|2019 Sauvignon Blanc||13.5% alcohol||$28.00|
|2013 Section 94||14.0% alcohol||$40.00|
|2012 Section 94||13.5% alcohol||$40.00|
|2017 Chardonnay||13.5% alcohol||$40.00|
|2017 Pinot Noir||14.0% alcohol||$50.00|
For a team as experienced as the Dog Pointers (surely some of the most consistently capable of hands) it would take a catastrophic upset for the wines to be anything other than excellent. So when the year’s new releases arrived from the winery there was an initial fleeting thought; “do we actually need to review these or shall we just drink them?” But even the most esteemed can slip (witness the scathing reviews heaped on the Mercedes Maybach 57), so we rolled up our sleeves and set to work.
The 2019 Sauvignon Blanc is delicious. Definitely a powerful punchy style of sauvignon with the whiff of gun-flinty sulphides layered on top of red grapefruit, wet stone and fresh lemon grass. The palate is dry and persistent with the flavours continuing to linger for some time. Just the right amount of ‘out there’ without being too out there.
The two Section 94s were quite different beasts. So much so that we double checked the labels once the wines were revealed to make sure we hadn’t made a mistake. The secret weapon of this wine, much imitated but rarely equalled, is the density of fruit that is woven into the palate. The 2012 Section 94 was just as expected, complex aromas of citrus (grapefruit, lemon peel and kaffir lime) and stone fruit (greengage plum and white nectarine) supported by struck match and gunflint. The palate is exuberant, positively brimming with fruit and mouth-watering succulent acidity. For a wine approaching its 10th birthday it was still pristine and very lively, the long finish suggesting it is in no hurry to be drunk. The 2013 Section 94 is quite different. It doesn’t carry the sauvignon blanc flag quite so high, with a more restrained note of soft basil, yellow plum and nectarine leading to a silky, creamy palate. This is a more toned down version, the note of reduction blending in seamlessly and leading to a long intense finish. A fascinating powerful wine.
For lovers of white Burgundy, the 2017 Chardonnay should be essential buying. There is weight and real intensity, the flavours supported by a touch of new oak. The palate has impressive concentration, the core of ripe fruit seeming to soak up both the oak and the punch of flinty reduction effortlessly. A fantastic example of NZ, and Marlborough, chardonnay.
The only wine that didn’t set our hearts racing was the 2017 Pinot Noir. Whilst it is still very good, with plenty of morello cherry and red plum aromas, maybe this wine is just a bit too polished? The palate is silky and generous, the strong layer of oak quite noticeable, and with the 14% alcohol, gives a wine that is almost too much of a good thing. Though we have both drunk older vintages that have delighted so maybe this just needs time to resolve?
The truly astonishing thing about these wines is their price. The 2019 Sauvignon Blanc retails for between $25-28 which, one could argue, is more expensive than most Marlborough SB but is a steal for a wine so carefully made. The 2017 Chardonnay is $40.00, about one third of the price of a bottle of top quality village level white Burgundy but capable of delivering just as much, if not much more pleasure. And sealed with a screwcap too, so no risk of TCA or random/premature oxidation.
So no-one should have any reason to regret their purchase of these wines, unlike those who parted with upwards of $750,000 for the ill-fated Maybach.