Country: New Zealand Region: Marlborough
Varietal: Sauvignon Blanc
Vintage: 2016 Colour: White Style: Dry
92 points Raymond Chan
Fruit from a 0.4 ha block of estate vines, around 8 y.o., indigenous yeast fermented, 65% in seasoned oak and the remainder in stainless-steel barrels to 13.0% alc. and 2.4 g/L RS, the wine aged 10 months on lees without MLF. Brilliant, light straw-yellow colour with pale green-gold hues. This has an elegantly concentrate and intense bouquet with complex aromas of greengages, nectarines and green stonefruits entwined with spicy herbs and subtle, savoury, nutty and smoky barrel-ferment elements. The aromatics grow in density and firmness with aeration. Medium-bodied, this has a tight core of savoury and spicy green stonefruits melded with herb and nutty, smoky layers. This has concentration and drive, and the wine flows along a very fine-textured line with integrated acidity. The palate has richness and a near creaminess to the mouthfeel and carries to a finish that blooms in complexing spice and oak detail. This is a complex, soft and finely concentrated, oak-influenced Sauvignon Blanc. Serve with Mediterranean cuisine and herb-marinated poultry and pork over the next 3 years. Only 1,733 bottles made.
Fruit comes from Framingham’s Wairau estate vineyard. The usual core fruit (from the once acre “Quail Trail” block) for this wine was lost to frost in 2016, so two other sections of older fruit on the estate, one in north-south orientation, the other in east-west, were used for this vintage. The east-west orientated Sauvignon Blanc has a “green” side to the canopy and a “ripe” side. The green side sees very little sun during the day, whereas the ripe side has sun for most of the day. Ripe side fruit was hand selected for this wine, with a portion of green side being picked a little bit later. The wine also has a hand selected portion from the north-south rows.
Heat summation data for the 2015/6 growing season shows it to be second hottest only to 1997/8 for recent vintages. Weather was stable and relatively dry under El Niño conditions into March. Generally favourable weather over the harvest allowed the team to pick ripe grapes with well developed late season flavours.
Hand-picked fruit was subjected to several different treatments. 20% of the wine was fermented on skins as with red winemaking; one parcel was given some skin contact before pressing and another was whole bunch pressed. No sulphur dioxide was used in the juice. The wine was all spontaneously fermented, 70% in barrels and puncheons. The overall breakdown is 30% stainless steel, 20% acacia puncheon and 50% older French oak barriques. The wine was on full lees for 10 months and the barrel portion was aged for 10 months, before the final wine was blended and bottled.