A year or so ago I attended a Sauvignon Blanc blending session at Liquor King in Christchurch, where Brian Bicknell and Duncan Patterson brought down a selection of tank and barrel samples of Sauvignon Blanc for us to taste and blend. It was great to experience the process that winemakers have when blending a vintage. The resulting blends were judged and the winner announced – our version was a bit over-oaked but we liked it – I remember Brian quite liked the winning blend and was considering using that blend for that vintage.
Anyway, I’ve just tasted two of Brian’s latest Sauvignon Blancs and standouts they both are but in quite different styles – one a blend from five different vineyards around the Marlborough region and the other sourced from a single vineyard on the outskirts of Blenheim from the Wither Hills not far from where we stayed last year. Both have been treated with care and attention, such as hand picking, whole bunch pressing, wild yeasts, barrel and tank fermentation and maturation, with the aim of producing textural rather than fruit driven wines.
The Mahi Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2011 is a lovely wine – bright with a hints of lime and gold, in the nose a little shy with tart, lime and citrus underpinned by a hint of yeastiness. On the palate I got a burst of rich citrus fruit, a subtle touch of oak and a nice textural mouth-feel with a long persistent finish – overall a really lovely example of a handcrafted savvy.
13.5% RRP NZ$19.00 17/20
On the other hand the Mahi Boundary Farm Sauvignon Blanc 2010 is a great big complex and weighty number, straw/gold in the glass. In the nose, stone fruit, wild yeasty notes, hint of spice and oak. On the palate a great big flavour profile, complex, rich fruit textural elements from both the oak and being left on the lees for 11 months in French barriques. Definitely my favourite of the two wines tasted.
14.5% RRP NZ$29.00 18/20
I’m really liking these new full bodied, luscious Sauvignon Blancs and pleased that more winemakers like Brian and his team are being more adventurous and steering away from the big grassy acidic wines that have stereotyped Marlborough Savvy both here and overseas. Keep it up guys! Cheers!
Many thanks to Gemma for providing these excellent wines to review and if you want some then you only need to visit their website: