WTN: Cloudy Bay, Shaw&Smith, Vina Casablanca, Berrio, Silex

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WTN: Cloudy Bay, Shaw&Smith, Vina Casablanca, Berrio, Silex

Postby Sue Courtney » Mon Jul 14, 2008 6:32 pm

These notes come from an 'International Sauvignon Blanc Celebration' held at the Marlborough Wine Weekend in October last year. Seems appropriate to post them here, especially as I've only just typed them up (9 months later!!).

It was a fascinating tasting - all the glasses on the table at the same time so you could go back and forth, but I did them in sequence anyway.

Cloudy Bay Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2006 - New Zealand
Fresh, aromatic, delicately grassy and fruity with hints of citrus and tropical fruit on the nose. Clean, bright flavours infused with lime, herbs and green melon with a rich mouthfeel and pungency and power to the finish. There's a slight graininess to the texture that adds a flinty undercurrent. Restrained on release and still quite tight but should be a very long-lived wine. 13.5% alc. Screwcap.

Shaw and Smith Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2007 - Australia
Pale in the line-up. Bright, fresh, delicately floral aromatics with hints of apple, the apple crispness carrying through to the palate. Seems very dry and lean with citrus joining the apple and a delicate touch of grass and herbs but has a rich mid palate and gets more and more powerful and pungent as the flavours build in the mouth after the wine is swallowed. 13% alc. Screwcap.

Astrolabe Awatere Sauvignon Blanc 2006 - Marlborough, New Zealand
Sweet-fruited, grassy herbaceous aromas and a lovely richness and pungent fruitiness with a steely, flinty, tomato stalk backbone to the passionfruit, tropical fruit, melon flavours. Full-bodied, very appealing, almost honeyed with a silky texture but all the while there is that underlying purity and verve. 13.5% alc. Screwcap.

Henri Bourgeois Sancerre 'Le M.D. de Bourgeois' 2006 - France
So completely different on the nose and in the palate to the previous three Australasian wines and despite its cork closure, it is strikingly reductive, as one person said "almost volcanic in its sulphur regime". Smoky and full of malic green apple flavours, it is steely and flinty yet has a creamy sweetness to the finish. Love the texture but so, so different to the Antipodean wines. 13% alc. Cork.

Vina Casablanca 'Nimbus Estate' Sauvignon Blanc 2007 - Casablanca, Chile
Aromatic in its perfume - lifted and even the slightest suggestion of 'sweat'. But with its abundant apple and pear scents it also smells a little pinot gris-like and has a pear like texture too. Soft in the palate with a touch of lime, an earthy steeliness and a light fresh citrussy finish where the sauvignon blanc expresses its varietal character with grass, nettles and a touch of melon. 13.5% alc.

Flagstone The Berrio Sauvignon Blanc 2006 - Elim, South Africa
A fuller style, even a little 'flabby' with cheesy characters on the nose along with hints of stone fruit and passionfruit. A textural wine in the mouth with more viscosity than the others. Again a stoniness and soft pungency with melon and stonefruit and no grass or herbs at all. It seems like there is a hint of oak (probably not) or wild yeast (possibly) and musky florals emerge with a full creamy richness to the not so pungent finish. 13% alc.

Dog Point Section 94 2005 - Marlborough, New Zealand
Light gold coloured with flamboyant, creamy wild yeast mealy scents - powerful and funky, so typical of the Dog Point style. A crisp, acid-driven wine in the palate with a biscuity creamy richness to the powerful, mouthfilling, creamy, crunchy flavours. There is subtle oak in the background, stonefruits evolve and a lovely citrussy tang gives lift and brightness to the pungently long finish. A remarkable wine. I love it. 13.5% alc. Cork.

Pouilly-Fume Didier Dageneau 'Silex' 2005 - France
A total contrast on the nose to the previous wine - this is so reserved and restrained, it hardly wants to let anyone know it is there. Shy in the palate too with initially only a hint of citrus character while oak adds textural complexity but little flavour. A touch of stonefruit emerges. What I would call a "very elegant' style but as with all good sauvignon, it has remarkable length. As it starts to open up it becomes richer and richer with every mouthful with stonefruit and even some herbs and a mealy richness that adds some funk to the finish. Truth be, I was a little underwhelmed, perhaps more so when I found out the cult reputation of this wine. Perhaps I needed more. 13.5% alc. Cork.

Sue Courtney
Last edited by Sue Courtney on Tue Jul 15, 2008 3:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: WTN: Cloudy Bay, Shaw&Smith, Vina Casablanca, Berrio, Silex

Postby David M. Bueker » Mon Jul 14, 2008 7:48 pm

Thanks for the in-depth notes. It's interesting to get a Cloudy Bay note from a New Zealand perspective. To be honest I was half expecting a "made for the USA" type of note. I'm glad you think it's a wine with a future.

As for Dageneau - there was a time (back in the mid-90s) that I found the wines great, but now they seem to be a shell of themselves, and the prices are totally out of whack in relation to the rest of the Loire market, so I no longer bother.
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Re: WTN: Cloudy Bay, Shaw&Smith, Vina Casablanca, Berrio, Silex

Postby Sue Courtney » Tue Jul 15, 2008 4:03 am

David M. Bueker wrote:I'm glad you think it's a wine with a future.

Last year I opened a 1988 Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc - coincidentally just before my trip to Marlborough for the tasting that started this thread. This was my 'epiphany' wine. We opened it with some trepidation but all fears were allayed when the wine was tasted. It was quite magnificent indeed.
Here's the note I posted to my blog.

Cloudy Bay Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 1988 is deep burnished gold in colour, still bright and clear with aromas that have hints of melon and dried hay. There's some viscosity to the texture and the flavours have become rich and honeyed. At first it seems like a late harvest wine with fruit sweetness and bright underlying acidity. The pungency of the sauvignon blanc grape emerges on the juicy finish and the lingering flavours are full of dried tropical fruits, like mango and pineapple. There's a flourish of lime zest and a talcy, spicy, savouriness joins in as the wine lingers. The long, savoury aftertaste is very reminiscent of an aged Hunter Valley Semillon.

This is simply one amazing wine with bright acidity keeping the wine simmering along. It's lost any canned green pea character (ok, perhaps there is a hint, but I don't mind that - think of the character as 'day lily') and has become complex and thought provoking.

The note I wrote on the bottle was 'drink by 1990'. Well we didn't, but we can still enjoy it. It just shows, that if you have the mind set, aged Marlborough Sauv Blanc is quite okay.


The whole thing about drinking sauvignon blanc young is something that marketers dreamed up (underlying reason - drink it quick, there's another vintage coming on next year). But perhaps for some producers, that philosophy has backfired. People are now missing out on wines that can become rather more complex and interesting with age - perhaps not 19 or 20 years as with this exceptional bottle, but defnitely more than usual 1 or perhaps 2.

Cheers,
Sue
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Re: WTN: Cloudy Bay, Shaw&Smith, Vina Casablanca, Berrio, Silex

Postby David M. Bueker » Tue Jul 15, 2008 8:01 am

Sue Courtney wrote:The whole thing about drinking sauvignon blanc young is something that marketers dreamed up


Yup - cash flow!

Of course they do the same thing with Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir & Syrah now. :(
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Re: WTN: Cloudy Bay, Shaw&Smith, Vina Casablanca, Berrio, Silex

Postby Brian K Miller » Tue Jul 15, 2008 3:23 pm

David M. Bueker wrote:
Sue Courtney wrote:The whole thing about drinking sauvignon blanc young is something that marketers dreamed up


Yup - cash flow!

Of course they do the same thing with Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir & Syrah now. :(



LOL. I still naively ask wine shop owners "When should I drink this." :) The answer is always "now" :)
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Re: WTN: Cloudy Bay, Shaw&Smith, Vina Casablanca, Berrio, Silex

Postby Tim York » Tue Jul 15, 2008 3:51 pm

Sue Courtney wrote:Pouilly-Fume Didier Dageneau 'Silex' 2005 - France
A total contrast on the nose to the previous wine - this is so reserved and restrained, it hardly wants to let anyone know it is there. Shy in the palate too with initially only a hint of citrus character while oak adds textural complexity but little flavour. A touch of stonefruit emerges. What I would call a "very elegant' style but as with all good sauvignon, it has remarkable length. As it starts to open up it becomes richer and richer with every mouthful with stonefruit and even some herbs and a mealy richness that adds some funk to the finish. Truth be, I was a little underwhelmed, perhaps more so when I found out the cult reputation of this wine. Perhaps I needed more. 13.5% alc. Cork.



Thanks for these fascinating notes, Sue, particularly on the 1988 Cloudy Bay; I guess that I will never encounter one in that state of maturity.

Your note on Silex seems to shout out that the wine needs more time for full expressiveness. Having said that, the nose on French wines rarely is "in your face" like that of a lot of Antipodean. I am often shocked by the amount of perfume, which seems man-made, coming particularly out of Aussie Shiraz but also, to a less extent, from Kiwi SB. I guess appreciation depends a lot on what one is accustomed to.

David M. Bueker wrote:
Sue Courtney wrote:The whole thing about drinking sauvignon blanc young is something that marketers dreamed up


Yup - cash flow!

Of course they do the same thing with Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir & Syrah now. :(


Too true. The worrying thing is that a lot of wine-making seems to be focused on ensuring that wines are impressive when young in ways that may compromise their ability to age gracefully. I hope that modern Cloudy Bay is not like that.
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Re: WTN: Cloudy Bay, Shaw&Smith, Vina Casablanca, Berrio, Silex

Postby Jenise » Sun Jul 20, 2008 3:26 pm

Sue, Bill Spohn opened a 98 Cloudy Bay SB last weekend, and I had been meaning to post his/my notes over to Focus in a separate post, but your post on the 88 trumps that intention and it will be more meaningful to add on to yours. And rather than copy Bill's TN, I'll just say that it was very good. What was so intriguing really is that it's no longer sauvignon blanc as we know it. It was more like a cross between chardonnay, because of its richness, and chenin, for that ethereal honey-beeswax flavor that even a dry wine can have. I can't say that's what I crave in sauvignon blanc so I'm not tempted to age SBs much myself, but it's sure an intellectual exercise to drink one.
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Re: WTN: Cloudy Bay, Shaw&Smith, Vina Casablanca, Berrio, Silex

Postby Sue Courtney » Sun Jul 20, 2008 5:36 pm

Jenise wrote:Sue, Bill Spohn opened a 98 Cloudy Bay SB last weekend, and I had been meaning to post his/my notes over to Focus in a separate post, but your post on the 88 trumps that intention and it will be more meaningful to add on to yours. And rather than copy Bill's TN, I'll just say that it was very good. What was so intriguing really is that it's no longer sauvignon blanc as we know it. It was more like a cross between chardonnay, because of its richness, and chenin, for that ethereal honey-beeswax flavor that even a dry wine can have. I can't say that's what I crave in sauvignon blanc so I'm not tempted to age SBs much myself, but it's sure an intellectual exercise to drink one.

These old Cloudy Bay's keep popping up everywhere. Must be the cachet of the label that people hold on to them rather than drink. :wink:
1998 was a very different vintage in New Zealand. It was the first real drought year and many sauvignon blanc winegrowers in Marlborough, especially the influx of new producers on the scene, got caught by hanging the grapes too long with the acidity, in some cases, completely dropping out. Some of the wines, even on release, were not like sauvignon blanc as we had come to know it and were quite short lived. That's never been a problem with CB.
On the other hand, for red winegrowers in Hawkes Bay, 1998 paved the way for a new richness and ripeness in the wines.
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Re: WTN: Cloudy Bay, Shaw&Smith, Vina Casablanca, Berrio, Silex

Postby Ian Sutton » Sun Jul 20, 2008 5:54 pm

Sue
Would agree that SB can develop complexity over a few years (and CB does have a reputation for improving at least over the short term). Now on our last bottle of Te Kairanga 2004 SB that was a result of a cock-up by a UK merchant (advertised as Chardonnay Reserve) - we came to a fair compromise, helped somewhat by discovering the mistake quickly, but also that at 3 years old the SB held some interest.

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Re: WTN: Cloudy Bay, Shaw&Smith, Vina Casablanca, Berrio, Silex

Postby Lior Yogev » Fri Jul 25, 2008 8:24 pm

Hi,

I'm a newcomer from Rogov's forum. I dug my own two cents on the Cloudy Bay from my (hebrew) blog:


Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2006 (tasted: 30/09/07)
Pale yellow with green notes on the glass, the nose starts with a layer of fruit, at first dominated by citrus (mostly lemon), followed by flowers, later showing melons and green grapes, with hints of grass in the background and some more tropical fruit which I didn’t recognize. Light to medium body, with very mild and pleasant fizzy-ness, which is the scenery of a crazy dance between sweet ripe white fruit and lively acidity, wonderfully combined and follow to medium finish that just begs for another sip.


Lior.
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Re: WTN: Cloudy Bay, Shaw&Smith, Vina Casablanca, Berrio, Silex

Postby Sue Courtney » Fri Jul 25, 2008 8:59 pm

Lior Yogev wrote:Hi,

I'm a newcomer from Rogov's forum. I dug my own two cents on the Cloudy Bay from my (hebrew) blog:

Hi Lior,
It's amazing where Cloudy Bay can be found. I think it has to be New Zealand's most internationally recognisable wine label. Your TN sounds delicious. Thanks for translating.
Cheers,
Sue
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Re: WTN: Cloudy Bay, Shaw&Smith, Vina Casablanca, Berrio, Silex

Postby Lior Yogev » Fri Jul 25, 2008 9:07 pm

Hi Sue,

I actually had this wine in London and I'm pretty sure the CB isn't being imported to Israel, but we do have around an importer specializing in small producers from Australia that also imports some NZ wines, such as Astrolabe and Seirfried.

Best,
Lior.
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Re: WTN: Cloudy Bay, Shaw&Smith, Vina Casablanca, Berrio, Silex

Postby ChaimShraga » Thu Apr 09, 2009 6:22 am

The Cloudy Bay is still being sold in Israel, I saw a whole shelf of bottles at Hinawi Hertzeliya the other day. I didn't check the back label for the name of the producer. I don't remember the price exactly, but I think it was around 50-60 USD.
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