2018 Neudorf Sauvignon Blanc, Nelson
2018 Neudorf Rosie’s Block Chardonnay, Nelson
There is no escaping the fact that most NZ Sauvignon Blanc is made, and tastes, the same way. Varying degrees of concentration maybe but for the most part it is strongly varietal, with plenty of upfront fruit, fairly high acidity and a squeaky clean character. Although it is popular to ridicule sauvignon and the people who drink it, this very sameness is its greatest strength.
So how do winemakers make sauvignon blanc more interesting? Some go down the reduction/gun flint path making wines with strong grapefruit peel notes, often with neutral barrel maturation and a touch of lees stirring. This can add interest and make wines that are impressive but sometimes have such a overt character they are quite hard to drink.
It was therefore interesting to taste the 2018 Sauvignon Blanc ($25.00), a wine that manages the straddle the line between retaining a good degree of drinkability and yet having enough interest to appease those looking for something ‘extra’. 100% wild yeast and with a percentage fermented in old oak it has a subtle graceful character. It shows the 2018 vintage nicely; a lighter, prettier style of wine with a strong wet stone. A nice degree of complexity without . The fruit is sourced from the Marama vineyard, off 13 year old vines so maybe a little bit of vine age has created that extra something?
The 2018 Rosie’s Block Chardonnay ($33.00) is very much in the same vein with subtlety and restraint to the fore. Although the name implies a single vineyard wine, the fruit was sourced from several sites and is a blend of different clones (Mendoza, 15, 85, 8021 and 548). The aromas are of just-ripe white nectarine, honeydew melon and red apple with a strong wet-stone, oyster shell note too. The wine has texture with a small amount of oak and some lees stirring adding an extra degree of complexity. An understated but very appealing style of chardonnay that has a strong ‘drink-me-now’ quality.