Amazed by the 2014 Brancott Sauvignon Blanc, and why you should drink it young

new zealand sauvignon blanc

Amazed by the 2014 Brancott Sauvignon Blanc, and why you should drink it young

brancott sauvignon blanc 2014

I am quite amazed by how good the 2014 Brancott Sauvignon Blanc is. You’ll probably be amazed by how amazed I was, so from the outset, I’ll answer some questions that some of you may be thinking.

This was a bottle bought off the shelf last week in Tesco (it was just £6.99, so I thought it would be good to have a first look at the new vintage, after having reviewed the Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2014 so favourably recently).

  • I drank it over three nights, so this is a carefully considered verdict.
  • I’m not a complete idiot, and I have tasted quite a lot of Sauvignon in my lifetime – it’s one of my specialities.
  • I don’t have any commercial ties to Brancott (or parent company Pernod Ricard). I don’t do gigs for them, I don’t get paid to present their wines at masterclasses, I don’t have them sponsor my roadshows events via pay to play, and so on. [Although I did travel to New Zealand with Pernod Ricard back in October 2011.] It’s a mighty convenient narrative to be plugging the small companies with no marketing budgets, but when the big guys do well, that’s good for everyone, and should be recognized.
  • So now, the wine. It’s just beautifully balanced with the loveliest aromatics, and at £6 is one of the wine world’s great bargains. This is New Zealand Sauvignon come of age: no heaviness, no clumsiness, no jarring sweetness to offset out of control acidity. You should probably try some, if you like New Zealand Sauvignon at all. And I do.

But if it’s this lovely aromatic profile that you like (as I do), then this is a wine to buy now and consume young. There’s a group of aromatic molecules called polyfunctional thiols, that are responsible for part of the Sauvignon aroma, and research has shown that on average, Marlborough Sauvignon has very high levels. Two of these molecules are closely related, 3MH and 3MHA. It’s the 3MHA in particular that gives the lovely passionfruit and grapefruit aromatic lift, but over time this hydrolyses into 3MH. The rate of this chemical change is determined by temperature, so it’s important that the wine is stored and shipped at as low a temperature as possible if this character is to be retained.

Brancott have a detailed understanding of the role of these polyfunctional thiols in Sauvignon through research they have taken part in. And they seem to be putting this knowledge to good use, making lovely wines like these at good prices and in large quantities.

Brancott Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2014 Marlborough, New Zealand
13% alcohol. Really crisp, pure and bright with lovely grapefruit and passionfruit characters. There’s a real crispness and freshness here with lovely focus and brightness. It just shows enticing aromatics and brilliant balance, and is benchmark Marlborough Sauvignon. 92/100

9 Comments on Amazed by the 2014 Brancott Sauvignon Blanc, and why you should drink it youngTagged , ,
wine journalist and flavour obsessive

9 thoughts on “Amazed by the 2014 Brancott Sauvignon Blanc, and why you should drink it young

  1. Really good review. I completely agree there’s nothing inherently better in giving air time to small wineries just because the big boys can pay for their own marketing. Big operations at their best remove all unnecessary cost and use their army of experts to create really good wines. Will have to try some.

  2. Beginning to look like 2014 is an outstanding Sauvignon vintage for Marlborough; quite a few of the other biggish names picked up Golds at the NZ International Wine Show – Ara, Esk Valley, Lawsons Dry Hills, Matua Single Vineyard, Yealands…
    That £6 off the shelf is on promo though I imagine, surely?

  3. It has been a while since I last tasted a NZ SB so I will have to look for this one…when it arrives!

  4. Sounds like a great wine. No doubt natural-wine evangelists would be offended by the (I imagine) blatant canopy manipulation to get the right exposure and leaf to bunch ratio, all that disruptive drip irrigation coming just when the vine needs it, yeast selection to promote 3MHA compounds that people actually like and harvesting the grapes when they are ready, rather than waiting for some comet to turn up, or whatever. But it’s a free world and I’m very happy to drink great wine for 6 quid, even if it was made on a large scale by people who know what they’re doing.

  5. Perfectly good wine, no doubt. Wee bit concerned about your gushing praise considering, as I recall, they paid for your trip to NZ to see the rugby world cup recently.

  6. Jamie,

    In my nearly 20 years with the then UK importer of Montana (oops!) the “odd” numbered vintages were consistently streets ahead of the “even” ones for SB. Is there any evidence that vines behave like my apple tree – one year on, one year off?

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