Wander through a block of Sauvignon Blanc vines in the days before harvest and taste the berries from either side of the row, within the shaded areas of the canopy and from the most exposed, golden clusters. The spectrum of fruit flavours and aromas which define the bright, outgoing character of this variety are all there, loud and clear. Absolutely my favourite grape to eat from the vine!
Greenhough, Nelson Sauvignon Blanc is a classic ‘top of the south’ style with focus on ‘crunchy’ fresh fruit and fragrance. The Hope Vineyard Sauvignon is an alternative style which explores the complexity and textural richness that comes from skin contact and wild fermentation in barrel.
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2019 River Garden Sauvignon Blanc
“The 2019 vintage is the first to be labelled ‘River Garden’. Fresh and mouth filling, it is sweet-fruited, with generous, ripe tropical-fruit flavours, a subtle seasoning of oak, good drive through the palate, finely balanced acidity and a rounded finish. Already delicious, it offers excellent drinking now to 2021.” 5 Stars, Michael Cooper – Wine Buyer’s Guide 2020
A classic ‘top of the south’ style, vibrant and ‘crunchy’ in spirit. A small portion of high solids, wild fermentation in neutral oak has tamed the most overt of Sauvignon characters and contributed subtle palate texture and depth.
Organically grown on the Home and Morison Vineyards, our vines are pruned to a single fruiting wire. Higher density planting than what is typical for this variety does ensure average yields are achieved however. This fruit was machine harvested in several parcels to ensure a spectrum and balance of flavours. Predominantly tank fermented using a selection of aromatic yeasts, a small percentage of high-solids juice was wild fermented in barrel. The savoury, spicy, very textural character of this portion contrasts markedly with the fruity freshness and varietal purity of the tank fermented portion. Largely concealed within the overall blend there is nonetheless an implied layer of texture and dimension which contributes to the finished wine.
Generous, bright aromas of floral citrus, fresh passionfruit, melon, spice and a nettly, crushed herb fragrance. The palate has an appealing breadth, a succulent core of soft citrus and rock melon suggestive of sweetness in spite of being genuinely dry in style? A fine, mineral acidity balances and refreshes this fruit-rich, almost creamy mouthfeel which finishes with a hint of aromatic spice.
2017 Hope Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc
“This has layers of complexity. Dry to taste and medium-full bodied, the palate has a tight, deep and intense core of concentrated flavours of green stonefruits entwined with fresh herbs, stalks and cut-grass unfolding greengage and nettle notes. This is a complex, oak-influenced Sauvignon Blanc with green stonefruits and cool-spectrum flavours on a palate with fine textures and very good linearity.” 18/20 Raymond Chan
This ‘alternative’ Sauvignon Blanc developed from a desire to build a complex and textural wine style. Extended skin contact, wild fermentation in barrel and lees contact have contributed subtle aromatic corruption, savoury spice and phenolic interest.
A number of rows within the Hope Vineyard ‘Larches Block’ have been selected for their later-ripening rootstock and spur pruned to encourage more uniform shoot growth and even ripening. One third of the fruit was machine harvested and macerated for 36 hours, the remainder gently pressed immediately after picking. These strikingly different juice portions were briefly settled, transferred to French oak barriques (17% new), and inoculated with a vineyard yeast pied-de-cuve. The wine rested on gross yeast lees for a further eight months and completed malolactic fermentation during this time.
This wine sets out to embody the characters of fruit picked a day early rather than a day too late. Aromas are distinctly varietal – ripe yet fresh in equal measure. Floral, fragrant with notes of zesty citrus oil and herbal, caraway and fennel seed characters. Also present is an added depth of savoury oak, yeast lees and a sniff of struck match complexity.
The palate is incisive and attractively structured. Barrel fermentation and skins-derived extract contribute textural vigour and resilience, well wrapped within the body of the wine. Its light, natural fruit sweetness (in the way of milk fresh from the coconut), hints of malolactic and integrated yeast characters soften and enrich the whole. The wine fulfills the brief – to create complexity and balance out of a range of individual elements.