Stellenbosch Icon Winery Kanonkop Prepare for the Release of Their Paul Sauer Cape Bordeaux Blend 2019…

The new releases of Kanonkop Paul Sauer and Kanonkop Cabernet Sauvignon are regarded as two of the wine highlights of the year with merchants scurrying around for trade allocations, collectors chasing their merchants for stock and enthusiastic drinkers waiting for the first bottles to hit the retail shelves of their local fine wine shops. While the reputation within the local home market can hardly be higher, internationally, every year sees a new crop of fine wine collectors discovering the exceptional Kanonkop brands and making space in their cellars for these classical age worthy wines. It is no different for the 2019 Paul Sauer new release which has already created a lot of excitement and anticipation in multiple markets.

Winemaker Abrie Beeslaar was recently in London and I had an opportune moment to taste and discuss the new 2019 Paul Sauer release with him. Abrie remembers the vintage being cast in the shadow of the previous years of drought leading to a challenging growing season but one which ultimately yielded a very classically-styled Paul Sauer with plenty of focused refinement.

The cold fronts that arrived during the winter of 2018 were greatly welcomed with spring and early summer temperatures nudging the deep 20°C for a day or three before dropping again. From February 2019 a hot spell settled in but by the time the Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc were ready to harvest, the weather had turned uncharacteristically cool again which helped produce one of the lowest alcohol Paul Sauers in many years. With Kanonkop’s new(ish) optical berry sorter hard at work, only the healthiest berries made it to the concrete fermenters. The Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc components were blended after malolactic fermentation where after the wine was placed in new 225l French oak barrels for 24 months ageing.

Kanonkop Paul Sauer 2019 Cape Bordeaux Blend, WO Simonsberg-Stellenbosch, 13.02% Abv.

3.3G/l RS | 5.8g/l TA | 3.45 pH

This classically styled Paul Sauer 2019 is a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Cabernet Franc and 11% Merlot. After noticeably more fruit forward aromatics on the 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 on release, this 2019 represents somewhat of departure in style with a decidedly tight, broody aromatic profile of inky dark berry fruits, iodine, crushed gravel, Bouquet Garni, dried herbs, sweet clove and graphite before subtle hints of pithy black currant and black cherry join the party and mingle with perfumed notes of pressed violets and lilac. Despite its 24 months in 100% new French Never oak 225 litre barriques, there is only a mere suggestion of wood influence with a beautifully refined cedar spice and unsmoked cigar nuances. On the palate, the results of a cooler and smaller harvest manifest themselves through a distinctly classical Old World restraint, purity, wound spring tension and supremely refined tannins that linger on the palate with seamless precision. As with many longer, cooler Bordeaux vintages, there is more a sense of concentration and power rather than an actual overt textural display, with sinewy black fruits, cocoa powder and earthy, brambly layers concertinaed by lively acids and yet more overt minerality. An impressive creation indeed that will benefit from a good 8 to 10 years in the cellar to fully blossom despite its textural finesse, balance and accessibility.

(Wine Safari Score: 96+/100 Greg Sherwood MW

Klein Constantia Release An Impressive New 2021 Clara Sauvignon Blanc Cuvee…

The Klein Constantia Clara Sauvignon Blanc Cuvee forms part of the estate’s wider pursuit to express the true and unique typicity of Sauvignon Blanc grown in Constantia’s exceptional terroirs. Named after Clara Eliza Hussey, an American heiress from Pittsburgh who purchased Klein Constantia in 1913 with her husband Braam de Villiers, and under who’s custodianship the estate was elevated to new heights of quality and fame.

Like all the Sauvignon Blancs in the range, the Clara is made with a minimalistic approach, allowing for the grapes grown on granitic soils to reveal a pure expression. Only free run juice was used and fermented in 500 litre neutral oak barrels with wild yeasts. Ever since it’s inception, this Cuvee has become one of my favourite wines in the entire range with its added richness, textural depth, freshness and intensity that made this a style of Sauvignon Blanc that was originally targeted exclusively for the American market. Certainly a wine to look out for if available in your market.

Klein Constantia Clara Sauvignon Blanc 2021, WO Constantia, 14.15% Abv.

2.18g/l RS | 7.63g/l TA | 3.19 pH

Normally a blend of predominantly blocks 372, 381, and the 361 organic block, as well as oddments of six specially identified blocks in total situated at 260 to 300 metres in altitude, all aged for 9 months in 500 litre French oak and acacia barrels, 30% new. After fermentation, the best barrels are selected from the best blocks and the wine is made in a more opulent, punchy style primarily for the US market, with more richness, texture and generally more rounder Bordeaux-style white wine characters. Once again, the aim of producing a bolder, richer style is carried out to perfection with bright intense aromatics of green apple puree, spicy green pear, white citrus, crushed granitic dust and the most delicate dried green herbal notes. The palate impact is potent and pronounced with an incredible concentration of sour yellow plum, green apple pastille, white peach and tangy green citrus that coats the mouth with a wonderfully broad glycerol texture, tangy acids and very impressive saline depth of flavour. This wine stands up to the very best expressions from Sancerre and Pouilly Fume creating a parallel universe of premium quality and Sauvignon Blanc pleasure. Drink now or over the next 10+ years.

(Wine Safari Score: 94+/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

Raats Family Wines Releases Their New Jasper Red Blend 2019 After Declassifying the MR de Compostella 2019 Flagship Red…

The Raats Jasper Red Blend was first created in 2010 when Bruwer Raats declassified the MR de Compostella for the very first time, and named it the Red Jasper after his father, Jasper Raats Senior, who was one of the founders and first viticulturists of Raats Family Wines. The wine then became a permanent edition to the Raats range establishing its own unique following amongst consumers. Now, for the first time since the 2010 vintage, Bruwer has taken the decision to declassify the MR de Compostella 2019 and blend the component parts into the Jasper Red Blend.

The ethos behind the MR de Compostella always dictates that the final blend needs to pack enough structural muscle and depth of fruit to ensure an age ability of at least 20 to 30+ years if cellared correctly. The declassification is certainly not based on a lesser quality of wines but more on their structural integrity that may not be quite sufficient for the long haul. So once again, the Jasper Red Blend is a super charged baby MR selling at a fraction of the price of the MR de Compostella Grand Vin.

Tasting new releases at Raats Family Wines in March 2022 with Bruwer Raats.

Back at the end of 2019, when I hosted Bruwer Raats in London and presented the world’s first full MR de Compostella vertical from 2004 to 2017, we included a very rare bottle of the Raats Red Jasper 2010 in the line up. The wine had aged beautifully but comparing the 2010 to even some of the older vintages, it did not have quite the density, structure and power that the other MR de Compostella blends had, vindicating Bruwer’s decision to declassify the wine. Having tasted the Jasper 2019 twice in recent weeks, I can’t help feeling that the wine is more serious and more structured than the 2010 was on release, but I trust that Bruwer’s judgement to declassify will be vindicated in years to come. Nevertheless, the Jasper 2019 is a fabulous red blend loaded with Cabernet Franc elegance and should find a willing home in most price savvy collectors’ cellars. So fill your boots I say!

Raats Family Wines Jasper Red Blend 2019, WO Stellenbosch, 14% Abv.

The 2019 is a blend of 50% Cabernet Franc, 43% Malbec, 3% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Petit Verdot and 1% Merlot creating an elegant, generous offering packed full of charm and finesse. The aromatics are delightfully subtle yet complex with notes of sweet allspice, blueberries and black raspberries, dark chocolate, dried cigars, sandalwood and freshly tilled earth nuances. As you would expect from a blend that is half Cabernet Franc, there is a seriously fine pin point texture that is both expansive and creamy but also shows an impressive weightless concentration. Medium bodied, the palate is supple and polished revealing a thirst-quenching freshness and approachable tannins on a long, persistent finish. Ready to drink now, this turbo charged Jasper will undoubtedly benefit from a few more years in the cellar. This is a very classy Cape Bordeaux blend indeed. Drink from 2023 to 2035+.

(Wine Safari Score: 95/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

Boekenhoutskloof’s New Release 2019 Reds and Whites Impress at their London Launch…

While some of Boekenhoutskloof’s headlines might have been stolen by its successful Swartland Porseleinberg Syrah project in recent years, its new releases remain a highlight on the wine calendar especially in the South African home market. With much of the fruit for the range now coming from several top properties in the Swartland as well as Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, quality can always be assured to hit an impressively high nouveau.

The 2019 vintage involved one of the earliest pickings to date with their Swartland Syrah vineyards exposed to extremely dry conditions during flowering resulting in earlier than normal bud break. The dry 2019 conditions also resulted in smaller berry clusters and reduced overall yields without compromising quality.

Good to catch up with Marc Kent.

Boekenhoutskloof Semillon 2019, WO Franschhoek, 13.2% Abv.

Pristinely pure nose displays all the complexity and exoticism that collectors have grown to know and love on this benchmark white. There are beautiful layers of wax and incense, subtle notes of muscat and multi-dimensional layers of lanolin, white peach and buttered white toast. The palate offers excellent balance and a vibrantly fresh, taut texture with yellow pithy citrus, lemon oil, almond skins and orange peel on the long, bright, concentrated finish. A very classy rendition of this classical grape. Drink now and over the next 15 to 20+ years.

(Wine Safari Score: 95/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

Boekenhoutskloof Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon 2019, WO Stellenbosch, 14.86% Abv.

Always a wine with depth and power but this 2019 also displays wonderful precision with pure perfumed aromatics of violets and sappy cassis leaf, sweet tobacco and hints of blackberry, fynbos and cedar spice. Deliciously cool and fresh, this wine shows a lovely acid frame on which there are opulent fruit layers of black currant, black cherry and black chocolate generously draped. An extremely elegant, classy fine wine. Drink from 2024 to 2040+

(Wine Safari Score: 96/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

Boekenhoutskloof Franschhoek Cabernet Sauvignon 2019, WO Franschhoek, 14.86% Abv.

Distinctly different to the Stellenbosch cuvee, the aromatics are fleshy and plush, overtly generous on the nose with purple flowers, mulberry, black currant and subtle hints of milk chocolate, salted toffee and creme brûlée. The palate is elegant and polished with fine gravelly tannins, soft black berry compote and a long, chalky finish with espresso and graphite nuances. Deliciously regal as always. Drink now to 2035+.

(Wine Safari Score: 95/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

Boekenhoutskloof Syrah 2019, WO Swartland, 13.95% Abv.

The aromatics are initially shy, slowly releasing notes of brûléed coffee beans, grilled herbs, cured meats and underlying hints of garrigue and sweet red and black berries. The palate is cool and broody with notes of liquorice and tar, barbecued meats and sun raisined cherries and a touch of smoky bacon fat and coffee beans on the finish. A slightly more restrained expression than other previous drought vintages. Drink now and over 10 to 15+ years.

(Wine Safari Score: 94/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

Boekenhoutskloof Noble Late Harvest 2018, WO Franschhoek, 10.85% Abv.

Made from grapes grown along the Franschhoek river on alluvial soils, this 100% Semillon achieves excellent levels of botrytis every year from its own unique meso-climate. Using several traditional tries or passes through the vineyard to pick the fruit, the results are impressive revealing a nose of lime and grapefruit marmalade, honeycomb, buttered warm brioche and cool creamy pineapple pastille with creme brûlée notes on the finish. Certainly shows a punchy sweetness that is more than adequately tempered by fresh tangy acids and harmonious vanilla pod oak spice. Drink now and over 10+ years.

(Wine Safari Score: 94/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

Assessing the Ken Forrester 2021 Reserve Chenin Blanc That Won Big at the Decanter World Wine Awards…

As results for the 2022 Decanter World Wine Awards start to be released, it was revealed that the Old Vine Chenin Blanc 2021 from Ken Forrester Vineyards was awarded a show stopping 97/100 points. Tasting a wine blind under competition conditions is always difficult but sometimes does throw up some unique results. As a previous panel chair for South Africa in 2020 and 2021, I know that to receive a 97 point score the wine would have to have been tasted two or three times by different judges as part of the thorough assessment process. So results cannot and should not be viewed as “flukes.”

I recently caught up in London with the legend himself, Ken Forrester, and we tasted the 2021 Chenin Blanc among other wines. Always a wine that represents outstanding quality for the money (circa £14-£15 per bottle retail), it remains one of the great “recession-busting” bargains of the South African wine industry. Imported into the UK by Enotria & Coe.

Ken Forrester Vineyards Old Vine Reserve Chenin Blanc 2021, WO Stellenbosch, 13.5% Abv.

A wonderfully expressive Old Vine Chenin Blanc for the money with intriguing aromatic layers of rock salt and tangerine peel, white citrus, green fig, yellow grapefruit and green granny smith apple pastille. The palate follows with lovely glycerol layers of pear and white peach, apple bon bons and chalky cream soda melon notes, finishing with yet more salinity and subtle granitic minerality. A delicious wine with great intensity and concentration that will leave drinkers with a smile on their face! Drink now and over the next 8 to 10 years.

(Wine Safari Score: 94/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

Brookdale Winery Coming of Age With Their Stunning new 2020 Chenin Blanc Release…

Brookdale is an impressive winery owned by Englishman Tim Rudd that is planted with 20+ year old Chenin Blanc vines as well as several other special Chenin Blanc blocks that are now fully certified as 37 year old Old Vines planted in 1985, situated at the foot of the lofty Du Toitskloof Pass in Paarl.

The property was bought by the Rudd family who instantly kick started a widespread replanting programme where sustainable viticulture and farming for the future generations were at the centre of their ethos. The first vintage of their new field blend white was recently released and will be reviewed on the Fine Wine Safari in coming weeks. With most of the previous vineyards acquired with the original estate very neglected, most were uprooted with only the old vine Chenin Blanc blocks retained. This exceptional site offers altitude and granitic soils rich in clay and schist that are perfectly suited for Chenin Blanc and in their 4th vintage, the true pedigree of the Brookdale terroir is finally being revealed with an exceptional white wine.

The Paarl Old Vine certified Chenin Blanc vineyard planted in 1985.

With winemaker Kiara Scott taking Brookdale forward from the 2019 vintage, Kiara is a young winemaker who studied at Elsenberg before being selected to join the Cape Winemakers Guild Protege Programme. Kiara has worked vintages in the Rhône Valley, Sancerre and the Russian River in Sonoma, California. Duncan Savage, who produced the first two vintages, still acts as a consultant to the ambitious Brookdale project helping them to meet their lofty aspirations.

Brookdale Chenin Blanc Single Vineyard 2020, WO Paarl, 13.5% Abv.

Now a designated single vineyard Chenin Blanc, and newly labelled as such, the 2020 certainly rises to the challenge to offer an old vine intensity and quality that exceeds anything released from Brookdale previously. Everything is text book here and assembled with absolute precision. The aromatics burst forth with lofty notes of tangy sweet and sour yellow citrus, wet straw, hints of pineapple pastille and sweet herbal notes of fynbos and dried thyme. Fabulous lift and intensity continue to the opulent palate that shows an impressive concentration of white peach and citrus fruits with a tangerine kiss underpinned by fabulously tangy acids and a pronounced stony wet river pebble minerality on the long, unctuous finish. A wine with a revved up complexity and intensity but also a delightfully sophisticated balance. This is top level Tetris where all the blocks have slotted in together seamlessly to create a wine of beauty. Enjoy on release and over the next 10 to 12+ years.

(Wine Safari Score: 95/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

A Seminal Vintage in the Crayfish Journey – Tasting Sakkie Mouton’s 4th Chenin Blanc Release…

After a two year absence from the Cape, I promised myself that I’d do a little West Coast road trip when I next visited the winelands. With a lot of help from Ian Naudé, this trip came to fruition in March 2022, beginning by collecting Sakkie Mouton in Malmesbury before heading up the coast. We stopped for an incredible Wes Kus lunch at the Wolfgat restaurant and this is where I first tasted Sakkie’s 2021 Full On Misfit as well as a recently bottled Crayfish 2021.

As both bottles were consumed with the incredible Wolfgat tasting menu, I obviously had a pretty good idea what I was in for when Sakkie sent me a finished, labelled and waxed bottle of the Revenge of the Crayfish 2021 to reassess in the more neutral surrounds of London.

Tasting with Sakkie Mouton at the Wolfgat Restaurant in Paternoster.

The vineyards for the Crayfish Chenin Blanc are located on well-drained sandy soils, about five kilometres from the cold Atlantic ocean, which receive a constant cooling effect from the sea that moderates the temperatures in this warm coastal region.

Confident and self-assured… Sakkie Mouton and the Revenge of the Crayfish Chenin Blanc 2021!

Grapes were hand harvested early in the morning, then taken to the cold room and cooled down for one night. This was done before being whole bunch pressed in an old basket press, followed by settling for twelve hours without any addition of enzymes except for a little Sulphur. The clear juice was then racked off and taken to 3rd and 4th fill 228L and 400L barrels as well as a batch fermented in stainless steel. Natural fermentation ensued for four weeks. After fermentation was completed the lees was regularly stirred once a week for eight months. Post fermentation carried out over a period of eight months on the gross lees before being bottled unfined and unfiltered.

Sakkie Mouton Family Wines Revenge of the Crayfish Chenin Blanc 2021, WO Koekenaap, 12.93% Abv.

1.1 g/l RS | 7.5 g/l TA | 3.11 pH

The refinement of this 2021 Chenin Blanc must surely represent a seminal moment in the evolution of the Crayfish Blanc. All the tell tale signs of the ‘Wes Kus’ are evident on the nose with multiple waves of maritime sea breeze, kelp on the beach and rock salt that combine with distinctly savoury, leesy biscuit nuances, waxy Granny Smith apples, yellow grapefruit citrus and wet stone mineral complexity. The beautiful palate shows noticeably extra textural depth and breadth compared to earlier vintages but also incredible intensity and piercing fruit concentration. There are notes of white citrus, tangerine peel, tart green apples, tangy lemon cordial and subtle notes of fresh litchi juice dusted with rock salt, dried fynbos herbs and nori seaweed. Fabulous precision and focus combine to make this one hell of a wine that finishes with deliciously tangy lemony acids and a pronounced saline white citrus fruit persistency. This is next level Chenin Blanc in my book that celebrates its own unique sense of place together with a maturing winemaking know-how. Simply stunning. Undoubtedly Sakkie’s best yet. Drink from release and over the next 10 to 15+ years.

(Wine Safari Score: 97/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

Taaibosch – One of the South African Wineland’s Most Exciting New Wineries Releases Their Crescendo 2019 Second Vintage…

There have arguably been few more exciting new releases on the South African wine scene recently than the resurrection of the fabled Crescendo Cape Bordeaux red blend by winemaker Schalk Willem Joubert and the team at Taaibosch, the Helderberg wine farm previously known as Cordoba.

One of the most striking features about their maiden release from the 2018 vintage was the wines notable structure, power and tannic frame which suggested that the owners were not particularly bothered about pandering to a modern aesthetic of instantaneous accessibility with an early drinking styling.

Read my 2018 review here… https://gregsherwoodmw.com/2021/07/03/taaibosch-crescendo-2018-recreating-a-legendary-stellenbosch-wine/

Tasting the maiden 2018, 2019 and 2020 Crescendo red blends with Schalk in the Taaibosch winery.
Revisiting the highly acclaimed 2018 Crescendo.

Classically constructed, the Crescendo 2018 is an age worthy creation that will reward extended cellaring in a style that many modern-day wineries have actively shied-away from recently in search of instant opulence and high critical ratings on release.

Walking the Taaibosch vineyards in the Helderberg where they are among the last to pick red grapes.
The view from the top of the Taaibosch farm overlooking newly planted vineyards.

In my most recent visit to the Cape winelands in March 2022, one of my first ports of call was of course the Taaibosch winery to see cellar master Schalk Willem Joubert to learn more about their vineyard replanting programme and to see their impressive new cellar on the farm. This is a winery experience not to be missed if visiting the Cape.

Visit: http://www.taaiboschwines.com

The impressive new Taaibosch winery.

Taaibosch Crescendo 2019, WO Stellenbosch, 13.2% Abv.

pH 3.55 | RS 1.8g/l | 13.2% Abv

Fermented in cement and stainless steel followed by full malolactic in 100% cement. After the base blend is made the wine is aged 13 months in 225 litre French oak barriques with a 30% new oak component, where after 70% is moved to large oak foudre for 12 to 13 months and 30% to cement for additional ageing. Once the final blend is assembled, the wine returns to concrete for 3 months. After being bottled unfiltered and unfined, the wine is then aged for a further 5 to 6 months in bottle with a target pre-release offer date of the 1st of May annually.

The large foudre where the Crescendo blend is married and aged.

A right bank blend of 65% Cabernet Franc, 26% Merlot and 9% Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2019 Crescendo shows a big, dense, complex nose with deep dark aromatics of black berries, creme de cassis, sweet cedar and grilled herbs intertwined with graphite, macerated black cherries and a dusty crushed gravel minerality. On the palate the wine is incredibly cool, broad and creamy showing immense power and dry extract concentration on the mid-palate together with wonderfully fine grained spicy mineral tannins and a very long, harmonious focused finish. A superbly complete and texturally pinpoint Cape Bordeaux red blend with a truly Grand Vin classical footprint. An iconic block-buster of the future. Make space in the cellar!

(Wine Safari Score: 97+/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

The Taaibosch open top fermenters.

Klein Constantia Continues to Push the Quality Boundaries with their Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2021…

The assessment of any great winery is surely measured by how well they make their largest and most commercially available estate wine. In the case of Klein Constantia, it has been thrilling to see winemaker Matt Day pushing the boundaries of quality and complexity on the estate’s main white release. Not content to merely make something that is commercially appealing, the team at Klein Constantia have over the past few years doubled their efforts to reclaim premium Sauvignon Blanc as Constantia’s number one global calling card.

While the experimentation and single vineyard expressions are fun to taste and write about, it is most pleasing to see that everything they learn making these micro cuvées gets translated back into plain English when applied to improve the balance, texture and complexity of their estate Sauvignon Blanc, just like the Mercedes formula 1 team uses innovations learnt on the track to improve and enhance their commercial mass market models. With intent and focus behind a wine brand like this, how can you not want to fill your cellar with their offerings!

Klein Constantia Sauvignon Blanc 2021, Constantia’s Valley, 13.5% Abv.

This 2021 made from over 40 separate parcels employing up to 25% skin contact, is a tantalising expression of pristine cool climate Sauvignon Blanc that combines the most intricate aromatic elements of white lemon blossom, grated lime peel, yellow grapefruit, freshly cut hedgerow and crunchy white peach. There is certainly a nervy saline green fruit crunch to the wine with the palate effortlessly weaving a dusty stony minerality seamlessly together with notes of spicy gooseberry, lemon grass, lime cordial, green apple and lashings of more white citrus and tangerine. This is a very distinguished expression that can be appreciated by serious Loire connoisseurs as well as weekend drinkers looking for a classy fresh glass of premium Sauvignon Blanc to compliment sushi and fresh seafood. This is Constantia Sauvignon Blanc at its versatile best.

(Wine Safari Score: 93/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

The Ultimate Chameleon Brand – Tasting the Diemersdal Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2020…

On my recent trip to South Africa, I finally popped my cherry and tasted the much talked about Diemersdal New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc 2020 from Marlborough. Already the third vintage in the collaboration between this South African estate and New Zealand producer Ben Glover from Glover Family Vineyards, tasting this wine inspired me to write a column for Winemag.co.za on chameleon brands. Read here: https://winemag.co.za/wine/opinion/greg-sherwood-mw-is-there-merit-in-chameleon-wine-brands/

The grapes for the 2020 were machine harvested at 21.2 Balling and crushed and destemmed reductively. The juice was co-inoculated with X5 and VL3 yeast which enhance some of the thiol notes but maintain the vibrant ripe herbaceous notes of the vineyard. The approximate time of fermentation was around 2 weeks, at around 12/13°C. The wine was then left on its lees for 3 to 4 weeks before racking and a small SO2 addition. The wine spent a further two months on its fine lees before bottling.

Diemersdal Sauvignon Blanc 2020, Marlborough, New Zealand, 12.5% Abv.

3.6 g/l RS | 7.8 g/l TA | 3.18 pH

First nosing of this Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc indicates that there is a lot going on in the glass. The aromatics are classical and subtle but equally complex with notes of pithy white citrus, green apple cordial, white peach, dried herbs and savoury tinned petit pois nuances. The palate is taut and crisp with a strict linear structure in the mouth bolstered by cool, clean green crunchy acids and layers of green papaya, crunchy pears, apple pastille and peach fruits. Never too fruity or too pungent, but always cool and crystalline with some lovely limestone minerality on the finish, this is quite a grown-up expression of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc from the Wairau Valley. Drink now and over the next 2 to 3 years.

(Wine Safari Score: 93/100 Greg Sherwood MW)