The Society's New Zealand Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2016 is no longer available

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The Society's New Zealand Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2016

White Wine from New Zealand
An elegant lemon-and-lime-scented sauvignon, mouthwatering, dry and fresh. 50% of the fruit comes from the Awatere and 50% from the Wairau sub-regions of Marlborough, resulting in complex cut-grass and gooseberry notes. It is easy to see why Marlborough sauvignon in this style is so successful.
is no longer available
Code: NZ9251

Wine characteristics

  • White Wine
  • 2 - Dry
  • Sauvignon Blanc
  • 13% Alcohol
  • No oak influence
  • Within two years of purchase
  • Screwcap

New Zealand

Still a baby when compared with other regions, New Zealand has quickly earned a reputation for top-quality wine. New Zealand might be a relative newcomer to the wine world (in 1960, the country had fewer than 400 hectares of vine) but its rise to pre-eminence is extraordinary. The precise, pure flavour of its wines has captured the attention of wine drinkers; Society sales certainly reflect this.

The country’s two islands cover a vast area from north to south (it is often quoted in wine books that if New Zealand was in the northern hemisphere, the country would stretch from North Africa to Paris). The maritime climate is influenced by the strong prevailing winds of the Pacific Ocean and the striking mountainous terrain. These factors give the islands a wide range of growing conditions; broadly speaking, the regions of the North Island tend to be warmer than the cooler South Island.

The cool New Zealand climate offers real opportunity for aromatic varieties like sauvignon blanc,...
Still a baby when compared with other regions, New Zealand has quickly earned a reputation for top-quality wine. New Zealand might be a relative newcomer to the wine world (in 1960, the country had fewer than 400 hectares of vine) but its rise to pre-eminence is extraordinary. The precise, pure flavour of its wines has captured the attention of wine drinkers; Society sales certainly reflect this.

The country’s two islands cover a vast area from north to south (it is often quoted in wine books that if New Zealand was in the northern hemisphere, the country would stretch from North Africa to Paris). The maritime climate is influenced by the strong prevailing winds of the Pacific Ocean and the striking mountainous terrain. These factors give the islands a wide range of growing conditions; broadly speaking, the regions of the North Island tend to be warmer than the cooler South Island.

The cool New Zealand climate offers real opportunity for aromatic varieties like sauvignon blanc, riesling, pinot gris and gewurztraminer . Of the latter three, young plantings mean many styles rely more on sugar than fruit, which we avoid buying. But the very best share the intensity and palate weight of great Alsace examples with vibrant, lifted flavours. South Island’s Marlborough region is the benchmark setter for the former, and there are many pungently aromatic sauvignons that are stunning. Look out, too, for some of the exciting sub-regional wines – the Awatere is Marlborough’s coolest valley, now making really attractive, delicate and grassy wines, and Nelson across the hills is yielding superb wines from quality conscious producers like Neudorf.

The first sauvignon blanc vines were planted in Marlborough around 30 years ago, when most farmers were raising cattle or growing fruit. The wines have since taken the world by storm. Farms have been replaced by vineyards, and today, chardonnay and pinot also flourish in Marlborough’s cool climate. The choice is sensational, so is the consistency in quality. However, Marlborough is not only about sauvignon blanc and there are crisp, juicy chardonnays and ripe but balanced pinot noirs of excellence.

Further south is Central Otago, in the centre of the island. Pinot noir is something of a speciality here, though on the wrong site it can have difficulty reaching full maturity in this continental climate. The best seasons produce the country’s most dazzling examples of the grape, full-flavoured and superbly pure, and the greatest wines of this scenic region are in high demand around the world

The north island also boasts excellent wine regions. North of the city of Auckland there is the Bay of Islands where a unique microclimate helps winemakers produce some wonderful reds, and the Brajkovich family’s Kumeu River Estate, specialising in rich but elegant chardonnay, can be found just north-west of New Zealand's biggest city. Waiheke Island, just off the coast close to Auckland, also produces some excellent wines.

Hawkes Bay on the east coast of the North Island covers an extensive area of rolling hills, a sweep of coastline and the sharply dominant Te Mata Peak. The warm climate successfully ripens red grape varieties, the very best grown in the gravelly alluvial soils of the Gimblett Gravels appellation. Syrah is now adding its name to the roll call of successful varieties like cabernet and merlot. Chardonnay is well established here too, and the area makes some of New Zealand’s fullest and ripest examples.

Close to Wellington at the southern tip of the North Island is Martinborough, arguably New Zealand’s most exciting area for pinot noir. The long growing season is particularly suitable to the slow, gradual ripening that this Burgundian grape so enjoys.
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Villa Maria Estate

Villa Maria is the most awarded winery in New Zealand, so it is not surprising that the estate’s benchmark style led to it being selected as the producer of both our Exhibition Marlborough Pinot Noir and our Society's New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. What may come as more of a surprise, however, is the fact that the estate began as a one-man operation in Auckland back in the early 1960s, and that this same man is still at the helm of the company.

The name of that man is George Fistonich, and under his skilful leadership Villa Maria has consistently been a forerunner in New Zealand wine production. It was the first in the country to pay for grapes according to their quality rather than their quantity, as well as the first New Zealand winery to convert to 100% screwcap closures in 2001. The company was also one of the first to dedicate itself to more sustainable viticultural practises back in 1995.

Over the years, the estate has developed a reputation for being one of New Zealand's largest and most consistent producers, to the extent that George was the first in his country to receive a knighthood for services to the wine industry.

Villa Maria has impressive wineries both in Auckland and Marlborough, with many estate-owned vineyards in key sites across both of these regions, as well as in Gisborne and Hawkes Bay. In fact, one of Villa Maria’s key features is the fact it owns and buys fruit from almost every major growing region in New Zealand, making the company an unbeatable source ...
Villa Maria is the most awarded winery in New Zealand, so it is not surprising that the estate’s benchmark style led to it being selected as the producer of both our Exhibition Marlborough Pinot Noir and our Society's New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. What may come as more of a surprise, however, is the fact that the estate began as a one-man operation in Auckland back in the early 1960s, and that this same man is still at the helm of the company.

The name of that man is George Fistonich, and under his skilful leadership Villa Maria has consistently been a forerunner in New Zealand wine production. It was the first in the country to pay for grapes according to their quality rather than their quantity, as well as the first New Zealand winery to convert to 100% screwcap closures in 2001. The company was also one of the first to dedicate itself to more sustainable viticultural practises back in 1995.

Over the years, the estate has developed a reputation for being one of New Zealand's largest and most consistent producers, to the extent that George was the first in his country to receive a knighthood for services to the wine industry.

Villa Maria has impressive wineries both in Auckland and Marlborough, with many estate-owned vineyards in key sites across both of these regions, as well as in Gisborne and Hawkes Bay. In fact, one of Villa Maria’s key features is the fact it owns and buys fruit from almost every major growing region in New Zealand, making the company an unbeatable source for top-quality fruit.

The estate carefully manages yields to ensure the respective vineyards produce fruit that is truly reflective of its location. The grapes for The Society's New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc are hand picked from two prime sites in the Awatere and Wairu Valleys in Villa Maria’s Marlborough vineyards, while the Exhibition Marlborough Pinot Noir is a single-vineyard wine showing the plump succulence and elegance of top-quality Kiwi pinot noir.

Although the dynamic George still runs the company, winemaking direction is down to Master of Wine Alistair Maling.
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New Zealand Vintage 2016

Overall, New Zealand's harvest totals were up 20-30% on the very small 2015 vintage, but did not exceed the record sized 2014. However, the additional yield in 2016 will help towards the shortfall created by a growing global demand and the smaller 2015 harvest.

In Marlborough the vintage went reasonably well, without any major climatic issues through spring and summer. Summer was reasonably dry allowing for good concentration and full ripeness, although rain at key times helped maintain vine growth and healthy yields. There was a little rain towards the end of harvest, but the producers that we work with were finished well before the trouble. 2016 is a classic Marlborough vintage, perhaps without the intensity of the 2015, but plenty of charm.

In Central Otago the vintage was warm and dry in comparison to 2015 and 2014. This has led to some excellent fully ripe pinot sites, and expectations are very high for the quality of this vintage. Hawke's Bay has had a successive run of very good ...
Overall, New Zealand's harvest totals were up 20-30% on the very small 2015 vintage, but did not exceed the record sized 2014. However, the additional yield in 2016 will help towards the shortfall created by a growing global demand and the smaller 2015 harvest.

In Marlborough the vintage went reasonably well, without any major climatic issues through spring and summer. Summer was reasonably dry allowing for good concentration and full ripeness, although rain at key times helped maintain vine growth and healthy yields. There was a little rain towards the end of harvest, but the producers that we work with were finished well before the trouble. 2016 is a classic Marlborough vintage, perhaps without the intensity of the 2015, but plenty of charm.

In Central Otago the vintage was warm and dry in comparison to 2015 and 2014. This has led to some excellent fully ripe pinot sites, and expectations are very high for the quality of this vintage. Hawke's Bay has had a successive run of very good vintages, in 2013, 2014 and 2015, but 2016 was a little trickier. With slightly cooler than average conditions the best grapes came from the warmer, more protected sites.
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2016 vintage reviews
2015 vintage reviews
2014 vintage reviews

Kent & Sussex Courier

Produced by VillaMaria, New Zealand's largest fully owned family winery, this is a grassy,uplifting and energizing aromatic white with gorgeous flavours of gooseberry,tropical fruit and green peas....
Produced by VillaMaria, New Zealand's largest fully owned family winery, this is a grassy,uplifting and energizing aromatic white with gorgeous flavours of gooseberry,tropical fruit and green peas. It's concentrated, fresh, exuberant, typicallycrisp and entirely delicious! A handy performer and very well put together,this beauty has great length and focus, and an even more impressive finish.Pure enjoyment as an aperitif or with a goats' cheese salad with seasonalasparagus/tangerine and fennel, lemon chicken, fish and chips, tomato salad,scallops or sushi.
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- James Viner

The Wine Gang

Textbook Kiwisauvignon, made for The Wine Society by Villa Maria with half the blend fromAwatere and half from Wairau, and offering all the lime- and nettle-inflectedpassion fruit juiciness and verve that ...
Textbook Kiwisauvignon, made for The Wine Society by Villa Maria with half the blend fromAwatere and half from Wairau, and offering all the lime- and nettle-inflectedpassion fruit juiciness and verve that makes the style such an easy-drinkingjoy at its best.
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- The Wine Gang

JancisRobinson.com

Herby, grassy,gooseberry fruit – absolutely prototypical. A touch of sweet-sour clash on thefinish, which might get a bit much after the first glass.

15/20 Richard Hemming

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