edited by Sue Courtney
Wine Reviews - Sauvignon Blanc
by Sue Courtney
Last updated 30 May 2015
Although some of these tasting notes may be found elsewhere on this site, this page brings together most of my 2010 & 2009 vintage Sauvignon Blanc notes, listed alphabetically by producer. Click here for rating systems and abbreviations.
In my notes 'gooseberry' refers to the South Island green gooseberry unless otherwise specified. Cape gooseberry and Chinese gooseberry (kiwifruit) are different fruits.
Click here for a historical perpsective of Sauvignon Blanc in New Zealand.2011 Vintage [top] [index]
Astrolabe Province Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (sc) Initially restrained on the nose and neutral and flinty in the palate, then it simply gushes with flavours of snow pea, tomato stalk and lime with a zesty infusion to the backbone and sweet summer herbs on the finish. Seems like a beaut style to accompany a tomato and basil salad. 13.5% alc. $21.99. 4Jan2012.
Brightwater Nelson Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (sc) Vivacious, slightly musky scent, perhaps a nuance of apple peel with citrus and tropical flavours underpinned by herbs and green bean. A pungent, full-bodied style with a lasting vivacious finish. 13% alc. $20. 15Aug2011.
Church Road Grand Reserve Hawkes Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (sc) (sc) Light lemon gold. Quite a fresh, salty aroma then a waft of flint/struck match, like you get when you hit a hard rock with a hammer, this character carrying through to the palate with the smoky/struck match notes a little more obvious. Warm with a smooth texture, hints of peach and apple and a crisp bracing finish, it seems more European than antipodean. 13% alc. $29.99. 27May2015.
Dog Point Vineyard Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (sc) Pale straw. A racy, complex and alternative Sauvignon Blanc style with grapefruit aromatics and fresh acidity humming through the palate, yet a textural softness even though there is no oak. There's a toasty capsicum nuance throughout and the super long finish is infused with passionfruit and peach. 13.5% alc. $27.99. 11Jan2012.
Forrest The Doctors' Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (sc) Lightly herbaceous on the nose with the oily character of coriander, and soft and gentle in the palate with hints of pineapple, juicy orange, summer herbs and sweet pea. This was my favourite of three 'lower alcohol' styles tasted together. "I would drink this," I wrote. And I think people who want a paring back from the full throttle styles of Sauv will drink this too. 9.5% alc. $20.00. 22Nov2011.
Giesen The August 1888 Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (sc) A barrel fermented Sauvignon but oak adds textural complexity rather than flavour. It’s the chardonnay of Sauvignon Blanc with its soft full-bodied flavours – it's the tropical fruit on the terrifically long finish that is the varietal clue. 14.5% alc. $39.99. 10Sep2013.
Invivo Belle by Invivo Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (sc) The lower-alcohol style smells like Sauv with citrus, passionfruit and herb aromatics although restrained in comparison to the pungency of some. But the taste is soapy with a bitter lemon confectionary character, the texture is oily and the finish is short. I wanted more. More calories? Maybe. More alcohol? Maybe. More flavour. Most definitely. 9% alc. $21.90. 2Nov2011.
Invivo Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (sc) Fantastically expressive with tropical fruit aromas and expansive flavours of pineapple, passionfruit, apple, citrus and a bounty of grass and summer herbs. Refreshing and juicy, the wine is textural and dry and the flavours linger deliciously with the acidity keeping the fruit in check. One of the best from the vintage. 12.5% alc. $19.90. 2Nov2011.
Jackson Estate Stich Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (sc) A little grainy in texture with punchy flavours of lime, musk and herbs infused with nectarine and sherbet that adds to the appeal. Bright and tasty, strong and long, with a deliciously fresh and tangy finish. 13% alc. $22.50 22Nov2011.
Jules Taylor Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (sc) Pale straw coloured with a bright, punchy aroma full of passionfruit and lime and fresh, juicy, flavours of gooseberry, tropical fruit, grapefruit and summer herbs. Oily textured with a tangy, refreshing finish. Vibrant and long. 13.5% alc. $19.99. 16Nov2011.
Kim Crawford Regional Reserve Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (sc) A hint of grapefruit on the nose carries through to the almost creamy palate where lime, summer herbs, star fruit and green melon abound. With lovely mouthfeel and richness, the flavours linger deliciously. 13% alc. $17.95. 15Aug2011.
Lawson's Dry Hills Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (sc) Initially a little 'sweaty', yet the Air NZ judges obviously didn't mind this when they awarded it a gold medal. Compounding in flavour with classic grassy herbaceousness, grapefruit, passionfruit and juicy lime on the lasting finish, it's deliciously long. 13% alc. $20.00. 22Nov2011.
Marisco The Ned Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (sc) Pale lemon coloured with a vibrant scent of passionfruit and sweet pea and deliciously fruity flavours of passionfruit, pineapple and green melon with tomato stalk and bean and a pungent grassy finish. There's a slight viscosity to the texture and chilled to about 12 degrees, it's just so quenching. 13% alc. $15.99. 29Feb2012.
Matua Valley Reserve Release Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (sc) Vivacious juicy green fruit scents - like crushed kiwifruit infused with pineapple and herbs like tarragon and basil. That follows through with juicy tropical fruit flavours, vibrant orange juice-like acidity, a touch of honey and a long lasting finish that lingers like you've just eaten a passionfruit. 13% alc. $14-$18. 18Apr2012.
Maven 'Premier' Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (sc) A smoky, cut grass and green passionfruit bouquet introduces this flinty tasting wine with tomato stalk and guava-like fruit characters, loads of tangy citrus, a tickle of ginger and white pepper and a touch of musky sweetness and candied mint on the pungent finish, which tapers off gently. 12.5% alc. $16.99. 1Aug2012.
Maui New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (sc) Quite grassy and herbaceous with gooseberry and pineapple, initially quite flinty with a musky fruit sweetness then exotic tropical fruit that morphs into more classic herbs and gooseberry with a citrus zing to the tangy finish. Powerful as it lingers. Made by Tiki Wines and labelled 'New Zealand' but fruit is from Marlborough. 13% alc. $16.95. 15Aug2011.
Mills Reef Reserve Hawkes Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (sc) Concentrated on the nose and in the palate, this has funky yeast flavours underpinned with grapefruit and a full-bodied, savoury finish flushed with tropical guava, rosehips, gooseberry and herbs. The grapefruit flavours linger with a slightly bitter edge. 12.5% alc. $24.95. 22Nov2011.
O:TU Otuwhero Estate Single Vineyard Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (sc) Quite straw for its age, especially cf to the Ohau Gravels tasted beside it. Passionfruit, grapefruit and green melon on the nose with some capsicum and kero emerging. Bright and pungent in the palate, garnering some lovely mellow passionfruit jam notes but so bright and zingy also with vibrant lime and grapefruit flavours. A juicy wine, almost spritzy in texture from all the zest, with a finish that's linear and dry, 12.5% alc. $22.95. 27Mar2015.
Ohau Gravels Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (sc) The golden hued wine shows development for SB, but it is intriguing and complex with a toasty like character you get in aged Riesling. Can older SB get a TDN character? Quite possibly. Pungent and proud, this wine is full of flavour with melon, stonefruit and yellow plum and of course a toastiness to the finish. Tasting again 3 days later I found it deliciously complex with intriguing smoky toasty nuances, fleshy tropical fruit and zesty accents. A fantastic example of the beauty of older SB. 13.5% alc. $21.95. 27Mar2015.
Richmond Plains Nelson Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (sc) Herbs on the nose and in the palate with plenty of green pea-like methoxypyrazine characters but they don't overpower the dominant citrus. Juicy on the finish and lingering flavours of greengage plum. 13.5% alc. $19.99. 22Nov2011.
Rockburn Central Otago Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (sc) Enticing aromas of honey roasted nuts, with a type of smoke from the partial barrel ferment that adds richness and complexity to the creamy texture. There’s a whack of citrus acidity in the background that’s beautifully balanced by the fruit and the oak. 30% fermentation in old oak barrels. 12.5% alc. NZIWS Gold Medal review. 10Sep2012.
Saint Clair Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (sc) Tantalisingly fresh aromas of passionfruit, pineapple and lemon grass and succulent tropical fruit flavours with a well-balanced citrussy tang and a flourish of herbs on the juicy, pungent lingering finish. 13% alc. $15.99. 24Aug2011.
Saint Clair Pioneer Block 1 Foundation Block Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (sc) This is so much more restrained on the nose and in the taste - lots of green connotations here - new mown grass, tangy herbs, angelica, tropical fruit, a creamy texture with a honeyed layer to the finish. Full-bodied and mouthfilling without being overpowering yet typically long and lingering. 13.5% alc. $22.99. 30May2012.
Saint Clair Pioneer Block 3 43 Degrees Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (sc) Fresh tropical fruit salad aroma and juicy exotic fruit flavours - tropical guava, banana passionfruit and tangy citrus with a vivacious undercurrent of summer herbs and a vibrant finish of gooseberry. Sweet and sour, Yin and yang balanced to perfection. Nice palate weight too and joyously long. 13.5% alc. $22.99. 10Aug2011.
Saint Clair Pioneer Block 18 Snap Block Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (sc) A bright punchy aroma of passionfruit, herbs and citrus and a fresh vibrant punchy flavour. Full and rich and exciting, a lovely rendition of snappy Sauvignon Blanc with grapefruit, herbs and tropical fruit. 13% alc. $25.50. 15Aug2011.
Saint Clair Pioneer Block 21 Bell Block Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (sc) There is abundant citrus, capsicum, tropical fruit and herbs in this slightly more restrained style than the Block 18. It has textural richness and complexity with tangelo, melon, herbs and a bright zesty and tangy finish. 13% alc. $25.50. 15Aug2011.
Saint Clair Vicar's Choice Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (sc) Strikingly pungent aroma of tropical fruit, capsicum and summer herbs - smelling so fresh and juicy and tasting even more so with its exciting, vibrant flavours. Lovely grapefruit-like acidity keeps the passionfruit fruit sweetness in check - a touch of pineapple too. Fruit bowl in a glass. Terrific wine. 13.5% alc. $12.99. 30May2012.
Saint Clair Wairau Reserve Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (sc) Lovely pungency and concentration to the aroma and full of mouthwatering flavours. Grapefruit, tangy lemon, cut grass, summer herbs and a sweaty character emerging – it's big, rich and juicy with tropical fruit sweetness to the tantalising finish, this brilliant Sauv is hallmark Saint Clair. 13% alc. $32.00. 11Feb2013.
Selaks Heritage Reserve Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (sc) With a little green bean and capsicum on the nose, it’s a bit of an old-fashioned style. Rounded and smooth in the palate, a citrus zest spiciness joins tropical fruit with a classical Marlborough pungency on the full-bodied and lasting finish. 13% alc. $19.99. 15Aug2011.
Shingle Peak Reserve Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (sc) There's a touch of grapefruit to the scent that follows through to the palate that has vivacious flavours of tropical fruit, citrus and gooseberry with a creamy mouthfeel and a long focused finish. Stylish, sophisticated, mouthfilling and long. 14% alc. $19.90. 15Aug2011.
Sileni Estate 'The Straits' Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (sc) Pale lemon coloured with a punchy tropical fruit and herb aroma and a soft, creamy palate. Radiating freshness with citrus, tropical fruit, herbs and a hint of honey adding a smidgen of sweetness to the end, it's everything you expect in Sauv and more. 13% alc. $17.99. 14Dec2011.
Spy Valley Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (sc) Fresh and racy crammed with juicy passionfruit, pineapple and zingy taut citrus with classic flavours of summer herbs and a long pungent tasty finish. Still very exuberant and exciting at one year of age. 13.5% alc. $15.99. 5Sep2012.
Squealing Pig Awatere Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (sc) A flinty wine both on the nose and in the palate, it has those classic Awatere tomato stalk and herbaceous characters. A fresh cut grass character adds richness and complexity and the finish is rounded and long. 13.5% alc. $19. 15Aug2011.
Stoneleigh Latitude Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (sc) This restrained smelling Sauvignon Blanc is a pallid straw gold and tastes dry, flinty and steely but with a viscosity that adds richness and warmth, and the tangy finish is sustained and long with typical herb, grass and tropical fruit flavours emerging to linger. Described as almost a little Sancerre in style. 12.5% alc. $16.99. 28Sep2011.
Te Mata Cape Crest Sauvignon Blanc 2011 - Hawkes Bay (D) There's a tantalising smoky nuance to the peach and classic grassy scents and the flavours are deliciously juicy with grilled peach, pineapple, grapefruit, pear, a glimmer of tarragon and a toasty, grassy finish. A blend of 85% Sauvignon Blanc, 11% Semillon, 4% Sauvignon Gris barrel fermented in French oak, 30% new. 13% alc. $27.99. 14Mar2012.
Tiki Estate Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (sc) Perfumed and musky, this is a well-balanced and nicely focussed style with richness to the texture and punchy herb flavours infused with fleshy peach. With its rich full finish, it's rounded and complete. 13% alc. $19.95. 22Nov2011.
Tohu Mugwi Reserve Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (sc) Light gold. Smoky, toasty, passionfruit and asparagus scents. Lovely smooth rounded creamy flavour with added complexity from barrel aging and wild yeast ferment, filling out with peach and passionfruit on the pleasing finish. Awatere Valley fruit. 13% alc. NZIWS Gold Medal review. 10Sep2012.
Two Rivers of Marlborough Convergence Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (sc) A more subdued Awatere style aroma, initially quite flinty smelling with aromas of herbs, green bean that carry through to the palate. Tomato stalk and capsicum underpin the now dominant gooseberry flavour with tropical fruit and citrus emerging on the bright punchy finish. Rounded and textural. A blend of Awatere and Wairau Valley. 13% alc. $20. 15Aug2011.
Urlar Gladstone Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (sc) Straw gold coloured with earthy, savoury nuances to the scent with wild yeast action and barrel ferment. Subtle in its power, not overly varietal at first but the Sauvignon Blanc notes are much more obvious on the finish as the wine in the mouth builds in power. A lightly sweet finish too. Certified organic grapes. 14% alc. $22.50 10Nov2013.
Villa Maria Reserve Wairau Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (sc) Citrus and tropical scents lead into a vibrantly flavoured and textural palate with classic flavours of passionfruit, underpinned by tangy gooseberry and citrus and summer herbs. 13% alc. $24. 15Aug2011.
Waimea Nelson Naturally Low Alcohol Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (sc) Smells bright, racy and distinctive – like Sauvignon Blanc oughta. It has the typical varietal edginess the juicy tangy flavour but nowhere near as powerful as the full alcohol versions, finishing soft and sweetish and leaving behind a taste that's reminiscent of pink flavoured bubble gum. 8% alc. $19.00. 2Nov2011.
Waimea Nelson Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (sc) it smells fantastically herbaceous with abundant tropical fruit and is packed with tropical fruit, herbs and gooseberry. Flavour, intensity and length are the keys to the 'wow' tasting wine. Deserving gold medal winner. 13% alc. $19.00. 10Nov2011.
Yealands Estate SV Awatere Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (sc) Initially quite a restrained aroma, with nuances of tomato stalk and green bean. In the palate the green bean characters join tangy citrus, gooseberry and herbs. A dry flinty wine with a mouth-watering finish. 13.5% alc. $25. 15Aug2011.