2013 Misha's Vineyard "Starlet" Sauvignon Blanc Central Otago (Elsewhere $20+)

SKU #1274014 93 points Bob Campbell

 30-40% of grapes from low-yielding vines were barrel-fermented to produce a fruit-driven wine with a strong emphasis on texture. Intense stone fruit flavours with a strong mineral/chalk backbone. Bone-dry Sauvignon which should develop well with moderate bottle age.  (3/2014)

91 points Raymond Chan

 Bright, very pale straw colour with slight green hues, near colourless on rim. The nose is elegant and restrained in fruit expression, showing subtle green stonefruit and hints of tropical fruits and nuances of fresh herbs, along with a minerally, chalky density. Dry to taste, fine textures are the feature on palate, the fine-grainy extract filling the mouth with excellent weight and presence. Subtly luscious tropical fruits and lantana provide a richness and delicate lusciousness to balance the dry textural elements, and the flavours flow with good drive and underling soft acidity to a wet-stone, dry and mouthwatering, grainy finish. This is a restrained, well-textured Sauvignon Blanc to serve with firm-flesh seafood and creamy poultry dishes over the next 3+ years. Hand-picked, WBP and 37% indigenous yeast fermented in seasoned French oak to 14.0% alc. 1,150 cases made.  (3/2014)

90 points Sam Kim

 Sauvignon blanc can be elegant and refined while exhibiting varietal flavours. A fine expression displaying lemon/lime zest, white peach, dill and green apple notes. The palate is focused and lively with mouth-watering acidity. Lovely poise and balance as well as a long and pristine finish. At its best: now to 2017.  (3/2014)

K&L Notes

Anyone making Sauvignon Blanc in Central Otago deserves an audience. The decision to grow Sauvignon Blanc in Central Otago's harsh, low yielding climate over other grapes like Pinot Noir or Chardonnay (that fetch much higher prices) isn't taken lightly; these proprietors and winemakers must be truly dedicated to producing something special. I think this wine justifies that decison. It has wonderful concentration, power and minerality. It highlights the regions dramatic diurnal swings in temperature (hot days - cold nights) with its juxtaposed ripe citrus even tropical notes and dry, crisp, mineral and wet stone savoriness. Really intersting wine with layers of intrigue. (Ryan Woodhouse - K&L NZ Wine Buyer) Winemaker's Notes: "A unique expression of this variety showing both ripe tropical fruit notes along with more intense dark aromas of fennel, pink grapefruit and crushed passion fruit seeds. The palate opens with a bright sweet citrus acidity, is fine and tight with great fruit density finishing with touches of boxwood spice. The fruit was hand-picked and whole bunch pressed. The free run and early press portion was settled, racked, then cool fermented in stainless steel. The small remaining juice portion was handled more oxidatively where it is taken to neutral French oak barrels and allowed to go through spontaneous wild yeats ferment. This process whilst tending to take longer to finish gives a more complex ferment character in the wine."

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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.