New Zealand: Taking it to the Next Level
Lisa Perrotti-Brown, MW
The Wine Advocate: Issue #203
New Zealand has emerged in the last couple of decades as one of the leading producers in the world of Sauvignon Blanc and more recently Pinot Noir. Perhaps not in terms of sheer volumes but when we consider how much wine the country produces (1% of global production) compared to how much it exports (the world’s 10th largest exporter in terms of value), the popularity of this country’s 8th most important export commodity is right there in black and white. But consumers don’t need the figures to be aware of the impact that New Zealand has had on driving global demand for Sauvignon and fueling the desire for Pinot Noir. The wines have a clear visible presence on retailer shelves and on restaurant wine lists throughout the major wine importing nations. So why are wines from these NZ grapes so successful? Simply because they are what they are – consistently, reliably, affordably so. Consumers now know precisely what they’re getting when they buy a NZ Sauvignon or a Pinot and they’re willing to pay a little more for that reassurance and dare I say predictability. Sighs of relief are virtually expelled from guests at restaurant tables around the world when the host orders a NZ Sauvignon or Pinot because they know they’re not going to be disappointed. Problem is they’re too often not expecting to be overly excited either. New Zealand Sauvignons and Pinots are good and sometimes very good, but when are they occasionally going to be legs-a-quiver, heart-thumpingly great?
“Next Level” New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs for the cellar:
Dog Point 2010 Section 94
Cloudy Bay 2009 Te Koko
Mission Estate 2011 Reserve Sauvignon Blanc
Greywacke 2010 Wild Ferment Sauvignon Blanc
Matahiwi 2011 Holly Sauvignon Blanc
Astrolabe 2011 Taihou Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc
Martinborough Vineyard 2012 Burnt Spur Sauvignon Blanc
Auntsfield 2011 South Oaks Barrel Fermented Sauvignon Blanc
Spy Valley 2010 Envoy Sauvignon Blanc
92+ pts – 2010 Greywacke Wild Sauvignon
The 2010 “Wild Sauvignon” has intense grapefruit, lemon curd and white peach notes with an enticing yeasty and toasty undercurrent with nuances of baking bread, honeyed brioche and marzipan. The palate brings a lovely suggestion of creaminess to the texture, with a refreshing acid line and a long finish. It’s built to age and should cellar gracefully to 2017+.
92 pts – 2010 Greywacke Chardonnay
The 2010 Chardonnay reveals lovely orange peel, pink grapefruit and meal nose with hints of sulphides, honeysuckle and ginger. Full-bodied, rich and silken, it has a good, crisp acid line, tons of citrus fruit and toast flavor and a long finish. Beautifully balanced throughout, consider drinking it now through 2017.
90+ pts – 2011 Greywacke Late Harvest Riesling
The 2011 Late Harvest Riesling presents a youthful nose with a little SO2 poking out over the vibrant citrus and peach aromas, plus a hint of orange blossom. Sweet, rich, luscious and viscous, it has crisp acid beautiful concentration and a long finish. It still needs time for the SO2 to marry into the wine and should drink best 2013 to 2017+.
90pts – 2010 Greywacke Pinot Noir
Pale ruby-purple in color, the 2010 Pinot Noir shows vibrant red cherry and red raspberry notes with hints of cinnamon stick, cloves and tree bark. Medium to full-bodied, it is quite elegant and well poised in the mouth, with a low to medium level of fine tannins, a crisp acid backbone and a long finish. Drink it now to 2016.
90 pts – 2011 Greywacke Riesling
The 2011 Riesling displays aromas of fresh green apple slices, lemon peel and lime juice with touches of grapefruit peel and jasmine. Light-bodied, it is a very crisp style with great intensity, a little sweetness and a long finish. Approachable now, it should cellar gracefully to 2017+.
89 pts – 2011 Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc
Greywacke’s 2011 Sauvignon Blanc reveals lemon pastille, lime leaf and grapefruit notes with hints of passion fruit and peach blossoms. Light to medium-bodied, it is very elegant with good intensity of fruit, vibrant acidity and a long, chalky finish. Drink it now through 2014.
88 pts – 2011 Greywacke Pinot Gris
The 2011 Pinot Gris has ripe pear, apple slices and baking bread notes over mace and peach blossoms. Full and rich, it has an oily texture with a touch of residual sugar that is nicely countered by crisp acid before finishing long.