I did not intend to cover any Sauvignon Blanc in this spotlight, primarily because while certainly distinctive, the grape has tended to overshadow much of the far more interesting wines being made in the country. However, I was intrigued enough by this Hawke’s Bay Savvy, and found it sufficiently unique to feature it in a post.
And Co. Ltd. is a new winery in Hawke’s Bay that reportedly was all about seeking the ultimate terroir for Sauv Blanc in New Zealand. Winemaker and owner Gabrielle Simmers settled on an 8.8 hectare estate, with north facing slopes on calcerous soils. These soils typically drain well and cause vines to produce more sap, which reduces sugar levels and increases acidity.
The winery reports that it farms organically and vinifies the wine ‘naturally’, but their website gives no information on the processes they use, and my research could only turn up that they use low levels of sulphur.
Texturally Suave New World Savvy
You don’t typically see a lot of Hawk’s Bay Sauvignon Blanc. Most SB comes from Marlborough and is very powerful, expressive and full of pine, grapefruit, citrus and explosive aromatics. This wine offers something different, focusing much more on texture and the unique fruit characteristics of its terroir than the NZ style.
The nose is expressive, with honey, pear and white nectarine. The palate is fairly different from your typical NZ sauvignon blanc, being a lot richer and rounder. This is texturally soft wine, and tasty to boot; however, I found it a bit hot on the finish which dissipated from its sense of freshness. Nonetheless, the fruit is big and expressive and offers a fairly unique and high quality take on NZ SB.
So, while I think that the marketers for this winery have oversold its uniqueness somewhat (though this is the winery’s first vintage and I don’t even know how old these vines are), this is a wine with promise. It is about richness, texture and intensity along with its slightly off-centre flavour profile. There is no mistaking this is new world Sauvignon Blanc, though, and it lacks the minerality and directness you get from the Loire Valley. However, it is a far better price than most wines from both Sancerre and Pouilly Fume and it mimics the “Dagueneau” style fairly well (though with less complexity and sophistication).
That said, I’m not sure why the marketers and several critics want to compare this to French Sauvignon Blanc. That would take away from what is interesting about this wine – it is clearly a new world SB with a strong sense of terroir and good expressivity. This is a good thing. Whether you like it or not? That’s a personal preference. Sauv Blanc haters will not be converted by this wine; however, those who enjoy Sauv Blanc’s flavour profile and are looking for something different should check it out.
$29 at Marquis Wine Cellar