2014 Elephant Hill "Reserve" Sauvignon Blanc Hawke's Bay

SKU #1228425 93 points Bob Campbell

 Weighty, textural Sauvignon Blanc with impressive concentration and mouth-feel. Melon, perhaps nectarine and mineral characters with a seasoning of nutty yeast lees. I like the wine's balance of acidity and fruit/alcohol sweetness. It promises to become even more interesting with bottle age. Good food wine.

92-93 points Raymond Chan

 Bright, very pale straw-colour, near colourless on rim. The nose is expressive of finesse, with elegantly and tightly bound, delicate aromas of green stonefruits interwoven with soft herbs, wet-stone minerals, unveiling sweet gooseberry fruit and rainwater suggestions. Dry and medium-bodied, the palate is refined in proportion with a soft, mouthwatering core of gooseberries, green stonefruits, white florals and minerals. The mouthfeel is smooth in texture and flow, building is subtle sweetness, with soft, ripe acidity lending energy and drive. The palate possesses a fine, linear core that carries the flavours to a soft, sustained, minerally finish. This is a subtle, refined dry sauvignon Blanc with delicate richness and mouthwatering minerality. Serve with seafood and herb-marinated poultry dishes over the next 2-3+ years. Hand-picked fruit from the stoniest block of the ‘Te Awanga’ estate vineyard from vines planted in 2003, whole bunch pressed and indigenous yeast fermented, 50% in seasoned puncheons and 50% in stainless-steel. 12.5% alc. The wine aged 8 months on lees in 3 year old oak.

93 points Sam Kim

 Made from hand-picked grapes, this elegantly expressed sauvignon shows white nectarine, lemon peel, lime zest and dill aromas on the nose. The palate is finely textured and delicate flavoured, yet powerful and persistent at the same time. A brilliant wine to partner elegant seafood dishes. At its best: now to 2019.

91 points Vinous

 (12.2% alcohol; from a stony vineyard next to the sea, planted in 2003; half fermented in older 500-liter oak puncheons and half in stainless steel; spent a full 11 months on its lees; this wine is not made every year): Bright, pale yellow. Underripe pineapple, grapefruit, lime and lemon zest on the nose, plus a hint of piquant green tropical fruits. Offers a pliant texture with bracing acidity but no hardness. A captivating, fine-grained fruit bomb that shows its oak element only in the texture of the wine. Finishes with sneaky length. An excellent example of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc that's not from Marlborough.

Wine Spectator

 The melon, lime skin and green apple notes are fresh and smooth, showing a hint of minerality. This is appealing for the refreshing finish and clear focus. Drink now. 400 cases made. (Web Only - 2014)

K&L Notes

Elephant Hill's "Reserve" Labels are only made in the best vintages. 2014 was one such exceptional vintage. This Sauv Blanc is made from a couple parcels of fruit selected for their extremely stony soils and proximity to the ocean. The fruit was hand-picked, whole cluster pressed and wild yeast fermented 50% in stainless tank and 50% in old French oak barrels, where it then rested on lees for 8 months to gain texture and complexity. This is serious, weighty, rich, textural Sauvignon Blanc. It shows riper citrus flavors, white peach, tangerine peel and lovely saline, mineral tones. A slightly nutty, baguette nuance from the extended lees ageing adds complexity and intrigue. Very long on the palate with great concentration of flavor. Simply stunning. (Ryan Woodhouse - K&L NZ Wine Buyer)

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Price: $19.99
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By: Keith Mabry | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 1/26/2016 | Send Email
Barrel fermentation adds a little restraint to the vibrant basic SB from Elephant Hill. Rounding out the edges, the fruit is all there with a subtle creaminess. Absolutely delicious!!

By: Gary Westby | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 1/20/2016 | Send Email
Our New Zealand direct import program consistently amazes me. The incredible quality of the wines and the value pricing makes it one of the most exciting categories that we stock. The Elephant Hill Reserve is a great example from the category, a truly fine wine and under $20! This suave Sauvignon Blanc from the North island has texture and poise that would put in the top rank of white Bordeaux, but with out any oak flavors. While most NZ Sauvignons have a strong hot pepper quality, this is as pure as a freshly mowed lawn. It has great back-end acidity, and is a very complete wine.

By: Ryan Woodhouse | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 12/16/2015 | Send Email
One of the best Sauvignon Blancs that I tasted on my last trip to New Zealand. In general I think Elephant Hill is one of the producers to watch in NZ making exciting, precise and pure wines. This Reserve Sauv Blanc was a highlight in an already very strong line up. It tastes like an amplified version of their regular Savvy. There is an obvious relationship between the fruit on both but the Reserve is that much more concentrated, richly textured and complex. Exotic ripe citrus fruits, lovely saline, mineral elements, yellow stone fruit and just the most subtle suggestion of oak (the wine spends time in pretty much neutral French oak Puncheons). Racy and energetic but with broad rich texture and weight. Serious wine, don't miss it.
Drink from 2015 to 2020

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