Wild About Barrel-Fermented Sauvignon

In a nation awash with Oyster Bay, I find it hard to get excited by Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc anymore.

Unless it has been fermented in oak and sat on its lees (the dead yeast deposits from fermentation).

Now, you might have thought that New Zealand’s most well-known export (just a hunch – no facts) was big and ballsy enough not to need any structure-building oak.

And I’d argue that of course it doesn’t need it.

But I’d also argue it works rather well, handled the right way.

I loved the Sauvignon Blanc ‘sur lie’, which I tried at Hans Herzog’s vineyard in Marlborough last November. This wine was fermented in barrels. It underwent malolactic fermentation which creates a softer wine. And it was aged on its lees for almost a year. The lees were stirred up regularly to give a nutty richness to the wine.

I’m also a fan of the more restrained Te Muna Sauvignon Blanc Craggy Range produced for Marks & Spencer.

So I was thrilled to find a Greywacke Wild Sauvignon 2009 made by Kevin Judd, the man best known (so far) for his tenure at Cloudy Bay. (Who also do an oaked Sauvignon called Te Koko.)

Close up of the label on a bottle of Greywacke Wild Sauvignon 2009 Wine

Rich, generous and chalky are keywords used by Slurp to describe the Greywacke Wild Earth ’09. I would add:  passion fruit, pineapple, grapefruit pith, sour cream, sun-dried herbs, a bit nutty. Succulent. It may not as hardcore as Herzog in oak-ageing and lees stirring, but there are loads of layered flavours there.

It was a great match with chorizo and squid and I will definitely try it with more spicy and some oriental food.

Save the normal stuff for the shellfish.








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