Fabulously aromatic on the nose showing green rock melon, feijoa, kiwifruit and jasmine, followed by an intensely flavorsome palate, offering excellent fruit power and persistence. It’s intense and concentrated with classical varietal characters that linger with loads of delectable flavors. A bit tight and linear in its youth, but will broaden and build texture with some time in bottle.
95 pts – Wine Orbit (Sam Kim)
Given the boring nature of this category, the decision was made to take Kiwi SB in a new direction. Harvested in the cool of the morning & softly pressed. Fermented slowly in stainless steel tanks at cool temperatures to preserve the freshness and zing of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. Lees ageing (4-6 months) prior to bottling has developed mid-palate weight, adding to the wine’s intense fruit characters. This Sur Lie process is the same as that employed in Sancerre and Bordeaux and has made the world of difference, qualitatively. Several years ago, clonal material from Bordeaux was planted – primarily in Waihopai Valley – and that fruit is now being incorporated in this wine, giving it more complexity and layers than most Marlborough SB’s (99% of which are made with Clone UCD1). Yields have been dropped as well – to below 5 tons/acre (less than half the average for the region). The idea is simply to produce a high quality, sophisticated wine of contrast and intrigue.
Mount Fishtail Sauvignon Blanc “Sur Lie” is different from the 300+ labels currently in themarket. One has to remember that more than 80% of all Marlborough SB’s are made with fruit that is contract grown and contract processed. This means that there is little control over yield sizes, picking regimens, processing methods and winemaker manipulation. The fact that the vast majority of all Kiwi SB is made with a single clone, called UCD1, and is processed in the same way, with (often) overcropped fruit, suggests that consumers are unlikely to tell the difference from one wine to the other, since they all taste so alike. In the end, the only thing that matters becomes the price. Wines like this one, prove that there can be a stylistic renaissance for Marlborough SB and we think that this development of more mid palate texture, is the perfect solution for the American market.
SUR LIE AGEING: The process of allowing this wine to sit on the lees (left over dead yeast cells) in order to extract flavors and enrich the palate. Wines aged on their lees tend to be creamier, richer, fuller-bodied, with greater depth and complexity.