If you're looking for a slightly cheaper Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand but with no compromise on quality, this is the best of the best...
Waimea Estate 2010 Sauvignon Blanc
Nelson’s Waimea Estate is a family-owned company with two generations pitching in to complete its 14th vintage. Local orchardists Trevor and Robyn Bolitho started planting vines on the Waimea plains in 1994, having previously grown assorted vegetables, pears and apples. As the winery became more successful, the apple trees gradually made way for the vines and the only fruit that now grows on their 104ha is grapes.
The Nelson wine industry is tiny, making up just 4% of the country’s total production. Most producers are small too: Waimea is considered one of the major players in the region, and their production is dwarfed by most ‘small’ wineries in nearby Marlborough.
While it’s just a 90 minute drive from Marlborough, Nelson’s Sauvignon Blanc style is very different – producers are proud that it is more food friendly and restrained.
Ben Bolitho, Trevor and Robyn’s son and, now viticulturalist at Waimea, says: “You will find it a lot more intense: minerally, flinty with a bit more palate weight than Marlborough. We get a bit more alcohol and acid balance too.”
Nelson boasts the most sunshine hours in New Zealand. The 2010 vintage was another sunny year, remembers Ben: “2010 was a relatively low yielding vintage. It started off cool through the spring and then we had perfect summer condition until harvest.”
The family believe their success lies in the time spent in the vineyards, particularly when crucial picking decisions have to be made.
When they’re not tending their vineyards, the Bolitho family are the quintessential hunting, shooting, fishing Kiwis.
Written by Matt Chappell