NEW ZEALAND'S BEST SAUVIGNON BLANCS - FROM KEVIN JUDD [EX CLOUDY BAY]
Greywacke Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2013 arrived into the UK in November 2013, and it has again made a big impression. The man behind Greywacke is winemaker superstar, Kevin Judd, who created the Cloudy Bay phenomenon.
This wine continues to be a stunner. At the New Zealand Trade Tasting in London (Jan 2014), Greywacke wines were the stars of the Show. I tasted c150 wines that day, and 4 of Greywacke's wines were in my Top Ten. Both the Marlborough SB 2013 and the 'Wild' SB 2012 were outstanding, whilst best of all was perhaps the Chardonnay 2011.
Greywacke Marlborough SB 2013 has all that I look for in a serious Kiwi sauvignon. Racy and vibrant, with laid-back passion-fruit and citrus, finishing with a touch of dry, zesty grapefruit. More sophisticated than the pack..... with serious minerality; depth and a persistent finish. Wonderful with or without food. My score 90-91pts.
The 'Wild' 2012 has a touch more depth and length of finish, but 2012 was not as good a vintage as the previous 2011, so I rated it 91pts. The Chardonnay 2011 is rather Meursault-like, toasty and citrussy but with a little more acidity. The mid-palate develops nicely, leading to an excellent persistent finish. My score 93pts. All 6 of Kevin Judd's wines got scores in the nineties from me. I've never before scored a Kiwi Producer so highly and so consistently across such a range of grapes.
d'ARENBERG WINERY, S Australia
d'Arenberg wines come from McLaren Vale in South Australia. This winery has a long family history going back to 1912. They take great pride in the fact that each and every one of their wines is handcrafted. Traditional techniques predominate, in harmony with nature. In 2003, d’Arenberg was awarded ‘Winery Of The Year’, by Australia's VOGUE Entertaining + Travel Magazine.
d'Arenberg crush most of their grapes through a Demoisy rubber toothed crusher, from Burgundy in France. Crushing is where the berries are broken to release their juice, and at the same time the stems and stalks are separated and removed. They barely crush their red grapes at all – they open up the rollers in the crusher really wide, so a lot of whole berries go through intact.
White grapes are pressed straight off the skins, so that skin contact is minimized and the chances of oxidation reduced.
All the wines are still basket pressed, even white grape varieties, making d'Arenberg one of the last remaining wineries in Australia to do so. This gentle method of squeezing juice from the grape skins protects the delicate white grapes and is gentle in the process of extracting the flavour, colour and tannins from the reds.
All the red wines are fermented in traditional wax lined concrete open fermenters, and some stainless steel open fermenters. Cellar staff foot tread the cap of fermenting skins in the open fermenters to aid in the extraction of flavour and colour.
The whole winemaking process at d’Arenberg is conducted along small-batch winemaking lines. This keeps separate the different parcels of fruit - from the time of harvesting, through fermentation, pressing and maturation in barrel or tank, to the blending stage.
The results are a range of complex, harmonious, integrated wines with seamless balance and wide spectrums of fruit and flavour. The reds are renowned for their ageing potential.
In November 2003, the prestigious accolade ‘Winery Of The Year’ was awarded to d’Arenberg, by Australia's VOGUE Entertaining + Travel Magazine. Approximately 1,000 wineries were considered in deciding the winery with the most consistent range of premium wines. This award is unique in that it considers a winery’s entire portfolio of wines and the quality of different releases over the year.
This award capped off a year of major successes for d’Arenberg. These included:
‘Winery Of The Year’ at the San Francisco International Wine Competition.
‘Great Value White Wine Of The Year’ at the UK International Wine Challenge.
‘Most Successful Winery’ at the Sydney International Wine Competition.
‘Best Blended Red’ at the Royal Adelaide Wine Show.Finally, owner, Francis d’Arenberg Osborn AOM, universally known as d’Arry, was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia in the Queens Birthday Honours for his contribution to the wine industry and to the McLaren Vale region.
CATENA ESTATE, ARGENTINA
Catena is widely acclaimed as the best of the World Class Wineries in Argentina, a country that is now joining Chile as one of the very best New World wine producers. "These wines from Nicolás Catena and his daughter represent the finest in winemaking art from South America." Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate, June 2000.
Precision viticulture is a very important philosophy for CATENA, achieving heightened quality in the grapes and ensuring a heightened quality in the resulting wine. Pain-staking attention is paid to even the most minute of details throughout the vines growth cycle, in order to maximize quality. Each vine is treated individually, in order to realize its maximum potential.
Viticulture is painstakingly detailed, with highly scientific methods being applied to vine monitoring and selection of harvest times. Otherwise, there is minimal intervention as nature is left to nurture the finest grapes - which are ALL hand-picked.
Accolades are plenty for Catena Wines..... "Nicolás Catena has nearly single-handedly pushed the quality of that country's (Argentina's) wine upward, while at the same time schooling a new generation, including his children…" The Wine Spectator" on-line, May 2001.
"That Argentine wines are finally making an impression in the world market is due in no small part to the efforts of Dr Nicolás Catena…" Anthony Dias Blue, Bon Appetit, February 2001
VOYAGER ESTATE, W. AUSTRALIA
James Halliday, Australia’s most respected wine writer has elevated Voyager Estate to the highest winery rating in his latest 2003 Wine Companion. According to Halliday, this rating may be interpreted as an "Outstanding winery regularly producing exemplary wines".
There were just over 50 Australian wineries awarded a five star rating, from over 1300 that were profiled.......... Voyager is THAT GOOD.
Only 4 other West Australian producers were awarded the highest rating. They were Cullen, Mosswood, Alkoomi and Leeuwin Estate.
Voyager Estate is located in the premium wine producing region of Margaret River, Western Australia. Although producing only 4% of Australia's total wine by volume, Margaret River accounts for 23% of the country's PREMIUM wine production.
The oldest vines date back to 1978, just over 10 years after vines were first planted in the area. Owner, Michael Wright, took over the property in 1991, and set out to expand it and develop a visitor destination that would be a showcase for the region. He also wanted to ensure that, above all else, the quality of wine would always be the best that nature, expertise and pure hard work could provide.
PALLISER ESTATE, NEW ZEALAND
Hugh Johnson, MW, describes this Martinorough winery as "one of the areas's largest and best wineries.......superb tropical fruit-flavoured sauvignon blanc, excellent chardonnay, Riesling and Pinot Noir".
Success is in the Martinborough landscape. Sun-baked hills, an old river plain and loamy free-draining soil. Qualities which place a high premium value on the grapes grown and harvested, and are part of the reason why this is one of the most exciting wine producing regions in New Zealand.
Add to that a belief in sound environmental practices, a devotion to crafted wine, a desire to be among the best boutique wineries in the world, and you find yourself at Palliser Wines.
Accolades received both domestically and internationally would suggest they have got the mix of landscape, environmental management and viticulture right.
Gold at the London International Wine Challenge and the trophy for Sauvignon Blanc are among Palliser's most prestigious awards to date. Palliser Estate wines are also the choice of a number of top international airlines and are found on the wine list of some of the most prestigious restaurants around the world. More locally, these include Wharekauhau Country Estate, recently ranked in the top ten small resorts in the world.