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Home Winners > Winners 2015 > VARIETAL CLASSICS: New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc

Winner Details

Varietal Classics: New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc


2015: Gold 3 Silver 5 Bronze 11 Commended 3
2014: Gold 2 Silver 7 Bronze 2 Commended 5


That there has been (or that there is underway) a stylistic shift in Kiwi Sauvignon now seems indisputable. A few years ago, our tasters detected the odd move towards restraint and minerality – Loire-like leafiness over full-on tropical in-yer-face-ness – particularly at the upper end. This year, even in this sub-£12 section, the stylistic split was probably close to 50/50. Some thought the public would be confused and would prefer the old-style Marlborough Sav; others liked the food-friendliness on offer.

You pays your money and takes your choice. But either way, this seems increasingly to be an area where the winemakers are masters of their craft.

FOOTNOTE: The price limit for the Varietal Classics category is £12 ex-VAT. NZ Sauvignon Blanc can also be entered in the relevant New World Sauvignon Blanc category.

SWA Spotlight

Another Gold for Tinpot Hut in the Varietal Classics section, following up its Pinot Grigio with a Kiwi Sauvignon.

 

From the Tasting Teams


‘The difference between "in" and "out" here was reductive or clumsy winemaking, but there wasn’t much of that.’ Angela Reddin, team leader

‘Some were more Loire-like than I was expecting. I think punters like to know what they are getting.’ Sam Caporn MW, consultant

‘Kiwi Sauvignon is our biggest seller. I think they should be careful of going too much down the “restraint” route.’ Guillaume Mahaut, The Jugged Hare

‘Overall, there was a bit more restraint in the styles, with the best wines showing more texture; food-leaning wines, without the explosive aromatics.’ Martin Lam, team leader

‘On the list we are looking for freshness and intensity, but more restrained, textured styles that will pair with food and not overwhelm the flavours in the dish. There has clearly been a lot of evolution towards such styles in New Zealand.’ Roger Jones, The Harrow at Little Bedwyn

‘New Zealand has really found its feet as the styles of Sauvignon Blanc evolve. The newer styles can be very good food wines.’ Michael Harrison, consultant

‘A lot of overly sweet wines, targeting the Coca Cola generation. Some of these should come with a health warning.’
Maxwell Allwood, Alimentum

Award winners

Found 22 wines

Varietal Classics: NZ Sauvignon Blanc - <£12 ex-VAT

Yealands, Estate, Single Vineyard, Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Awatere Valley, Marlborough, New Zealand

Gold medal winner

‘Delicate nose of kiwi fruit and tomato stalk. Creamy, balanced palate with zesty citrus and a long finish,’ said an impressed Guillaume Mahaut of The Jugged Hare. ‘Fantastic, tight palate, bursting with flavour,’ agreed team leader Angela Reddin.

£8.80 Enotria&Coe

Spencer Hill, Latitude 41, Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Nelson, New Zealand

Gold medal winner

Great typicity alongside a welcoming easy-drinking persona won Spencer Hill Gold. ‘Fatter style, a little restrained but zesty, attractive and elegant,’ said team leader Annette Scarfe MW, with Vittorio Gentile of Theo Randall at The InterContinental Hotel adding: ‘Floral, shy nose, with some lime and gooseberry.’ 'A food wine – a good substitute for Sancerre,' said Hakkasan Group's Christine Parkinson.

£10.53 Spencer Hill Estate

Framingham, Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Marlborough, New Zealand

Gold medal winner

Herbal definition with hints of aniseed and eastern spices are just some of the flavours that won Framingham Gold. ‘Tomato leaf and sap notes on the nose, followed by wonderfully layered flavours cascading across the palate,’ said impressed team leader Angela Reddin, concluding: ‘Very intense, with superb length. Pair with chive mackerel with grape and elderflower.'

£9.35 Les Caves de Pyrène

Ara, The Pass, Sauvignon Blanc 2013, Marlborough, New Zealand

Silver medal winner

‘Nice bright, crunchy fruit nose,’ began team leader Angela Reddin, going on: ‘Lime, cucumber and some herbs, box laurel and a lovely citrus bite. Clean and refreshing.’ ‘Classic, pungent, fruity style with a creamy mouthfeel,’ added Guillaume Mahaut of The Jugged Hare.

£6.00 Copestick Murray, Greene King

Mission, Vineyard Selection, Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Marlborough, New Zealand

Silver medal winner

‘Ripe guava in a more fruit-forward style, but showing good typicity and balance,’ said team leader Annette Scarfe MW. ‘Grassy nose, with cooked peas, good mouthfeel and length,’ added consultant sommelier Christophe Richelet.

£12.00 Cockburn & Campbell

Boutinot, Moko Black, Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Marlborough, New Zealand

Silver medal winner

‘Some asparagus on the nose and palate with some bell pepper on the finish, decent length and balance,’ said consultant Sam Caporn MW. ‘A more delicate palate, subtle and fresh,’ added Guillaume Mahaut of The Jugged Hare.

£6.45 Boutinot

Kim Crawford, Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Marlborough, New Zealand

Silver medal winner

‘Very clean, clear and a good example of this style,’ began team leader Martin Lam: ‘Nettles on the nose, nettles and herbs on the palate.’ ‘Touch of gooseberry and asparagus, with herbaceous notes and such a long aftertaste,’ added Lukasz Walkowiak of Oxo Tower Restaurant.

£9.25 Liberty Wines

Mansion House Bay, Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Marlborough, New Zealand

Silver medal winner

‘Zesty acidity with guava and grapefruit, well-integrated and balanced flavours,’ began team leader Annette Scarfe MW, with Vittorio Gentile of Theo Randall at The InterContinental Hotel adding: ‘Mineral, austere, cool nose and a delicate palate.’

£8.62 Enotria&Coe

Wild Rock, The Infamous Goose, Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Marlborough, New Zealand

Bronze medal winner

Team leader Simon Woods noted: ‘Ripe but lean and clean, crisp citrus with a herbal freshness.’ ‘A grassier style, with a more herbaceous palate,’ agreed consultant Michael Harrison.

£8.32 Louis Latour Agencies

Boutinot, The Cloud Factory, Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Marlborough, New Zealand

Bronze medal winner

‘Herbaceous, with quince and guava, fresh acidity and clean,’ said team leader Annette Scarfe MW, with consultant sommelier Christophe Richelet adding: ‘Tropical notes of guava and mandarin, pleasant texture with a mineral, salty finish.’

£6.35 Boutinot

Vavasour, Awatere Pass, Sauvignon Blanc 2013, Marlborough, New Zealand

Bronze medal winner

‘Clear and bright, with minerals on the nose, soft acids and pleasing floral notes,’ said consultant Michael Harrison. ‘Dry, crisp and linear, with good rounded aromas and a polished finish,’ added Andrea Fasan of La Petite Maison.

£6.00 Greene King

Export Union, Akau, Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Marlborough, New Zealand

Bronze medal winner

‘Restrained and balanced, controlled tropical flavours with refreshing zesty character,’ said Roger Jones of The Harrow at Little Bedwyn, adding: ‘Fresh and clean, with touches of gooseberry and a creamy citrus finish.’

£6.28 Molson Coors

Villa Maria, Silver Lake, Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Marlborough, New Zealand

Bronze medal winner

‘Spring is in the air!’ declared Roger Jones of The Harrow at Little Bedwyn: ‘Fresh and zesty, a touch tropical, with good balance and restraint, mellow with a bit of spice, soft nettle notes and lovely balance.’

£8.43

Rongopai, Sauvignon Blanc 2013, Marlborough, New Zealand

Bronze medal winner

‘Herbaceous nose with nettley notes, an attractive palate that fills out with ripe fruit, semi-tropical, and a hint of bitterness on the finish,’ said team leader Martin Lam.

£7.50 Molson Coors

Kim Crawford, Small Parcels, Spitfire, Sauvignon Blanc 2013, Marlborough, New Zealand

Bronze medal winner

‘Broad in flavour, with guava and gooseberry pie. Full and weighty, quite a serious style,’ said team leader Simon Woods, with La Petite Maison’s Andrea Fasan adding: ‘Great fruit purity, precise, with a refined finish.’

£11.00 Liberty Wines

Sileni, Cellar Selection, Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Marlborough, New Zealand

Bronze medal winner

Team leader Angela Reddin found this to be a ‘good all-rounder’, saying: ‘Lemon-lime nose with some stony seashell mineral. Bright fruit and herbal characters on the palate, and a great length.’

£6.50 Boutinot

Tinpot Hut, Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Marlborough, New Zealand

Bronze medal winner

‘Opulent fruit with a tropical nose, great attack and grip on the palate, with a persistent, clean bright finish,’ said Andrea Fasan of La Petite Maison, with team leader Simon Woods adding: ‘Ripe but quite restrained, lots of fruit but it’s a gentler style.’

£9.25 Liberty Wines

Spencer Hill, Mariner Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Nelson, New Zealand

Bronze medal winner

Team leader Annette Scarfe MW found this ‘zesty and vibrant’, showing ‘lovely acidity and freshness with grapefruit and citrus mineral notes’. ‘Herby aromas with mineral accents,’ added consultant sommelier Christophe Richelet.

£9.85 Jackson Nugent Vintners

Hunter's, Kaho Roa, Winemaker's Selection, Sauvignon Blanc 2012, Marlborough, New Zealand

Bronze medal winner

‘Rich, fruity, yeasty, calling for food with its tropical and pineapple fruit and long finish,’ said Oxo Tower Restaurant’s Lukasz Walkowiak. ‘Loved it,’ said Roger Jones of The Harrow at Little Bedwyn: ‘Very much Pouilly-Fumé, with luscious pineapple notes.’

£11.95 Laytons

Baron Edmond de Rothschild, Rimapere, Sauvignon Blanc 2013, Marlborough , New Zealand

Commended medal winner

Spy Valley, Johnson Estate, Sauvignon Blanc 2013, Marlborough, New Zealand

Commended medal winner

£9.93 Bibendum

Walnut Block Wines, Collectables, Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Marlborough , New Zealand

Commended medal winner

£6.70

 

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