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 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. Lean, stony soils are low in vigour and fertility. 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 wine has a pale lemon yellow colour and a bouquet reminiscent of green figs with hints of gooseberries and an intrusion of green peppers. The wine is dry, full bodied and has a long lingering finish.
The estate was founded in 1980 by Alain Caïlbourdin and today it has of 20 hectares (approximately 40 acres) of vines planted in some of the best Pouilly-Fumé slopes. About half of the vines are "vieilles vignes" or old vines; the other half are vines planted after 1980. Grapes grown on the different slopes are vinified separately, thus permitting the production of four different cuvees, each of which represents a distinctive terroir and aromatic expression. Their constant quest for quality is evident throughout the entire winemaking process, from the vineyard to the cellar.
A wine can only be great if it has the mineral support of a quality terroir. The art of the winemaking profession consists of giving the grapes all the possible chances to reveal their qualities.
After the grapes have been picked, they undergo immediate pressing with a pneumatic press, with no pre-fermentation maceration. There is static racking of the must. Fermentation using indigenous yeasts to highlight the qualities of our terroir is done at controlled temperatures. There is no malolactic fermentation in order to preserve this wine's freshness. It then spends a long time maturing in tanks on its fine lees. It is bottled the year following the harvest.
The special terroir of this plateau (a mixture of silica sand and limestone), brings a vivacity to the Cuvée de Boisfleury and a freshness that is fantastic in this wine when young. Its aromas are very expressive and are essentially fruity with citrus (grapefruit), passion fruit, and floral (rose petals and white flowers). This young vineyard bestows Cuvée de Boisfleury with a light structure that marries easily with many meals: fish and seafood of course, but it is equally delicious with white meats and certain cured meats and also makes a delightful aperitif. Cuvée de Boisfleury is an easy to drink Pouilly-Fumé, fruity, elegant and beautifully delicate.
Light, elegant soft fruit nose. Fine citrus and herbaceous notes. Pure acidity holds the wine together very well and the finish is precise and long. An incredible clean, fresh and impressively well balanced Pouilly Fume.
A pale lemon green in colour, there are aromas are of gooseberries, cut grass and elderflower. On the palate it is very fresh flavours of pineapple and passion fruit and a light and refreshing finish. A fruity easy drinking wine, perfect as an aperitif.
Château Los Boldos was founded in 1991 and is situated 100km south of Santiago in the foothills of the Cachapoal Andes. Working with a portion of old vines originally planted in 1948, the focus from the onset has been on the production of premium wines. The estate has been transformed since it was purchased by Sogrape in 2008. Renowned soil scientist and viticultural consultant Pedro Parra (of Clos des Fous) was brought in to assess the plots and match the right variety to the different soils around the estate. The type of rootstock, planting density, orientation and the frequency of irrigation were all within Pedro’s remit, and the results are now being seen in the wines, especially since Victor Arce, previously of Perez Cruz, joined as winemaker in 2015.
Los Boldos has 170 hectares of vineyards which benefit from a Mediterranean climate. The clear, bright skies during the summer and the high diurnal temperature range are ideal for growing fruit that maintains fresh acidity whilst ripening to perfection. The nearby Cachapoal river also moderates temperatures, while stony alluvial soils in the vineyard ensure low yields. Los Boldos makes wine exclusively from their own vineyards, therefore controlling everything from grape to bottle.
Much-needed rain in winter replenished water levels in the vineyard. This was followed by a dry period, which prompted slow ripening, allowing for good flavour accumulation and the dry conditions ensured there was little disease pressure. 2018 was a good vintage across most of Chile for both quality and quantity.
The must was fermented at a cool 13-15°C for a lengthy three week period in stainless steel tanks to retain crisp, clean varietal flavours. It rested for another three months in tank with no malolactic fermentation. The resulting wine is zesty and fresh with a bright fruit profile.
This wine is bright pale yellow in colour with youthful hues. On the nose, it has fresh citrus fruit and orange blossom aromas. The concentrated fruit flavours are vibrant and lively on the palate, and the finish is crisp and fruity.
The Clements family who are behind Domaine Châtenoy have combined their expertise, their commitment to the environment and an exceptionnal terroir to produce wines known and recognized for their finesse, clean style and intense aromas. The Clements has been wine-producers for a very long time - the family are documented as wine producers in in Menetou-Salon as early as 1560.
Menetou is the lesser known of the three towns in the world famous Sauvignon Blanc heartland of the Loire valley. Although Menetou is not as recognisable a name as Sancerre or Pouilly, you will certainly recognise the style of this mineraly, smokey Sauvignon Blanc. The average age of the vines is between 20 and 40 years old, planted on calcareous clay soil and south/southwest exposure.
After harvest the grapes are sorted, then the whole-berries are pneumatically pressed. The juice then undergoes cold stabilisation. Indigenous yeasts are used to ensure a spontaneous fermentation in temperature controlled stainless steel vats. The wine is then matured on its fine lees and is bottled from spring onwards. As this wine is made in a traditional way, there is no oak contact.
Lively citrus and grassy herb aromas. The palate is medium to light in body, dry and with good limey acidity that magnifies the citrus and mineral characters. Lengthy, clean and absolutely no oak on this 100% Sauvignon Blanc.
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.
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.
Awarded a Gold Medal and 95 points at the 2018 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).
Craggy Range produces a collection of iconic wines from multiple regions in New Zealand. Owner Terry Peabody and his family pursued the single vineyard approach to winemaking, planting on green fields and bare land ensuring a focus on quality from the very beginning. New Zealand, with its diversity of soils types offered the perfect location to plant the vines. From the stony, warm soils of the Gimblett Gravels in Hawke's Bay to the volcanic, clay soils of Te Muna Road in Martinborough these exceptional vineyards produce wines with amazing aromatics, purity and complexity.
Grown on the lower terrace at Te Muna Road, this wine shows a unique level of texture and complexity. The cooler climate of Martinborough ensures the wine is aromatic with steely minerality while the rocky soils gives intensity of the fruit.
Around 90% of the grapes used to make this wine are destemmed. It is then fermented using a combination of stainless steel tanks, French oak cuves & French oak barriques. The yeasts used are a mix of innoculated and indigenous.
This wine has a pale lemon straw colour. There are vibrant aromas of nectarine, green apple, honeysuckle and a hint of nettle. Lovely precision on the palate with a core of zesty fruit and a long satisfyingly dry textural finish. Matt Stafford, Chief Winemaker says: "We chase complexity in our Sauvignon... you can literally smell the meadow and taste the flintiness of the rock in these wines."
This wine is made using automatic pressing, Then it is allowed to settle in cool temperature-controlled vats (18° to 20°C). It is matured in temperature controlled stainless steel vats under an inert gas. Then the wine undergoes ageing on fine lees for 6 months.
This Sauvignon is pale yellow in colour. It has an expressive nose with grapefruit nuances, going on to reveal overtones of ripe fruit such as mango and peach when swirled in the glass. This wine is rich, well balanced, and delicious on the palate, with white fruit and white flower nuances.
Awarded 94 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their November 2017 edition review of Australia's "Other" Whites (see blue link below).
Cullen Wines is a certified biodynamic, carbon neutral and naturally powered estate, with their philosophy summed up in three simple words; ‘Quality, Integrity and Sustainability’. It is one of the oldest and most awarded family wineries in Wilyabrup, in Western Australia’s famous Margaret River region. First established in 1971 by Dr Kevin and Diana Cullen and now run by their daughter Vanya, the winery has built an outstanding reputation for fine certified biodynamic wines that receive critical national and international acclaim. All wines produced are sourced from grapes grown on the Cullen and adjoining Mangan Estates. Both are certified biodynamic, to allow the soil to be nurtured and the wines to reflect their sense of place.
Although the weather in 2014 leading up to and during the vintage was warm, the fruit produced by all varieties was exceptional. There was no rain in January, February and not even until the end of harvest in March. The resulting low yields, balanced pH and great acid levels translated into wines of great flavour and style.
Harvest in 2014 delivered Semillon fruit of outstanding quality. The grapes at the Mangan vineyard were hand picked and sorted before being pressed and naturally fermented with no acid additions and limited fining.
This wine has ripe tropical and citrus notes which are prominent on the nose. The palate shows attractive florality, white peach, citrus and pineapple nuances with an underlying minerality.
Family owned d’Arenberg is located in the breathtaking McLaren Vale in South Australia, and produces an enviable range of wines. From humble beginnings, these wines quickly gained cult status amongst imbibers and judges alike – it’s a deft combination of winemaking tradition and vinous innovation. A tall order for some, but one that d’Arenberg takes in their stride as they continue to push the boundaries and get under the skin of each individual vineyard in order to get the best from the vines. This is backed up by an engaging consumer-friendly approach to the ‘deadly serious fun’ of wine.
D'Arenberg's own tasting notes for this wine are excellent, so please click the blue link below to see all this wine's details.
Brothers Hernán and Eduardo Gras, along with partner Cristián Hartwig gave life to the Mont Gras winery in 1993, combining state of the art technology with the talent and passion of a very special group of people. With the inspiration of Hernán, who had a long winemaking trajectory in Canada, along with the entrepreneurial vision of his brother Eduardo and Cristián's pragmatic businesses view, they made a perfect combination that has converted MontGras into one of the major wine groups of Chile, with presence in the main wine regions of the country – Colchagua, Maipo and Leyda-, along with a high participation in international markets.
Grapes were handpicked in the morning and kept cool until pressing to conserve the fresh fruit. The free-run juice was kept separate from the press to preserve the highest quality achievable. The must was fermented at low temperatures of 12º C in stainless steel for approximately 15 days. The wine was filtered and fined before bottling.
Clear and bright in the glass with an aromatic nose that offers herbaceous characters alongside gooseberry, lychee and lemon aromas. The palate is dry, medium bodied and clean as a whistle as the grassy, lemon lime flavours are encouraged with a crisp structure that makes for a dangerously easy drinking, refreshing wine.
Brothers Hernán and Eduardo Gras, along with partner Cristián Hartwig gave life to the Mont Gras winery in 1993, combining state of the art technology with the talent and passion of a very special group of people. The De Gras “Star Man” reflects the magic, the sky and stars in the agricultural and winemaking cycles, giving life to wines that express the work done by the farmers who have close ties with the land.
Please click on the blue link below for the excellent, most recent fiche technique / technical note on this wine from the winemakers themselves.