Hunter’s Kaho Roa Sauvignon Blanc, Winemakers Selection, Marlborough, 2017

Notes of white peach, lime and a hint of passion fruit, blend with subtle oak nuances. Vibrant acidity gives this a refreshing feel.

Made in a lighter oaked style to allow the riper Sauvignon Blanc characters to be supported by the oak rather than be oak dominated. The palate is full, round and exhibits the strength of the fruit balanced by the body of the barrel fermentation. This is an ideal food wine with persistent flavours and good structure. This is the wine style that put Hunter’s and New Zealand wine on the map.

Grape Variety: 100% Sauvignon Blanc

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£17.42

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Hunter’s Kaho Roa Sauvignon Blanc, Winemakers Selection, Marlborough, 2017

Tasting Note

Notes of white peach, lime and a hint of passion fruit, blend with subtle oak nuances. Vibrant acidity gives this a refreshing feel.

Made in a lighter oaked style to allow the riper Sauvignon Blanc characters to be supported by the oak rather than be oak dominated. The palate is full, round and exhibits the strength of the fruit balanced by the body of the barrel fermentation. This is an ideal food wine with persistent flavours and good structure. This is the wine style that put Hunter’s and New Zealand wine on the map.

Producer Information

Hunter’s Wines are recognised as one of the pioneers of the Marlborough wine industry and one of New Zealand’s best known family owned wineries. Established by Irishman, the late Ernie Hunter in 1979, the company is now headed by Jane Hunter, known around the world as ‘the First Lady of New Zealand wine’. Some 30 years on, Jane is the most awarded women in the New Zealand wine industry with an impressive set of accolades, including an O.B.E (1993), inaugural Women in Wine Award UK (2003), and in 2009 was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM) in 2009. Jane is backed by a great team and three generations of family.

Hunter’s won immediate acclaim in 1986 at the London Sunday Times Wine Festival with their 1985 Fumé Blanc. This award not only put Hunter’s Wines on the map but introduced the world to New Zealand wine. Hunter’s wines now boasts over 200 gold medals, more than 30 trophies and innumerable international awards and accolades. Hunter’s Wines are still breaking new ground today.

Still 100% family owned Hunter’s search for excellence never ceases. New varietals, new wine making techniques and new branding constantly keeps the team at Hunter’s seeking the best for our wines and continuing our commitment to Hunter’s philosophy of ‘Quality not Quantity’. Hunter’s is a medium sized winery producing around 100,000 cases per year from 90 hectares. The vineyards are owned by Hunter’s and contract growers. Hunter’s relationship with contract growers is extensive with most growers producing from Hunter’s Wines for more than 25 years. You will find Hunter’s Wines in more than 30 countries around the world with more than 80% of production exported.

Located at the top of New Zealand’s South Island, Marlborough makes up more than 75% of the New Zealand wine production. Sauvignon Blanc accounts for 77% of Marlborough’s wine production alone, with Pinot Noir second. Marlborough’s micro climate is particularly suited to Sauvignon Blanc with long warm days and cool nights. In fact Marlborough often receives the most sunshine hours in New Zealand and can average 30+0C in the summer months. Marlborough is made up of five sub-regional valleys, each with their own micro-climates and varying soil types, making for interesting blending of wines and styles.

Regional Information

Marlborough is New Zealand’s most important wine region by far. Situated at the northeastern tip of the South Island, this dry, sunny region is home to over 500 growers and produces around three-quarters of all New Zealand wine. Vineyard area exceeded 26,000 hectares (64,250 acres) in 2018.
It is particularly famous for its pungent, zesty white wines made from the Sauvignon Blanc grape variety which dominates the Marlborough vineyards. In 2017 the variety accounted for 79 percent of vineyard surface area and 87 percent of regional production.

Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc remains the bread and butter performer for the industry, and many wineries from outside the region own or lease vineyards, or buy grapes or wine to be able to offer this key product and strengthen their portfolio. Newer markets in the Far East and the USA which are less familiar with the wine style mitigate against a need for Marlborough to worry about diversifying towards other varieties at this point. While non-packaged wine shipments (for own-brands and brands bottled in the market region) account for just under 40 percent of total volume, these still command prices of which other counties’ bulk wine exporters would be envious. Indeed, the New Zealand wine industry, with Marlborough at the spearhead, has the highest average price per litre of any country exporting wine.

The long, straight glacial Wairau Valley is home to around 45 percent of Marlborough’s vineyards. It is home to the region’s main center, Blenheim, and the Rapaura and Renwick sub-regions, has a warm, sunny climate cooled by winds from the Pacific Ocean. A river flood plain, it has very diverse soils from stony river wash to deep alluvium.

The Southern Valleys zone runs just below the Wairau Valley. It is slightly cooler and drier than the Wairau Valley. The topography is more influenced by the lower hillsides of the Wither Hill range. Soils were largely formed by glacial outwash, and include stony gravels, areas with more clay, and loess-covered hill slopes. The Waihopai Valley forms a section of this zone. The existence of Southern Valleys as a separate entity is yet to be reflected on many bottle front labels, though it accounts for one quarter of all plantings across the wider region. As with the other subregions, user familiarity relies more heavily on single-estate wines as many producers often blend across the region. Major labels based here include Spy Valley and Auntsfield.

The Awatere Valley, further to the southeast, parallels the other two, running from the coast inland past the small town of Seddon. It has the coolest climate due to its added proximity to the ocean on both northern and eastern sides, and can produce wines with a slightly finer acidity and mineral quality. It is also slightly drier than the other two regions. The topography is a combination of river terraces and flood plains; soils are alluvial gravels and clay and wind-blown loess. Around 30 percent of Marlborough’s plantings are located here.

Sea breezes are a vital part of the Marlborough terroir. Sunshine during the day is tempered by the wind, leading to a substantial diurnal temperature variation. This, along with a sunny, dry autumn, creates a long growing season, which gives the grapes time to develop full, expressive varietal character without losing their characteristic acidity. Canopy growth often needs dilligent management, probably due to high UV-B radiation levels in New Zealand.

Although some vines were planted by settlers in the 1870s, commercial scale viticulture did not begin in Marlborough until the 1970s, when the Auckland-based wine producer Montana (now Brancott Estate) surveyed the area and bought its first land there. The first large-scale vineyards were planted in 1973 and, despite early challenges with the region’s dry soils and strong winds, Marlborough wines were already making a name for themselves by the early 1980s. Rapid expansion followed and, by 1985, Marlborough was awash in a sea of average-quality wines. A government vine-pull scheme helped to re-establish balance somewhat, during which the high-yielding Müller-Thurgau vines that once dominated the region were replaced with the now-iconic Sauvignon Blanc. Such was the success of Sauvignon Blanc here that Marlborough is widely regarded as the variety’s New World home.

Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc exploded onto the world wine scene in the 1980s and 1990s, to the rapture of wine critics and consumers around the globe. It is noted for its complete lack of subtlety, its intense flavors of green pepper and gooseberry and a character that has been famously described as “cat’s pee on a gooseberry bush”. There are few New World wine regions so closely associated with a single grape variety as Marlborough is with Sauvignon Blanc (with the possible exception of Mendoza and its Malbec).

The local wine industry is well set up to offer wine tastings and cellar door purchases. As well as the attractions of the Marlborough Sounds, the wineries and restaurants have made the wine region a tourist destination in it its own right, served by the airport at Blenheim, and lying on State Highway One close to the ferry port at Picton which links the two islands, and well placed for an agenda which takes in Kaikoura whale-watching and exploring the neighboring Nelson region.

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