Home > Good, Tasting Notes and Wine Reviews > Sauvignon Blanc and Greywacke

Sauvignon Blanc and Greywacke


I recently drank an interesting pair of wines from Marlborough, New Zealand.  The Auntsfield Estate is old by many standards with the first vineyard and winery completed in 1873.  The original log and rammed earth cellar has been restored providing an historical glimpse at how the wines were originally made.  While the original vineyard consisted of one acre of brown Muscat today there are over 100 hectares of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc. The vineyards are located on the lower slopes of southern Wairau Valley.  The fruit for this Estate Sauvignon Blanc is sourced from vines located on old Greywacke rocks and Loess clay soils.

Old Vineyard, Image from Auntsfield

Greywacke is a much younger winery having been established by Kevin Judd in 2009.  Kevin Judd himself is an experienced hand having been the winemaker for the first 25 vintages at Cloudy Bay.  It was during these years that he envisioned having his own label and actually registered the Greywacke name in 1993.  The fruit for his wines are sourced from central Wairau Plains and the Southern Valleys.  The fruit for this Sauvignon blanc is sourced from vines  located on soils of greywacke river stones and older, clay-loams.   The wines themselves are made at Dog Point Winery.

Vineyard Wairau Valley, Image from murraybrock (flickr)

For those curious, such as myself, Greywacke (grey-wacky) is a grey stone found throughout New Zealand.  This type of rock consists of layers of hard, grey sandstone alternating with thinner, darker layers of mudstone.

Both of these wines are quite enjoyable and I recommend both.  If I had to pick a single bottle then I would recommend the Greywacke.  I felt it had a bit more density to its character which combined with more integrated acidity, proved a superb glass of wine all by itself.  These wines area available at MacArthur Beverages.

2011 Greywacke, Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough – $19
Imported by Old Bridge Cellars.  This wine is 100% Sauvignon Blanc which was mostly machine harvested.  The majority was fermented in stainless steel tanks with cultured yeast and the remainder in old French oak barriques using indigenous yeasts.  The batches were kept on the lees until blending.  TA 7.2 g/l, pH 3.08, Alcohol 13.6%.  The color is a light straw-green.  The light nose is fresh with textured aromas of grapefruit.  In the mouth the fruit ripens with air providing flavors of white fruit, green apple, and minerals.  There is lively acidity followed by a grassy aftertaste where dry flavors of minerals leave a textured finish.  There is also a hint of sweet spiced tannins.  *** Now-2016.

2010 Auntsfield Estate, Sauvignon Blanc, Southern Valleys, Marlborough – $20
Imported by Vine Street Imports.  This wine is 100% Sauvignon Blanc sourced from estate vineyards.  85% of the fruit was machine harvested then fermented in stainless steel tanks using cultured yeast and 15% was hand harvested then fermented in seasoned oak barrels using indigenous yeasts.  TA 7.24 g/l, 3.25 pH, Alcohol 13.5%.  The medium strength nose is grassy with pink grapefruit, stones, and white fruit.  In the mouth there is tangy, textured fruit, lots of citric acidity which causes the front of the tongue to pucker before the flavors broaden and show some ripeness.  There are minerals notes towards the finish followed by a long aftertaste.  Quite a mouthful.  *** Now-2015.

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