This year's Decanter World Wine Awards Regional Trophy for New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc under £15 went to Yealands, Peter Yealands Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough 2013 (13%)
- Babich, Black Label Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough 2013
It was in 2001 that Peter Yealands and wife Violet began buying strips of land in Awatere Valley in northeast Marlborough. With low rainfall, buffeting winds and steep slopes, it was an environment that had been regarded as too severe in which to grow quality grapes. The Yealands ploughed on regardless – literally – with Peter re-shaping and re-contouring the land, morphing it into a working vineyard.
As a result, the Yealands team have discovered markedly different tastes in their grapes, as chief winemaker, Tamra Kelly- Washington, explains: ‘The vines exposed to the strong coastal winds give smaller, more intense berries, while those in the hollows generate more lush fruit.’
Most of Kelly-Washington’s career was spent in Europe, particularly Italy, before she returned to Marlborough in 2007, tempted by the chance to help build a winery from scratch (Yealands’ Seaview winery opened in 2008).
For this Trophy-winner she sourced fruit from two Marlborough sub-regions: Awatere Valley and Lower Wairau. The 75% Awatere fruit gives restrained, textural, flinty, focused flavours, while grapes from the warmer Lower Wairau sub-region add a layer of plush, tropical weight to the wine, creating a very harmonious blend. ‘It’s Marlborough in a glass!’ says Kelly-Washington.
Written by Decanter