Why should you care? New Zealand, particularly Marlborough, has garnered a well-earned reputation for its bracingly fresh, oak-free sauvignon blancs with the citrus, gooseberry, herbal and peppery qualities that call to mind the finer examples of sauvignon blanc from France’s Loire Valley–and usually at lower prices. As refreshing as many of these wines are, however, most of them adhere to the same basic recipe. Today, more adventuresome wineries have something a bit more serious and creative in mind. Greywacke comes with an impressive pedigree: it’s the new project of sauvignon blanc guru Kevin Judd, who created New Zealand’s most famous sauvignon, Cloudy Bay, and put Marlborough on the world wine map during his 25 years as winemaker there.
What does it taste like? Unlike most New Zealand sauvignons, this special bottling from Greywacke was fermented in old barrels with wild yeasts. Its captivating aromas of pineapple, pink grapefruit and peach are lifted by an ineffable topnote of brown spices. This dense, deep wine is almost chardonnay-like in its textural richness but boasts terrific energy and grip, with the harmonious acidity and sheer stuffing to buffer the oak component. This compelling, fruit-driven sauvignon finishes tactile, dry and very long. My score: 93 points.
How much does it cost, and where can you find it? $29; Old Bridge Cellars.