Sauvignon blanc accounts for about 80 per cent of all wine produced in New Zealand, but there's much more to the story.
Sauvignon blanc is the fuel that fires the wine industry's engine: it enjoys an adoring global audience. Some is good, some not so. Price is a pretty good guide. But there is also a fearsome amount of excellent pinot noir, riesling, chardonnay and sparkling coming out of Aotearoa.
Hawke's Bay has a long history with the Bordeaux red grapes and, in more recent times, shiraz – which they mostly label syrah. Hawke's Bay winemaker Kate Radburnd made a stunning example of both in the 2018 vintage. And the Greywacke 'Wild' takes the bread-and-butter sauvignon grape to a higher level.
Greywacke Wild Sauvignon 2018, Marlborough, $45
At three years it's still fresh, while the impact of wild-yeast and barrel fermentation adds intriguing complexity to this concentrated wine. It has lemony, citrusy nuances allied with toasty barrel-derived touches and smoky sulfides to produce a powerful expression of ripe sauvignon blanc grapes. A superb wine that will continue drinking well for years. Screw-cap; 13.5 per cent alcohol.
Ageing? Drink now to seven years.
Auntsfield Cob Cottage Chardonnay 2018, Marlborough, $45
Some Marlborough chardonnays taste curiously like sauvignon blanc, but not this one. It's a serious, complex style, the bouquet displaying very layered, nutty, mealy, savoury characters reflecting well-judged oak and reductive overtones, the palate medium bodied with a sustained finish. An elegant, savoury style with a lot of artifact. I like its restraint and finesse. Screw-cap; 13.5 per cent alcohol.
Ageing? Drink now to five years.
Stockist: Cricketers Arms, Balmain (NSW)
Radburnd Merlot Cabernet 2018, Hawke's Bay, $85
Kate Radburnd is a highly experienced winemaker and show judge, producing a small clutch of upmarket wines under her own label. This has a bright, deep-ish red-purple colour, a spicy berry bouquet that is floral, ripely perfumed and very appealing. Soft and fleshy, round and supple in the mouth, with generous flavour and elegant styling. The tannins are silky smooth. A delicious red that drinks superbly and will cellar well. Screw-cap; 13.5 per cent alcohol.
Ageing? Drink now to 10+ years.
Stockist: Email for Australian orders firstname.lastname@example.org