Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand, 2020

Pale white gold coloured with an intense nose of Guava and passion fruit with a touch of green herbs in the background. The palate shows white peach and hints of flint and has an elegance not often seen in this region. Plenty of acidity but this is nicely balanced by the sweetness of the fruit and the quite full body.

Grape Variety: Sauvignon Blanc

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Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand, 2020

Tasting Note

Pale white gold coloured with an intense nose of Guava and passion fruit with a touch of green herbs in the background. The palate shows white peach and hints of flint and has an elegance not often seen in this region. Plenty of acidity but this is nicely balanced by the sweetness of the fruit and the quite full body.

Producer Info

Established in 1985, Cloudy Bay was one of the first five wine makers to venture into Marlborough. At the time, it was almost an unimaginable place to set-up a vineyard. But Cloudy Bay’s founder – David Hohnen – was convinced of its potential to produce great wine and invested in the best land of the region. Since then, Marlborough has risen to become New Zealand’s leading wine region, as well as one of the finest winemaking locations in the world. The winery was named after Cloudy Bay, a body of water explorer Captain James Cook came across during his voyage to New Zealand in 1770. His discovery coincided with flooding in the region, which washed large amounts of sediment into the sea. Noticing the water’s opaque appearance, Cook cleverly christened the area Cloudy Bay.

Regional Info

The Wairau Valley is one of three zones – along with the Southern Valleys and the Awatere Valley – which make up the heartland of New Zealand’s Marlborough wine region. It accounts for approximately 45 percent of plantings within the wider region. An extensive patchwork of vineyards surrounds the town of Blenheim in the north-eastern corner of the South Island, near where the Wairau River meets the Pacific Ocean.

Sauvignon Blanc is by far the most important grape variety planted here, producing distinctively aromatic white wines with flavours of gooseberry, passionfruit and fresh herbs. Riesling, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are other important grape varieties grown here. Marlborough sparkling wines made in the méthode traditionnelle are also highly regarded.

The Wairau Valley is a wide river valley that follows the Wairau River from the Spenser Mountains in the west to the Pacific at Cloudy Bay. The Richmond Mountains in the north separate it from the sunny region of Nelson, and the Wither Hills in the south protect the valley from harsh weather systems from the south-east. In the low-lying area along the Wairau River Rapaura and Renwick are the most established zones. However in recent years vineyard plantings have extended further west along the narrow valley floor.

New Zealand’s modern wine industry began in Marlborough in 1973, when the Brancott vineyard was established in the southern Wairau Valley. Two years later the first Sauvignon Blanc vines were added. Nowadays, Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc is world famous, and the Wairau Valley is home to some of New Zealand’s most famous producers.

The valley’s varied soil profiles are responsible for the significant variations in wine styles, and are considered to be the most distinctive feature defining the character of wines produced here. Shallow, stony and fast-draining soil patterns along the river terraces aid infertility, a condition which perfectly suits Sauvignon Blanc, the region’s main grape variety. Further from the river, in the hills, the soils have a higher proportion of clay and silt. These soils retain slightly more moisture for the vines, which leads to a more herbaceous character in the resultant wines.

Wairau Valley has a warm, dry climate that is moderated during the growing season by sea breezes from Cloudy Bay. Hot sunshine during the day and cold ocean winds at night extend the ripening period in the grapes, leading to a balance of fruit complexity and acidity. This diurnal temperature variation is essential to the terroir in the Wairau Valley – without it, much of the classic punchiness of the wines made here would be lost.

Wairau Valley has a slightly warmer, more sheltered climate than its neighbour, the Awatere Valley. As a result, the Sauvignon Blanc made here tends to be on the tropical end of the spectrum, with aromas and flavours of passion fruit and grapefruit rounding out the gooseberry and green pepper that typify Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.

While the Wairau Valley accounts for 45 percent of Marlborough’s vineyard area, its appearance on labels is restricted largely to single estate or single vineyard wines. Many high volume labels based in the Wairau Valley source fruit from across Marlborough.

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