Delightfully textured and smooth with balanced yet mouthwatering acidity, this wine veers into the green hedgerow spectrum of Sauvignon; think nettles and elderflowers rather than flamboyant tropical fruits. That said, there's a subtle flavor of passion fruit running through this wine. Midweight with some decent concentration, it offers nice grip on the medium-plus-length finish. Don't chill the hell out of this or you'll miss the best bits. I've given a drinking window of 2020–2025 but having tasted a delightful 14-year-old Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc that tastes like a mature Sémillon, I can say that you’re not in any danger if you leave it longer.
Rebecca Gibb MW, vinous.com (Sept 2020)
Green-fruit flavours. Fresh and lively. Seems drier than it used to be. Racy and medium length.
Jancis Robinson MW, jancisrobinson.com (Jun 2021)
Vibrant and intense, this offers a mouthwatering mix of lemon meringue, ruby grapefruit, lime sherbet and dried pineapple notes that leap out of the glass with equally intense aromatics. Hints of lemon verbena and dried ginger linger on the finish. Drink now.
The Wine Spectator, winespectator.com (May 2021)
A fresh, creamy-textured white with lots of freshness and lovely pear and green-apple character. Some white pineapple. It’s medium-bodied with crisp acidity and a flavorful finish. Less herbs and more clean, ripe fruit. Drink now. Screw cap.
James Suckling, jamessuckling.com (Nov 2021)
Classic, pungent, herbaceous bouquet of pink grapefruit, tropical fruit, apple and fresh herbs. Equally urgent on the palate, with high acidity and flavours of passion fruit, pineapple, lemon, basil, white peach, flowers, hay and stony minerality. Delicious, fresh, crunchy texture and a lengthy finish.
Drinking 2021 - 2026
Cameron Douglas MS, Decanter.com (Dec 2020)
Intense and quite weighty sauvignon blanc with passionfruit, lime zest, gooseberry, red and green capsicum and subtle oyster-shell flavours, supported by deliciously tangy acidity that drives a lengthy finish.
Bob Campbell MW
About this WINE
Established in 1985, Cloudy Bay is pivotal in thrusting New Zealand’s Marlborough region into the global limelight of winemaking excellence. Nestled within the picturesque Wairau Valley, gracing the northern expanse of New Zealand’s South Island, this estate basks in the embrace of a cool climate and optimal grape-growing conditions.
The visionary behind Cloudy Bay’s inception is Australian winemaker David Hohnen. Drawing inspiration from the bay that graces the vineyard’s eastern edge, he orchestrated the debut of Cloudy Bay’s inaugural vintage of Sauvignon Blanc in the very same year of its establishment.
Infused with an unwavering commitment to sustainable viticulture practices and meticulous vineyard stewardship, Cloudy Bay remains a master in crafting peerless Sauvignon Blanc wines. As the passage of time unfurled, their repertoire flourished, embracing an array of varietals, including Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
LVMH (Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton) acquired Cloudy Bay from its original owner, the Australian winery Cape Mentelle. Cape Mentelle was part of the Estate Brands group before LVMH acquired the entire Estate Brands portfolio, including Cloudy Bay, in the early 2000s.
New Zealand's answer to Napa Valley, Marlborough is a veritable engine room that in 2006 accounted for 47 percent (10,419 hectares) of the country's vines, and over 60 percent of its production, even though it is home to just 20 percent of the nation’s 530 wineries. Around 76 percent of the vineyards are planted with Sauvignon Blanc.
Located on the north-easterly tip of South Island at a latitude of 41.3 degrees South, the Marlborough flats are protected from the tropical north-westerlies by the Richmond Ranges, separating Marlborough from Nelson. It is similarly protected from the frost-bearing Antarctic south-easterlies racing up the eastern coastline by the Kaikoura Ranges. The region consequently experiences low rainfall, together with high sunshine hours and a significant diurnal shift between day and night temperatures, thus preserving the aromatics.
The Marlborough viticultural zone, now being delineated, actually consists of three sub-regions: the fertile, alluvial soils of the Wairau Valley on the northern side (site of the original Marlborough settlement in 1880, and subsequently to Montana in 1973) is constantly fed by a subterranean aquifer, resulting in an easy, tutti-frutti style of Sauvignon Blanc best exemplified by Hunters wine.
The Southern Valleys zone on the opposite side of the Valley comprise drier, stonier, poorer soils and clay knolls (such as those of the Brancott Valley), delivering a fuller, more structured, defined, gooseberry and limey Sauvignon Blanc with more bite and poise; Cloudy Bay (who put the region on the world map in 1985), Dog Point, Isabel Estate and the Winegrowers of Ara all inhabit this stretch of the Valley.
Lastly there’s the Awatere Valley, which is located across the Kaikouras on ancient black volcanic soils amid a cooler climate, with harvests often running two weeks behind those in the Wairau Valley; the Awatere style of Sauvignon Blanc is peachier and richer than elsewhere, with Vavasour a fine example.
Although most wines are vinified in stainless steel and released within 12 months of the harvest, some enterprising growers are trialling the use of oak barrels, especially when vinifying superior parcels of hand-harvested fruit. Dog Point Section 94 is one such wine.
The region is also home to the country's small sparkling-wine industry, employing the traditional method to vinify Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Some producers have sought to diversify into still Pinot Noir production, whilst using an inappropriate Swiss clone. A glance at what's been happening in Central.Otago and in Martinborough, however, has persuaded those serious producers to plant a greater selection of clones, notably 667, 777, Abel and 115, as well as the common Pommard (UCD 5) and 10/5. The result has been a shift from the classic Marlborough Pinot Noir spicy red fruit with its almost Côte de Beaune character towards a fuller, fleshier, smokier, black cherry Côte de Nuits style.
An important white grape in Bordeaux and the Loire Valley that has now found fame in New Zealand and now Chile. It thrives on the gravelly soils of Bordeaux and is blended with Sémillon to produce fresh, dry, crisp Bordeaux Blancs, as well as more prestigious Cru Classé White Graves.
It is also blended with Sémillon, though in lower proportions, to produce the great sweet wines of Sauternes. It performs well in the Loire Valley and particularly on the well-drained chalky soils found in Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé, where it produces bone dry, highly aromatic, racy wines, with grassy and sometimes smoky, gunflint-like nuances.
In New Zealand, Cloudy Bay in the 1980s began producing stunning Sauvignon Blanc wines with extraordinarily intense nettly, gooseberry, and asparagus fruit, that set Marlborough firmly on the world wine map. Today many producers are rivalling Cloudy Bay in terms of quality and Sauvignon Blanc is now New Zealand`s trademark grape.
It is now grown very successfully in Chile producing wines that are almost halfway between the Loire and New Zealand in terms of fruit character. After several false starts, many South African producers are now producing very good quality, rounded fruit-driven Sauvignon Blancs.