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 20-year-old vines are trained on a two cane VSP (Vertical Shoot Positioning) trellis with careful shoot and bunch thinning carried out.
Residual sugar = 19.5g/litre (ie off-dry).
To see an excellent information sheet and tasting note for this wine produced by the team at Greywacke, please click on the blue link below.
This wine has intense aromas of honeydew melon and tangerine infused with kaffir lime leaves and honeysuckle flowers. On the palate, there are notes of freshly grated ginger and juniper berries. An invigorating off-dry style that delivers a great balance of bright, natural acidity with a subliminal touch of sweetness.
ABV = 12.5%.
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 greywacke river stones, to the older and denser clay-loams of the Southern Valleys.
A wet, mild spring ensured soil moisture levels were topped up and the growing season raced off to a frost-free start. Intermittent rain in late spring brought ideal growing conditions, but cool periods during December resulted in variable fruit set. Sauvignon Blanc set with small, open bunches, leading to modest yields. The new year brought sunny, settled weather with no significant rain for the first two months. In typical Marlborough fashion the hills to the south became parched and the dry conditions necessitated careful management of water resources. The drought was partially quenched by a brief period of rain in early March just after harvest had commenced, evoking considerable anxiety, but thankfully was followed by more settled weather. All varieties were harvested at optimum ripeness, albeit lower yields than expected. In all an excellent, dry season that provided superb quality grapes, with great concentration.
Harvested largely by machine during cool (often cold) night-time conditions, the Sauvignon Blanc grapes were picked into half-tonne bins, 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. All individual vineyard batches were left on lees and kept separate until late July, when the blend was assembled.
100% Sauvignon Blanc.
Yellow- fleshed peaches, rock melon and blackcurrant alongside lemon icing, chamomile and hints of rose petal – this is a delicately perfumed and deliciously ripe-fruited interpretation of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. The palate is both subtle and textural, showing considerable ripeness and concentration, with a crisp and long, juicy finish.
ABV = 13.5%.
The 2015 vintage was awarded 93 points and Highly 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)...
James Millton is a living legend in the New Zealand wine scene. A pioneer of organic and biodynamic winemaking, he has ploughed his own furrow for three decades, quietly convinced that his sustainable approach to viticulture and winemaking was the only way to progress.
The Millton winery's own tasting notes for this wine are excellent, so please click the blue link below to see all this wine's details.
ABV = 12.5%.
The 2018 vintage (not yet available in the UK) was awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter in their July 2019 panel tasting of Oaked New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs (see blue link below).
"Moderately weighty and flavoursome Sauvignon Blanc with rock melon, guava and capsicum flavours. Soft, fruity acidity, with a silken texture and just a hint of sweetness. Impressive purity."
92 Points, Bob Campbell, MW, 14 Feb 2018
Established in 1992, the Dicey family owns some of the oldest vineyards in the Bannockburn region of Central Otago on the famous Felton Road and have acquired land over the last ten years to build up to over 40 hectares, including six single vineyard sites. Their portfolio vineyards spans Central Otago from Gibbston to Lowburn Valley and on to Bendigo home still under Mount Difficulty at Bannockburn.
Central Otago provides New Zealand’s only continental climate, combined with unique soils ideally suited for growing Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris. The Bannockburn area, in particular, is one of the few sites outside of Burgundy that lends itself to the growing of the pernickety Pinot Noir grape; Mt Difficulty craft wines in the Burgundian style whilst stamping the uniqueness of the terroir to produce structured and serious wines. Not content with growing superb Pinot Noir, they are also known for their aromatic whites and grape varieties such as their grower series Lowburn Chardonnay and Estate Chenin Blanc.
Winemaker-in-chief Matt Dicey has a lifelong association with the wine industry and is a fourth-generation vigneron. After achieving a Masters Degree in Oenology and Viticulture, Matt spent four years gaining experience overseas.
As with all New Zealand wines, Mt Difficulty adhere to strict sustainability practices and constantly strive towards organic production.
Mount Difficulty is the name on the leading wines. The ‘second label’ is named Roaring Meg; these wines are produced in a more fruit-driven, early-drinking style and have become a mainstay of the Mt Difficulty stable since their introduction in 2003.
See the blue link below for the excellent fiche technique/technical note from the team at Mt Difficulty.
This wine is 100% Sauvignon Blanc.
Hand harvested from the Templars Hill Vineyard in the Bannockburn area of Central Otago. The grapes are gently pressed and cold fermented in stainless steel and left on its lees for two months to retain maximum varietal fruit character and complexity. Herbaceous aromas combine with ripe gooseberry on the nose. The palate is full of citrus and grapefruit flavours intermingled with cut grass and a long tropical fruit finish.
ABV = 14.0%.
Established in the early 1990s, Seresin is one of New Zealand’s finest wine producers as well as a leading name in organic and biodynamic production. Cinematographer Michael Seresin (Bugsy Malone, Midnight Express, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and Gravity) had his passion for wine ignited after exploring Italy during visits to his second home in the hills of Tuscany. Employing a traditional, gentle and philosophical approach to winemaking, everything on the Seresin estate is hand-tended and hand-harvested using as little intervention as possible. Based in the sunny heart of Marlborough, they aim to put more back into the soil than they take out, building strong vines and promoting biodiversity. Seresin Estate encompasses not only the vines and olive groves, but also pasture land, livestock, vegetable gardens and orchards, as well as native vegetation.
The hand-print is a symbol of Seresin's philosophy to work traditionally and with nature to create wines. Seresin Estate is a new world winery with an old world approach. Seresin wines are sourced from three vineyard sites, all of which are certified as Organic (Biogro) and Biodynamic (Demeter). The three vineyards have their own unique characters and produce fruit that adds to the complexity and interest.
The certified organic fruit was hand-picked from the rich, clay-based slopes of the biodynamically-certified Raupo Creek vineyard in the Omaka Valley. Fruit was hand-sorted and whole bunch pressed straight into barrel. Each parcel was naturally fermented in 26% new French oak, and went through naturally occurring malolactic fermentation. After 11 months in oak, the wine was blended and transferred to puncheons for a further 5 months. Unfined and only slightly filtered.
Seresin taste all their Chardonnay barrels a year after vintage, selecting the best and most interesting to become the Reserve.
For more full detail on this wine, see the blue link below for the fiche technique/technical note from Seresin themselves.
This Chardonnay Reserve is a wine full of concentration and poise. It has a broad mouthfeel, backed with firm acidity and salty minerality. The nose is savoury and complex, with finely-balanced oak and just a hint of warm orchard fruit. Being based around firm acidity and structure, this wine will age gracefully.
ABV = 13.5%.
The 2016 vintage was awarded 95 points and Outstanding 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).
Te Kairanga is one of the oldest and best-positioned vineyards in Martinborough. Its vineyards are located on free-draining land once owned by the founding father of Martinborough, John Martin. In the late 1800s. John Martin laid out the first streets of Martinborough in the pattern of the Union Flag naming them after places he had visited: as a result the best streets to take to reach the Te Kairanga vineyards from the town square include Oxford, Cork, Regent and New York.
For chief winemaker John Kavanagh there is nothing more important than endeavouring to produce wines that display the characteristics of their vineyard source. The motto at Te Kairanga is "We strive to ensure that each wine we produce shows a clear sense of place."
Constructed in 2002, the state-of-the-art winery at Te Kairanga is the perfect spot for their estate-grown fruit to become great quality wine. With multiple small fermenters and a mechanical gravity system, the winemaking team can preserve vineyard and varietal integrity by handling the fruit in the gentlest way possible.
See blue link below for more detail, via the fiche technique/technical note from the winemakers at Te Kairanga.
This Riesling is a brilliant lime gold colour with aromas of jasmine, meadow flowers, citrus and peaches. Enticing ripe Meyer lemon, floral and mineral flavours lead to a refreshing, zingy finish.
ABV = 11.5%.
Awarded a Gold medal and 95 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details)
Since its inception in 1993, partners John Hancock, who has been making wine in New Zealand for over 35 years, and Robert and Robyn Wilson, owners of The Bleeding Heart and The Don in London, have made Trinity Hill a byword for quality and consistency. Winemaker Warren Gibson has been with Trinity Hill since 1997. He is also in charge of the 80 hectares of vineyard owned by Trinity Hill, of which 47 are in the Gimblett Gravels.
The Gimblett Gravels, planted on the former bed of the Ngaruroro River, is now a highly sought after sub-region renowned for the quality of its wines. The Trinity Hill wines have an elegance, balance, drinkability and precision of flavour. This estate was one of the first to plant grapes on the Gimblett Gravels in 1993. The Gimblett Gravels winegrowing area is a small sub-region in the Hawkes Bay, defined by a very unique stony soil type. This wine is sourced from Estate grown grapes in the Tin Shed and Winery vineyards.
2017 was a remarkable vintage in Hawkes Bay. A moderate spring with low frost risk and generally good flowering led to an extremely dry and warm summer, recording above average temperatures in January and February before rainy weather came in late February followed by humid conditions with heavy rainfall from March to May.
Hand-harvested fruit was gently pressed and fermented with indigenous yeast in 500-litre French oak puncheons. The wild yeast helped to add complexity and texture. Malolactic fermentation was encouraged to soften acidity and give further richness. The wine was aged for 11 months in large 500-litre puncheons (of which 40% were new). This was followed by a further four months in tank on lees.
The wine has flavours of citrus, white flowers and ripe grapefruit. The style is mid-weight with elegant oak providing texture and lingering flavours of cashew, roasted almond and gun flint. The structure has a tight shape with the finesse and concentration that are hallmarks of Trinity Hill Chardonnay. It displays delicacy but richness and the beautifully linear acidity makes it a fantastic match with food.
As a general guide, don't expect this to be a 'fat' or 'lush' Chardonnay, eg of a rich Californian nature. This is more towards the more mineral/citrus/Chablis end of the Chadonnay style.
ABV = 13.0%.
** CURRENTLY UK-EXCLUSIVE TO EXEL AND OFFERED FOR THE FIRST TIME HERE **
"Fragrant and feminine with aromas of sweet mandarin and red apple, some florals rose layers and fresh wet rock soil ideas. Dry on the palate with vibrant acidity then flavours of citrus – both lime and lemon, some barley sugar and apples. Wild flowers and honeysuckle, long finish, a great aperitif and very tasty wine. Drink now and through 2030".
94 Points, Cameron Douglas MW
"Bright, very pale straw-yellow colour, a little lighter on the rim. The nose is fresh with taut and finely concentrated, bright aromas of lime fruit with subtle notes of white florals, honeysuckle and suggestions of toasty nuances. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate is tightly bound with an elegantly concentrated core of lime fruit, white florals and minerals with suggestions of honey and toast, The palate is crisp with a fine-textured line of fruit extract and phenolics, with underlying thirst-quenching acidity. The wine has very good linearity and carries to a long, lingering, soft-textured, dry finish. This is a taut and finely concentrated dry Riesling with lime, floral and mouthwatering mineral flavours on a dry, textural palate with good linearity. Serve as an aperitif and with shellfish over the next 4-5 years. Hand-picked fruit, WBP and cool-fermented to 12.0% alc. and 6.0 g/L RS, TA 8.2 g/L and pH 3.0. Certified BioGro organic".
18.0+/20, Raymond Chan, Dec 2017
Proudly family-owned, Urlar Estate produces outstanding single vineyard wines using organic and biodynamic principles. Urlar is a Gaelic word that means “the Earth”. Their desire is to bring an abundance of life back to our ancient soils so that the drinker can discover the purity of flavour inherent in the land. Their journey from the highlands of Scotland to the stony soils and cool climate of Gladstone, Wairarapa has cemented a love for all things pure and true.
Only some 175 cases of this are made each year!
In the vineyard, in keeping with traditional techniques, the grapes were hand harvested with each bunch passing over a sorting table to ensure only the ripest of bunches were selected. The bunches were then gently pressed to avoid unattractive phenolics.
In the cellar, aromatic (German) yeasts - together with low fermentation temperatures - ensured the uniqueness of flavours from the site were captured. After a period on its lees (for 5 months) to add mid-palate weight and texture the wine was carefully filtered for bottling.
In homage to its stony origins, this dry styled Riesling has an underlying mineral thread throughout. Aromas include lime zest, granny smith apples and citrus which combine beautifully with a rich palate texture. A tight mineral thread runs the length of the palate making it delicious to drink now although cellaring for five years or more will be richly rewarded. It stands up well to lightly spiced tapas, Asian food and handles strong cheeses well.
Residual sugar is around 6-7g/litre - so on the cusp between dry and off-dry.
ABV = 12.0%.