Is Cloudy Bay finally back on form after several lacklustre vintages? So it would appear from this latest release. It’s still a little pricey for what it is, but it’s appealingly fresh and refined, with subtle nettle and gooseberry fruit, a hint of struck match and a long, tapering finish.
A joint venture between J Bouchon of Chile and South African Sauvignon specialist, David Nieuwoudt, this is a wine that lives up t its pre-release hype. Creamy, goosberry and nettley fruit with bags of texture and tangy acidity and a long, elegantly tropical finish with a touch of sweetness.
Made by David Hohnen, the Aussie who created Cloudy Bay Sauvignon, and British Master of Wine Clem Yates, this is a tangy, smoky, reductive style with notes of struck match, citrus and pink grapefruit. It doesn’t taste like a Kiwi Sauvignon, but that’s no bad thing. Taut and refreshing, it shows that Hohnen hasn’t lost his touch with Sauvignon.
There’s been a lot of talk about the 2013 Bordeaux whites being the vintage’s silver lining, but it’s important to remember that there are some appealing older vintage on the market that are already in bottle, this being a case in point. This is quite an opulent Pessac-Léognan, exhibiting flavours of guava and melon, subtle oak, a touch of gunflint and a fat, lees-influenced finish.
Any retailer that sources its Sauternes from Château Coutet (in Barsac) is aiming high and this is a delicious sticky from a vintage that is better known for reds than whites in Bordeaux. This is richer and sweeter than Coutet often tends to be, but it’s still a treat, with flavours of pineapple and barley sugar, medium acidity, subtle oak and rich, honeyed mouthfilling complexity.
Te Koko is made in much smaller quantities than Cloudy Bay’s regular Sauvignon Blanc, and it’s a much more interesting wine, benefiting from wild yeast fermentation in French oak. Some people find the funky flavours a little challenging, but I love them. This is smoky and complex, with yeasty, doughy aromas, pithy grapefruit-like acidity, a touch of wax and gunflint and long, lingering finish. A wine that wouldn’t look out of place in Pessac-Léognan.
Brent Marris’ well-distributed Sauvignon tends to be on a deal more often than not, but even at its full retail price it delivers in the glass, unfurling flavours of passion fruit, gooseberry and melon. Flavoursome stuff at a fair price.
Great to see a supermarket taking a punt on a top white Graves, especially one made by the brilliant Denis Dubourdieu. This lightly oaked blend of 50% Sauvignon Blanc, 47% Semillon and 3% Muscadelle is delicious, boasting notes of struck match, vanilla, pink grapefruit and subtle gooseberry. It’s the kind of wine that ages really well, too.
If you’re bored of identikit Kiwi Sauvignons that taste as if they’ve emerged from the same enormous tank farm, this complex, Loire Valley-like example from one of Central Otago’s best producers will come as a pleasant respite. The estate is much better known for its superlative Pinot Noirs, but this biodynamic white deserves to be (almost) as famous. Fermented in old oak barrels, it has a mealy undertone to set alongside the flavours of lime, cream, grapefruit and gooseberry. It’s a very subtle number that wouldn’t look out of place in Sancerre, thanks to its chalky, palate-tingling freshness.