Greywacke (Marlborough) Wild Sauvignon 2013

Date tasted: 28th – 29th October 2015

Colour and condition: (Under Stelvin seal.) Pale lemon gold with slight platinum highlights. 3

Aroma: Moderate aroma, with appealing complexity. Reminiscent of Loire Chenin with its ‘wet wool’ / lanolin, but with a distinguishing overtone of (just at first) Gravenstein apple, then dominant crystalised kiwifruit markedly complexed by nashi pear, under-ripe rock melon, and, in particular, reductive smoky notes (including cigarette lighter flint smoke), with privet hedge undertones brooding right into the background. Passes very rapidly through a series of aromatic ‘phases’ as one noses the wine: the Gravenstein apple note is immediate but lasts for just a half a second, then the other components rush forth and dominate until, finally, on the ‘long nose’, faint citrus blossom notes come though. Suggestions of ripe(-ish) gooseberry, white currants, black currant leaf, and ripe washed rind cheese (the latter, of course, in the spectrum of the reductive aromas here). By no means overtly Sauvignon-typical (for Marlborough, at least), but instead hints at its varietal identity with its fruit undertones while the dominant aromatics are substantially winemaking-driven. Very fine all the same, and quite distinctive. 6.5

Palate and aftertaste: Medium weight, dry (no residual sugar filling out the palate here), with moderate acidity that is, pleasingly, not overly malic. Salt-and-clover-honey overlay to dried kiwifruit (without sweetness however), a slice of dried blackcurrant, with lots of ‘minerality’ from the salt-lick and smoke overtones. There are some suggestions of citrus rind, but from the white, pithy, more ‘biting’ side of the peel, and touches of quinine and ‘gripe water’ with the salt-lick to add complexity. Essentially savoury and ‘minerally’; very much a (fine) food wine — and one, at that, which makes me want to cook up something rather good with fish (or, in this bottle’s case, asparagus with Japanese perilla, citron, and ponzu dressings). Will doubtless continue to evolve in bottle for up to 5 or more years yet. 8.5+

General comments: This already excellent wine would be really impressive with more weight and concentration (a la Didier Dargeneau), but for around $35 it is very good value. Delicious as a fine food wine and uncommonly refined and distinctive by current Marlborough standards.


Author: Dr. Gerald Atkinson

Company director, viticulturist, grapevine researcher and historian, and sometime wine-writer.