This year's Decanter World Wine Awards Regional Trophy for New Zealand Sweet under £15 went to Marisco, The Ned Noble Sauvignon Blanc, Waihopai Valley, Marlborough 2013 (10%)

Tasted against:
Brancott Estate, Letter Series B, Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough 2013

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The second Regional Trophy this year for Marisco, whose first vintage was only in 2006. The high-tech winery, completed in 2010, is situated on the southern side of the Wairau Valley among 268 hectares of mature vines, with the Waihopai River running along the entire length of the estate.

The river forms a picturesque boundary, but is also the origin of the ancient shingle terroir that makes up much of the vineyard, although there are three terraces of clay within it – these, says owner and winemaker brent Marris, ‘give fruit variation and complexity that a winemaker can normally only ever dream of on one site.’

Equally dreamy was the 2013 vintage, which gave ‘near-perfect’ growing conditions. Double the normal quota of rainfall in autumn meant fully charged soils at the start of the growing season, which were then bathed in much warmer, sunnier temperatures from September to January than average.

The result: uniform ripening that saw the winery team working flat-out to process in three weeks the volume of grapes they would normally deal with in four or five. Marisco considers 2013 to be a ‘truly great vintage’, with this botrytised Trophy-winner undergoing a six-month fermentation that has resulted in an unctuous, marmaladey sweet wine (at 176g/l of residual sugar) balanced by the trademark high acidity of Waihopai’s Sauvignon Blanc.

Written by Decanter