New Zealand Sauvignon and Pinot
By Stephen Tanzer
America’s thirst for New Zealand sauvignon blanc continues unabated, but you’ll need this report to select the truly distinctive examples and skip the more generic and interchangeable bottlings. This year’s coverage of New Zealand features more new pinot noirs than ever before.
91 pts – 2011 Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough
Pale, bright yellow. Highly aromatic nose combines grapefruit rind, underripe pineapple, white pepper, fresh herbs and stony minerality. Rich, pliant and fairly full, but with a juicy sappy quality to the orange blossom and spice flavors. In a rather forward style but bright framing acidity gives it definition and thrust. Finishes with excellent length. Greywacke is the new project of sauvignon blanc guru Kevin Judd, who put Cloudy Bay on the map during his 25 years as winemaker there.
91 pts – 2010 Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc Wild Marlborough
(fermented in old barrels with wild yeast): Palish yellow. Sexy aromas of pineapple, pink grapefruit and peach lifted by an ineffable topnote of brown spices. Dense, spicy and deep, boasting terrific tensile strength and energy. Almost chardonnay-like in its textural richness but boasts superb grip, with the wine’s harmonious acidity and sheer stuffing nicely buffering the oak component. Tactile, chewy and very long: this wine remained fresh in the re-capped bottle for days in my refrigerator. Compelling fruit-driven sauvignon.
93pts – 2010 Greywacke Pinot Noir Marlborough
Bright full red. Aromas of black cherry, rooty underbrush and smoky minerality. Smooth and glyceral but at the same time juicy and perfumed, offering lovely concentration to the complex, well-delineated flavors of raspberry, spices, sassafras and underbrush. Best today on the sweet, smoky, very long finish, which shows strong saline soil tones, sappy red fruit notes, fine-grained tannins and excellent grip. Drink or hold.