Many wine lovers, journalists and critics believe that the Sauvignon Blanc from the far north-eastern corner of the South Island of New Zealand is one of the best white wines in the world.
If you have ever drunk a glass of properly chilled (10°C) young Sauvignon Blanc from Cloudy Bay, you will never forget the taste: aromas of fresh herbs, gooseberry, grapefruit, kaffir lime and lemon grass enveloped in the scent of wet stones after a summer thunderstorm. Vivid, fresh and with an unbelievably long finish. Ideal with sushi, fish, seafood and white meat.
In the early 1980s, when, following intensive analyses of the soil and climate, David Hohnen and Kevin Judd planted their first vines in Cloudy Bay on the delta of the Wairau River, they could not have guessed what a trendsetting wine they would produce in the Marlborough Region. In contrast to the Loire, where some of the best Sauvignon Blancs also come from, which have more minerals and more acid than New Zealand wines, the Mediterranean-style climate of Cloudy Bay, together with the stony, loamy soil, contribute to the typicity of the wine.
But it isn’t just the terroir of Cloudy Bay that is unique. The methods used to produce the wine are also very time-consuming and complex: harvesting during the cool night-time and morning hours, gentle pressing, filtering, fermenting in cooled and heated steel tanks with cultured and natural yeasts.
The Sauvignon Blancs from Cloudy Bay Vineyard regularly receive 90 (out of 100) points at wine awards. But instead of resting on his laurels, senior winemaker Tim Heath has created a “new” Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc, called Te Koko, after the Maori name for Cloudy Bay, Te Koko-o-Kupe. (Kupe was a Maori explorer and adventurer.) Classic Cloudy Bay wines call to mind delicate steel and glass structures, while Te Koko is more like a colonial baroque painting: aromas of sweet and exotic spices, jasmine flowers, ripe lemons, green mangoes, nougat, lemon thyme and fresh ginger: mellow, opulent and eccentric. Perfect with caramelised vegetables, fresh goat’s cheese, oysters and dishes seasoned with sage and thyme. For more information, visit www.cloudybay.co.nz.
Text: Rainer Meier