New vintage Sauvignons

It's always exciting to notch my first taste of the new vintage with two wines from 2023 making an appearance today in this Sauvignon Blanc lineup.

It’s the trickle before the flood as more and more new releases make their way to market.

Diversity seems to be the byword for today, diversity by region and certainly diversity by style with several capturing that fresh, zesty character so typical of the grape, while others look to sashay down a more food-friendly path.

What was that term ... "different strokes for different folks"?

2023 Craggy Range
Te Muna Martinborough Sauvignon Blanc 

Price RRP $28.95
Rating Very Good to Excellent

Delightful nose of cut 
grass, nettle, 
gooseberry and citrus 
flecks paired with sweet, 
ripe fruit. A core of 
acidity driving the citrus 
and cut grass elements 
on the medium-weight 
frame. With the nettle 
and powerfully tangy 
palate it’s reminiscent of 
Marlborough of old. 
Really grows with 
aeration, building flavour 
while the acidity marries 
nicely, a nice improver.


2022 Misha’s Vineyard
The Starlet Central Otago Sauvignon Blanc 

Price RRP $32
Rating Excellent

Fascinatingly different, 
hints of caramel & 
clotted cream amid 
nettle and wild herb 
notes. Richly textured, 
creamy front palate 
echoing the characters 
on the nose. As it opens 
up, green herb and citrus 
zestiness frame the 
close, while a touch of 
apple comes into play. 
 The richness a great foil 
for food, the raciness 
enhancing aperitif 


2021 Pegasus Bay
Whole Bunch Fermented Sauvignon 

Price RRP $28
Rating Excellent

Bold and pungent nose 
leaps out of the glass. 
Gunflint, wild herbs, 
grilled red pepper, 
smoke, a toasty quality, 
honey and pea-pod with 
time. Coiled power to the 
palate, green bean, pea-
pod and gooseberry 
bound together by crisp 
& vibrant acidity. 
Chewiness and almost 
tannic grip underpinning 
things before the long, 
fresh close. Complexity, 
draws you in.


2021 Te Kano
Central Otago Sauvignon Blanc 

Price RRP $36
Rating Excellent to Outstanding

A slatey/schisty 
influence, truffle shifting 
to orange zest and 
cream before wild herbs 
kick in. Sweet fruit core, 
wisps of toffee, perhaps 
coffee and coconut 
before the grass and 
green herbs get into 
their work. That sweet 
fruit shows tropical 
elements, full of flavour, 
the palate creamy and 
supple with neat acid 
balance. Long, fresh, 
herb fleck close, a 
winning combo.


2022 Montana Marlborough 
Sauvignon Blanc 

Price RRP $19.99
Rating Very Good to Excellent

Immediately SB with its 
pungent cut grass and 
herbs, yet there’s musk, 
perfume and capsicum 
following. Crunchiness 
to the palate, an almost 
tingly quality, apple, 
wild herbs, bramble 
shifting to broad bean. 
A wisp of fruit pith 
chewiness adds to the 
texture. Ripe yet fresh, 
picking up a hint of 
apricot on the close. 
Post reveal, good VFM 
here, lots of appeal.


2023 Jules Taylor 
Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 

Price RRP $25
Rating Excellent

Nice interplay between 
citrus, cut grass/herbs 
and a hint of dry honey, 
perhaps wood smoke 
too, sugar-snap pea 
with aeration. Fresh & 
racy palate, echoing the 
nose, picking up goose
berry  as it opens out. 
Heart on its sleeve stuff, 
classically Marlborough 
SB, just begging to be 
opened and enjoyed. 
The roundness and 
sheer drinkability has 
pushed my score up.


2022 Rockburn
Central Otago Fumé Blanc

Price RRP $36.99
Rating Excellent to Outstanding

A schisty, minerally, 
gravelly influence, nettle 
red apple, flecks of red 
capsicum and pea-pod, 
a smoky nuance.
 A creamy front palate 
before a rush of stony 
minerality, tea leaf, 
stonefuits amid a 
backdrop of green herb, 
a bittersweet hint. 
This might surprise the 
SB purist, but there’s 
such intrigue, character 
and lovely balance. 
Undeniably complex.


2022 Jules Taylor
OTQ Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 

Price RRP $36
Rating Excellent

The nose offers quince, 
grapefruit like citrus, 
capsicum, gooseberry 
and cut grass. The palate 
continues the theme, 
managing a balancing 
act between depth of 
flavour and yet elegance. 
The citrus shifts to 
lemon, the flavours grow 
nicely, filling the mouth, 
adding a wisp of caramel 
with delightful freshness. 
Not trying to be a ball-
tearer, but deceptively