REVIEW: Simple sauvignons being taken up a notch or two

While there are few bad New Zealand sauvignons these days (except perhaps at the very bottom of the ladder), it has to be admitted that most are simple wines
driven by oodles of fruit and a lively zesty finish and tend to be boring after a glass or two.

Some winemakers aim to make more complex wine by leaving it on lees (the sediment
from fermentation) or fermenting the wine or a portion of it in barrels, sometimes with wild yeasts.

In the most successful, the oak contributes to the texture and a green, flinty
minerality, rather than a nutty, buttery flavour which tends to be more characteristic of chardonnay.

If anyone doubted sauvignon blanc could be capable of more than simple fruit, some of the intriguingly complex wines like Dog Point Section 94 and Cloudy Bay Te Koko would
demonstrate the complexities of which Marlborough is capable.


Vavasour Awatere Sauvignon Blanc 2007 (about $21) is one of the most delicious Marlborough sauvignons I've tasted this year - floral and funky with a pungent aroma that leaps out of the glass, oodles of tropical fruit, fresh guava, passionfruit, gooseberry and melon, but with texture and some complexity and a beautifully balanced, lingering finish.

5 stars (out of five)



Tohu Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2007 (about $18) is a lively zesty wine, with layers of mineral, intense tropical fruit, passionfruit and fresh guava, and a bright crisp, lingering finish.

4 stars (out of five)



Isabel Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2007 (about $23).

Not as assertive as some Marlborough sauvignons, this is fragrant with hints of tinned peas, ripe sweet, textural fruit that fills the mouth, and a long aftertaste.

A portion has been barrel-fermented.

3 1/2 stars (out of five)


Seresin Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2007 (about $25).

Seresin also does Marama, an oaked sauvignon which suggests vanilla ($38) but I preferred this stylish wine, which is only partly barrel-fermented and includes some semillon in its mix.

It oozes green fruits and mineral, is mouthfilling and stylish with a crisp, lingering finish.

4 stars (out of five)

Dog Point Section 94 2005 (about $33) is a wonderfully full-on wine, pungent and funky with a bouquet of herbs and greenery, smoky, fruits suggesting melon, fresh guava,
ripe capsicum and honeydew melon, an oily texture and a juicy lingering finish.

An exciting wine but not for the fainthearted.

It will develop in the bottle for several more years.

4 stars (out of five)


Cloudy Bay Te Koko 2005 (about $44) oozes wonderfully oily, pungent aromas, with layers of intense green fruits, ripe guavas, tinned asparagus, citrus, capsicum and spice,
all intertwined with exciting complexities, smoky oak and a long aftertaste.

4 1/2 stars (out of five)




Add a Comment


Ask a Chef Recipe Book ON SALE NOW! $29.99

The all-new Ask a Chef is available now! With fantastic recipes from the popular newspaper series, there is inspiration for everything from salads to chocolate cakes and quiches to sausage rolls - sure to impress at your next family or social gathering!

With a delicious mix of recipes from around the region including Riverstone Kitchen and Fleur's Place, there is something for everyone. Get your copy of Ask a Chef today !


Buy now from ODT Shop 

ODT subscriber only price - $25