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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 link below).
Auntsfield Single Vineyard SB 2016 - August 2017 Decanter review
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: this is fully realised in the 2016. 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".
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