New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, generally speaking, is a grassy, citrusy, mouth-quenching warm weather quaff. I say “generally” because I was recently introduced to alternative styles of NZSB at a seminar featuring renowned winemaker Kevin Judd. Mr. Judd, a pioneering winemaker at Cloudy Bay now heads his own label, Greywacke (pronounced grey-wacky). His Greywacke Wild Sauvignon floored me. Never assume.
Complex. Lush. Savory? The nose offers the citrus, gooseberry and slightly grassy aromas you might expect, but these notes sing in harmony with stone fruit, herbs and even a sweet vanilla tone from the wine’s time spent on the lees in old French oak barriques. I think this aromatic symphony also has something to do with the spontaneous indigenous yeast fermentation. Hence the “wild” in the wine’s name.
It could also have something to do with terroir. Greywacke’s vineyards are in Marlborough, New Zealand’s preeminent location for high quality (and high quantity) Sauvignon Blanc. Marlborough SBs are appreciated for their intense flavor and crispness. Long hours of moderate sunshine and large variations between day and nighttime temperatures allow the grapes to ripen slowly and the flavors to build.
Let’s get to the tasting. Yes, the acid is forthright, crisp and quenching but not overpowering. A strong acidic backbone also lends itself to an ability to age the wine. As a matter of fact, the Greywacke Wild Sauvignon we tasted at the event was a 2013– rich, almost waxy mouthfeel with an amazing depth of flavor. The 2015 offers its own balance of sweet and sour fruit – did I really get apricot jam as well as lime? – along with herbal and anise impressions. Beautiful weight and texture increase your enjoyment through a long finish.
Oh, and the 2015 Greywacke Wild Sauvignon pairs wonderfully with the chewy rich texture of Greg’s scallops in their fennel and saffron broth. Flavors and textures are in synch, contrasted by bright acidity. To be honest, I stopped taking notes at this point, I was enjoying the experience too much. Fortunately, I’ll have an opportunity to analyze further in a couple of years– I bought a second bottle to lay down. KEN
I discovered this wine at a media event hosted by New Zealand Wines. All opinions are my own.
Also pairs well with seafood, fish, oysters, goat cheese, asparagus, artichoke
- Category White Wine
- Varietal Sauvignon Blanc
- Region Marlborough New Zealand