Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc, in the 2010

Cloudy Bay enjoys legendary status in the UK, fetching prices a notch above those commanded by other New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs (although you are more likely to find it on the shop shelf than you would have a few years back). I guess the label has something to do with it, and the fact that the early vintages were startlingly bright and aromatic.

I remember well my first Cloudy Bay experience in the early 1990s. The wine was quite thrilling – something totally different. But more recent experiences have left me scratching my head, wondering what all the fuss was about.

In particular, the 2008 was perplexingly ordinary. I tasted it blind in a line-up of commercial Sauvignons priced £6-£20 with Tim Atkin, at Dourthe in Bordeaux. We both rated it quite poorly.

So, how is the 2010 vintage? Pretty good. In part, this is a reflection of the 2010 Marlborough vintage, which looks to be an excellent one. The wines I’ve tried so far from this vintage have all been really lovely.

Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2010 Marlborough, New Zealand
13.5% alcohol. Very lively nose with some sweet tropical fruit and pear notes, as well as grapefruit freshness. The palate is lively and fresh with high acidity, and gooseberry and citrus freshness. Intense, zippy and full. 89/100 (£18.99 Majestic, Waitrose, Harvey Nichols, Philglas & Swiggot)

4 comments to Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc, in the 2010

  • Ben Smith

    Probably stating the obvious Jamie, but there are so many other NZ SB’s of greater interest at lower prices in my opinion. I’d be more interested in the Michelle Richardson Pinot in the background of your photo!

  • Cam Haskell

    For mine, these days there’s very little Sauvignon Blanc that I want to drink in general. And I too remember vividly the first time I tried Cloudy Bay – and thrilling is indeed the word. But at 19 quid it’s horrendous value, surely. And I gotta ask Jamie – don’t you find Sauvignon Blanc frequently the most spoofy of white wine grapes? I ALWAYS do. Touch of residual. All fruit. Not much texture. Zero age-worthiness. Hard to match with food.

  • Doug

    Is this wine already in the shops? The best NZ Sauvignons would undergo a much longer period of maturation and settling before release. I wouldn’t want to be drinking ’10 Sauvs before April 2011. Sounds like they are getting a bit greedy.

    The price is ridiculous as well. 1.2 million bottles of CB is produced, presumably much of it from contract-bought grapes. Hardly the recipe for an icon/exclusive wine.

  • Alex Lake

    I quite agree…

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