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International Trophy Sauvignon Blanc under £15 – Small and Small, Sylvia Reserve Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand 2014

Elegant, slightly reticent nose, but with a perfumed clarity of lanolin, pea pod, passion fruit and spice. The palate is similarly focused, with hints of blackcurrant leaf, flint, tropical fruit and a slightly savoury slant. It has great vitality, a chalky texture and enticing length (13%).
£10.49 Naked Wines

A trio of New World Sauvignon Blancs were in the running for this International Trophy, but it was Small and Small’s Marlborough example that won the day for its textbook expression of the grape.

The fruit is sourced from the south side of the Awatere River where, in the words of Bill and Claudia Small, ‘we can ignore the rulebook and make wine the way we like it – intense and complex, and tasting like it could come from nowhere else on earth’.

The Smalls met while studying at the University of Adelaide in South Australia in the mid-1990s, moving to Marlborough in 2004 to take up jobs with large wine companies. The opportunity to go it alone only came in 2010, thanks to the customerfunded business model of online retailer Naked Wines.

That switch coincided with the raising of a family, yielding a name for this wine in the process. The Smalls’ daughter Sylvia was just eight weeks old when the grapes for this wine’s first vintage were being picked.

Small and Small is still, aptly, far from a large-scale producer, operating mainly from the family’s spare bedroom, making wine in rented space at a local winery and using grapes grown to the couple’s specifications by growers with vineyards ‘in the bits of Marlborough we love’.

‘The grapes are very forgiving for a winemaker,’ the Smalls say. ‘They have so much natural flavour that all our efforts can be focused on giving the wine subtle complexity and drinkability.’

BC-May2015-016Husband-and-wife team Bill (winemaker) and Claudia (viticulturist) Small

Tasted against

Paul Cluver, Sauvignon Blanc, Elgin, South Africa 2014 • Undurraga, Sibaris Sauvignon Blanc Gran Reserva, Leyda Valley, San Antonio, Chile 2013.

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