two, in what is are known as the Southern Valleys. This is a sub-region where the climate is cooler and drier. With its mix of high-mineral Greywacke rock and old, low-fertility Loess clay soils, the Southern Valleys is regarded for its riper styles of wine with more structure, texture and minerality. The Auntsfield vineyard covers 65 hectares and is planted in Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir.
This, the Single Vineyard SB, lies some way above Auntsfield's entry level and is made only from grapes grown on the main Estate. The style is aimed towards texture, complexity and length, balancing the typical Marlborough fruit spectrum and aromatics with richness and mouth feel. Unusually for an NZSB, although the majority of the wine was cool-fermented in stainless steel (standard), this was balanced by a portion of the fruit being subject to traditional winemaking practices: handpicked, whole-bunch-pressed and fermented in seasoned oak barrels, which very materially adds texture, body and length to the wine.
On the nose, it has powerful aromas of fresh passionfruit, ripe citrus and lime, with lesser notes of dried herbs, lemongrass, jalapeno and blackcurrant. It's no exaggeration to say that we at Exel reckon this is one of the most deliciously aromatic NZSBs we have yet encountered.
On the palate, the Auntsfield is truly powerful and yet retains its elegance: it displays intense ripe fruit flavours of passionfruit and white peach, again with citrus notes of lime and mandarin. Minerality is a term all-too-often banded about in these tasting notes, yet there is a decided wet-stone twang here. Overally, the palate has intense concentration and generous weight, balanced by an underlying minerality and tight structure. All of which is to say: "glorious".
Bright lifted herbals, fennel, blackcurrant and lemon. Fruit salad entry over a base of apple, nice herbals again with mineral and citrus on the finish. Creamy mid-palate.
Awarded 89 points and Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their August 2017 edition review of New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs (see blue link below).
A classic expression of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc but one which offers complexity of texture and a mineral drive reminiscent of river stones and sea spray. Blackcurrant, guava and passionfruit aromas emerge alongside subtle hints of lemongrass. On the palate, it is focused and vibrant while remaining elegantly balanced and distinctly salty.
It’s 20 years now since Steve and Barbara Green established the first of Carrick’s vineyard plantings on the Cairnmuir terraces at Bannockburn in Central Otago, extending the estate four years later. What was at the time a tangle of wild thyme and briar roses has become one of the region’s most successful producers. Francis Hutt wisely spent a year in the vineyards with viticulturist Blair Deaker before taking over as Carrick’s winemaker in 2011. A devotee of organic and biodynamic wines, he took particular pride in taking charge of Carrick’s first organic bottlings in 2012. Meanwhile, Steve Green somehow combines the roles of owner, general manager, assistant winemaker, marketer and overseas traveller with a position on the board of Wine New Zealand.
After gentle whole-bunch pressing, the chardonnay juice was gravity feed into French oak barrels, (10% new) with a high grape solids content to add interest and texture. All lots were fermented with indigenous yeast and the barrels were stirred daily during fermentation then left to rest and settle over the winter months.
Tropical fruits along with the cool climate attributes of Central Otago combine to make a truly amazing Chardonnay that could rival anything else in the world. It is a flinty elegant wine with good structure and balance. Barrel fermented in French oak.
Perfect with seafood and white meat dishes like chicken pie, prawn linguine and dover sole.
Classic Marlborough pungency and varietal definition. Aromas of white currants, blackcurrants, nettles, and ripe tropical notes including passionfruit. A full palate, which finishes with fresh acidity. Currant and mineral characters linger for minutes.
The forthcoming 2016 vintage has been awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their January 2018 edition article: The Most Exciting Wines of 2017 (see blue link below).
However, the UK importer are not yet releasing the 2016 vintage, preferring to sell through the 2015 first. We are offering the 2015 here and will bring you the 2016 as soon as we can.
Beginning with meticulous site selection and vineyard design started in 1991, Felton Road's story is one of refusal to compromise. A strict 100% estate policy with fully organic and biodynamic viticulture (Demeter certified) ensures that our fruit arrives at the winery as pure as it can be, while our entire estate comes as close to true sustainability as is possible. A commitment to hands off winemaking: gravity flow, wild yeasts, wild malo, an avoidance of fining and filtration all help preserve the wine's expression of its terroir. The result is Riesling, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir which accurately express the authenticity and complexity of our unique vineyards.
Felton Road farms four properties totaling 32 ha in the Bannockburn sub-region of Central Otago. Block 1 is a north facing slope immediately west of Block 3 on The Elms vineyard. Meticulous summer management of a single vertical shoot positioned (VSP) canopy ensures even and early fruit maturity. Shoot thinning, shoot positioning, leaf plucking, bunch thinning and harvest are all carried out by hand to ensure optimum quality fruit. Cover crops are planted between rows to assist in vine balance and to improve soil health and general biodiversity
Riesling from Block 1 was carefully hand-picked followed by whole bunch pressing. The juice was settled overnight followed by a 3 week fermentation with indigenous yeasts. The fermentation was stopped by chilling to balance the high natural acidity with residual sweetness of 67g/L, resulting in the low alcohol of 9.0%. The wine rested on fine lees with minimal processing before bottling in mid-September to highlight the delicate Riesling characters.
Ripe stone fruits, peach and honeydew melon are married to an aromatic infusion of fennel, lemongrass and ginger with distinct florality. The wave of sweet fruit builds in power to reveal an exotic midpalate richness. Although sweet up front, the inviting and fruit-laden mouthfeel is illuminated by a crisp and mineral finish. Surprisingly refreshing with an engaging, lingering intensity and impeccable balance.
Colourfully expressive nose with notes of lemon, white flowers and a wee bit of minerality. Crisp yet well structured acidity balanced with a gorgeous purity of white ripe fruit and a gentle honeysuckle hint on the finish.
Awarded 86 points and Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their August 2017 edition review of New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs (see blue link below).
A classic Marlborough style with a mineral edge. Delivers punchy varietal characters of passion fruit, grapefruit and redcurrant. Texture is enhanced by some barrel ferment and our signature mineral finish is retained. Enjoy with oysters, seafood or vegetarian dishes.
The 2015 vintage was rated number 21 in Decanter's 'Most Exciting Wines of 2016' (www.decanter.com) in their January 2017 edition (see blue link below).
Delicate aromatics reminiscent of beeswax, raspberry, orange blossom and green tea, with some gentle stone-like mineral tones. Elegant, silky palate with low alcohol making the wine light on its feet, and great tension between sugar and acidity. Rich and pure flavours of orange citrus and red summer fruit compote along with crème anglaise carry through into a very long, stony, almost crunchy, mineral finish. Retained carbon dioxide from fermentation adds liveliness.
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.
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.
This is an alternative style of Sauvignon Blanc that is both intricate and textural. An intriguing fusion of homemade apricot jam and lime marmalade is layered with dried tarragon and a doughy, flinty complexity. The palate is loaded with succulent fruit, pithy citrus rind and laced with minerality - a `wild child` Sauvignon with weight and persistence that finishes with a crisp grapefruit twist.