2013 TWR (Te Whare Ra) Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough (Elsewhere $24+)

SKU #1160918 94 points Raymond Chan

 Bright, very pale straw colour with slight green hues, pale on rim. The nose is slender, taut and tightly bound, and delicate in its intensity, with aromas of passionfruit, white flowers, minerals and nettles forming a very fine and intricate array on bouquet. Dry to taste, tightly bound, penetrating flavours of lifted, vibrant and juicy passionfruit, lime and white flowers are enlivened by bright, softly ripe acidity and balanced by chalky mineral textures. The palate has excellent linearity and drive, the mouthfeel possessing vitality and raciness with steel cut, leading to a very long, lingering and dry finish with passionfruit and wet-stone nuances. This is a vibrant, penetrating, taut Sauvignon Blanc with a chalky, minerally mouthfeel. Serve as an aperitif, with seafood, salads and vegetables, and with Mediterranean fare over the next 3 years. Fruit 78.5% from the ‘Trelawne Farm’ vineyard, Awatere and 21.5% ‘TWR Home Block’, Renwick, stainless-steel fermented with 6% in older French oak demi-muids to 13.5% alc., the wine aged on lees. 1,720 cases made.  (6/2014)

93 points Sam Kim

 What a beauty! This is an elegant rendition of the variety but not short on delicious flavours. The fragrant bouquet shows feijoa, lime zest, floral and jasmine aromas, leading to a juicy palate that is focused and finely textured, and is very long on the finish. Expressive but not aggressive. Grapes were sourced mainly from the Awatere Valley with the balance from their home vineyard in Renwick. At its best: now to 2017.  (5/2014)

Bob Campbell

 Delicately grassy Sauvignon Blanc with grapefruit, lemon grass, green capsicum, gooseberry and an appealing thread of minerality. Quite Sancerre-like wine with subtle power and a lengthy finish.

K&L Notes

The Wall Street Journal noted in May, 2014: "An absolute stand out, Te Whare Ra’s wine has a real depth of flavor on the nose, with tropical and citrus notes. Once sipped it has a core of minerality rounded off by a vibrant, juicy acidity. Quite simply one of New Zealand’s top Sauvignon Blancs." Indeed, the 2013 vintage has been hailed as a "vintage of a lifetime" in NZ and TWR's Savvy shows exactly why. Carefully hand-selected from two single blocks (Trelawne Farm Vineyard in the Awatere Valley and TWR's "Home Block" in Renwick). The wine is fermented in a combination of small stainless steel tanks and neutral French oak puncheons. The purity of fruit and raciness of the tank portion is perfectly complimented by the more savory, mineral and richer textural element of the barrel fermented lots. There are so many more dimensions here than in many Marlborough renditions. Snappy citrus, passion flower, preserved lemon and crushed herbs, great texture and long, long persistence on the palate. Fro the last three years this wine has been a permanent "Staff Pick" here at K&L and the 2013 looks to be the best edition yet. (Ryan Woodhouse K&L New Zealand wine buyer)

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By: Steve Bearden | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 7/28/2015 | Send Email
I am a big fan of the entire TWR portfolio but my favorite is always this vibrant Sauvignon Blanc because of its pure flavors and rich texture. Herb, melon, crushed citrus and just a hint of musk add complexity to this weighty but very refreshing value.

By: Diana Turk | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 5/29/2015 | Send Email
Green capsicum (bell pepper for us Yanks), tropical fruit on the nose with elderberry and citrus on the palate - this has all the grassy, crisp qualities you want in a Sauvignon Blanc without being overbearing or cliché. Good acidity with a minerally finish, TWR is an impressive Marlborough offering.

By: John Majeski | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 5/26/2015 | Send Email
To quote an old Bond film—-sorry, I forget exactly which one, but when it comes to pitch-perfect, terroir-driven Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, "nobody does it better" than Te Whare Ra’s incredibly textural, infinitely captivating version, and 2013 has apparently spun more superlatives from the finicky wine world than any vintage in recent memory. Showering further praise might seem like overkill, but I can’t resist adding a line or two about the tensile grace and innate beauty of this wine, a thoroughbred of marvelous precision and persistence ready to be unleashed in the glass.
Top Value!

By: Dave Genevro | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 5/3/2015 | Send Email
TWR winery produces some magical Pinot Noir and Riesling, so why wouldn't their Sauvignon Blanc not be just as awesome?! This wine sees oak and steel aging that tends to give grapes such as this and Chardonnay for example, a depth and complexity from the wood but also a racy, clean element that balances out great in this wine. I have been told that the vintage of 2013 is going to be the best in a long time for New Zealand, and this wine is a testament to that prediction.

By: Kyle Kurani | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 2/25/2015 | Send Email
TWR is one of our favorite producers from New Zealand, and their SB is one of the best that we have in my opinion. They have such a wonderful and delicate hand with their white wines, they practically float across your palate while offering an amazingly complex and delicious wine. Layers of stone fruit, zippy lime pith, a hint of crushed rock intertwine. The finish is tense and clean, leaving notes of green apple and quince.

By: Mike Barber | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 7/16/2014 | Send Email
Another triumph from one of our favorite producers in New Zealand. This Blanc is edgy and very sharp, with quintessential New Zealand bright citrus and slight grassy flavors, complemented by fig and lychee aromas. This biodynamic beauty has so much to offer fans of Sauvignon Blanc; one of TWR's best yet, and still at a great price!
Top Value! Drink from 2014 to 2018

By: David Driscoll | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 7/16/2014 | Send Email
Once again, the TWR Sauvignon Blanc becomes the best Sauvignon Blanc we carry for the money with its return to inventory. You think you don't like NZ SB because it's too grapefruity or herbaceous? Let the TWR blow your mind and change it simultaneously. There's citrus, of course, but it's subtle and nuanced, balanced completely by a stony minerality and vivacious bouquet of fruit. The price for a wine this good is also ridiculous.

By: Jim Chanteloup | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 7/16/2014 | Send Email
The TWR savvy is bright with aromas of white grapefruit, passion fruit, gooseberry and a hint of tarragon. On the palate there is good texture and vibrant acidity that lead to a snappy, zesty finish with fine length. As good as it gets in a classic Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.

By: Greg St. Clair | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 7/14/2014 | Send Email
I love Sauvignon Blanc but as one might expect I am overly picky (who would have guessed) about the overtly grassy ones--for me, what so many NZ versions taste of is Jalapeno Jelly. For me, TWR's wines don't have that character but still taste like they're from NZ. The wines have body, drive and aromatic correctness but without that under-ripeness that I so dislike. Enough about the negatives, the wine is so pungent, savory, just decidedly flavorful, with sultry aromatics that segue onto the palate and those flavors give way to a textural density coupled with a good, mineral-driven center. The wine then has a long finish that brings the flavors and texture to a crescendo. Very, very good wine.
Drink from 2014 to 2017

By: Mellyn Craig | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 7/12/2014 | Send Email
The previous 2012 vintage of this wine was heavy on the green bell pepper, tomato leaf type characteristics. On the contrary, the warmer 2013 vintage has brought a rounder, more fruit forward style SB and I think it is delicious! Even though it has more fruit than it has in the past, this wine is far from being overly ripe. Apple, lime blossom, and white floral notes are paired with a crisp acidity and chalky minerality. Yum!

Additional Information:


Sauvignon Blanc

- One of the best known "international" varieties originally cultivated in France and considered the parent of, with Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon. Sauvignon's wonderfully distinctive aromatics generate some of wine's most colorful descriptors, among them "cat pee," herbaceous, grassy, citrusy the world over. In France, the apex of Sauvignon Blanc production is the Loire Valley, in the appellations of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé, where the terroir expresses itself most beautifully through the grape. Sauvignon Blanc is also the leading white grape varietal in Bordeaux, where it is paired with the fatter, richer Sémillon to varying degrees. Relatively easy to cultivate, though more suited to cool climates, Sauvignon Blanc has made inroads in Europe outside of France, especially in Northeastern Italy's Friuli and Alto Adige, but also on the Slovenian border. These lovely wines are often overshadowed by Sauvignon Blanc's achievements in the New World, namely New Zealand, South Africa and California. New Zealand's Sauvignon Blancs, more conspicuously fruity than most French examples, landed the small island nation on the world wine map in the late-1980s and 1990s. South African Sauvignons are one of the most successful international varieties produced in that country and are often quite elegant and affordable. In California, Robert Mondavi managed to, almost single-handedly, created a market for Sauvignon Blanc by renaming his oak-fermented version Fumé Blanc. While some wineries still use the name, California Sauvignon Blanc has secured its place in the California wine pantheon, particularly those from the Napa Valley. Washington State, Chile and Argentina also have considerable plantings of the grape.

New Zealand

- New Zealand is an extremely diverse wine-growing nation. The long history of producing wine started in the 1830s with wineries such as Mission Estate (1850) and Te Mata Estate (1896) still producing wine today. The two islands hold a multitude of different growing climates ranging from warmer areas such as Hawke’s Bay to very cool regions such as Waitaki, and Awatere. Most regions are defined as Maritime with the exception being Central Otago that has a moderate Continental climate with the high elevation creating dramatic diurnal swings in temperature. The plethora of grapes grown in New Zealand reflects this diverse microclimate make up. Everything has a place here, Bordeaux varietals and Syrah in Hawke’s Bay, Chardonnay and Pinot in Nelson, Pinot Noir and Riesling in Central Otago , aromatic whites in Waipara and pretty much everything you can imagine in Marlborough. New Zealand is also one of the “greenest” wine producing nations on earth (94% of wine certified sustainable in 2013) with a strong focus on organic and Biodynamic farming.
Alcohol Content (%): 13.5