“Typical” sauvignons are by many regarded as the easiest of all to detect in a blind tasting. However, there are many factors that can contribute to the grape’s aromas, and many are still under investigation. Undoubtedly, added yeast is among the techniques. But there are also producers here with what we would call a natural approach, with Sébastien Riffault in Sancerre as possibly the most famous.
A tasting in our private wine club showed quite varied aspects of New Zealand’s wines, among the sauvignons too. There were two splendid wines from Greywacke Vineyards, a late harvest riesling and our wine of the week, the Wild Sauvignon, this one too made only with the yeasts from the grape and the environment.
Kevin Judd was co-founding winemaker when Cloudy Bay embarked on their success story in the mid-80’s. But Judd went on to fulfill his own project in 2009, after having planned it for a long time, including acquisition of vineyards in Marlborough. The name Greywacke was registered back in 1993, and named after the type of rounded stones found everywhere in the country.
Essential in the winemaking is mature grapes from quality sites in the central Wairau Plains and the Southern Valleys, cultivated with low yields and strong canopy management.
The grapes were mostly harvested by hand, then pressed lighly. The juice was spontaneously fermented in old French oak, stayed there for around 6 months, where some 2/3 underwent malo-lactic fermentation. It then stayed on yeast lees in inox for another 5 months, and the wine was only lightly filtered before bottling.
Wild Sauvignon 2014 (Greywacke)
Straw yellow, grey, not shiny. Aromas of oranges, almonds, flowers, herbs (thyme), and a slight touch of toast and vanillin. In the mouth it shows a rich and creamy texture, nice concentration, with a balancing acidity that contributes to a lingering finish.
Food: White fish, grilled seafood, sushi, creamy cheeses