Older New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc: can it age? Should we cellar it?

new zealand sauvignon blanc

Older New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc: can it age? Should we cellar it?

aged sauvignon blanc

While I was in New Zealand I got to try quite a few older New Zealand Sauvignons. Of course, most punters want the latest vintage of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, and this is really the main point of the style: bright with lovely aromatic interest and a fresh, zippy palate. That’s what made it successful. Young wines.

But, when Marlborough Sauvignon is made in a certain style, with less emphasis on the aromatic thiols and greenness, and more on texture and concentration, then the results are surprisingly ageworthy. Sometime a bit of barrel fermentation and hand picking of slightly riper fruit can lead to ageworthy wines. But the surprise in this tasting that some of these wines that have aged quite well weren’t made with long life in mind.

So should you be buying Kiwi Sauvignon to age? I think so, yes, providing that you pick carefully. Some of the more restrained, serious styles develop beautifully in bottle, and they aren’t all that expensive to buy. While it’s fun to catch these wines young, they can offer a lot of pleasure with some bottle age.

Astrolabe Taihoa Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2009 Kekerengu Coast, Marlborough, New Zealand
Fine toasty nose with a hint of nuttiness. The palate is very pure with a savoury, nutty saltiness. Very linear with brightness and some tangerine characters. Warmth and smokiness on the nose but really pure with a linear, open character and great acidity. 94/100


Astrolabe Sauvignon Blanc 2006 Marlborough, New Zealand
Fine, grassy tomato leaf and herb nose leads to a green pepper palate with lovely weight and texture. Supple, textural wine with fine green notes, some mandarin, and spice. 92/100


Clos Henri Sauvignon Blanc 2005 Marlborough, New Zealand
Toast, pear, peach notes. Very textural and broad with lovely integrated acidity. Some notes of tangerine and apricot. Delicious wine with lovely fine spices. 94/100


Clos Marguerite Sauvignon Blanc 2008 Marlborough, New Zealand
Fine leafy green pepper nose. Textured palate has broad, slightly figgy green pepper and spice notes with quince and lemons on the finish. 91/100

Dog Point Sauvignon Blanc 2008 Marlborough, New Zealand
Hints of fig and quince on the nose. Lively and bright with nice freshness and some chalkiness. Slight toasty notes and some broad fruit. Has depth, and is evolving very well. 92/100

Dog Point Sauvignon Blanc 2005 Marlborough, New Zealand
Intense and lively with great acidity. Lovely citrus core with richer pear and spice notes. Beautifully integrated greenness. This wine has such lovely balance and is developing in a classic way. 94/100


Dog Point Section 94 Sauvignon Blanc 2008 Marlborough, New Zealand
Rich, toasty and textured with peach, grape and nuts. Bold and broad with a fine-grained structure and showing lovely maturity. 93/100

Huia Sauvignon Blanc 2005 Marlborough, New Zealand
Bright, fresh and vivid with nice pear and spice notes. Lovely balande with white peach richness, a hint of cream and some subtle green notes, as well as a hint of toast. Still quite fresh and linear, this is developing nicely and has some grapefruit too. 92/100

Lawson’s Dry Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2006 Marlborough, New Zealand
Fine and slightly minty with citrus and green pepper on the nose. Lovely rounded lemon, grapefruit and pear palate. So lively and intense with real brightness and purity, and some crystalline fruits. Appealing and vivid. 93/100


Sacred Hill Sauvage Sauvignon Blanc 2007 Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand
Spicy, citrussy nose with some toastiness. The palate is broad textured and shows lovely rich melon and pear fruit with fine-grained structure and beautiful complexity. Shows lovely development. 94/100


Spy Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2005 Marlborough, New Zealand
Bold with toast, quince and vivid pear and melon fruit, backed by good acidity. Bold, rich and toasty showing nice breadth of flavour. Rich and toasty. 91/100


Yealands Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2009 Marlborough, New Zealand
Aromatic fig, pear and green pepper nose, with a chalky edge. The palate is bold and full with lovely crystalline fruits. Broad, rich and long. 92/100

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6 Comments on Older New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc: can it age? Should we cellar it?Tagged ,
wine journalist and flavour obsessive

6 thoughts on “Older New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc: can it age? Should we cellar it?

  1. I have tasted quite a few older NZ sauvignon blancs, and my favourite was the Cloudy Bay Te Koko 2007 ~ I had that 2 years ago and it was AMAZING! I love how it developed. I actually search them out now.

  2. In my experience well-made Sauvignon Blanc of a certain style ages very well, and there is no reason why it shouldn’t be the same for New Zealand SBs. My experience with an older NZ SB is with a recent ’08 Staete Landt from Marlborough, elegant and rich, my guests didn’t pick SB. Much obliged Jamie for your tasting notes, good to know which ones are cellar candidates.


  3. Bought a case of Dog Point 94 2010 five years ago and have been tasting it every year since. Initially was disappointed|: there’s oak and there’s fruit (though most definitely not tee fresh grapefruity taste of most NZ sauvignons), but they seemed to me to be not fully together. But my most recent tasting (Feb 2015) was much more interesting – a real sense of a very different, finer, more subtle sauvignon taste, integrating the oak and the fruit.

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