2012 Loveblock Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand $29.95
When proffered a glass of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc by Jancis Robinson MW, the late, great Didier Dagueneau famously spat it out onto his cellar floor and proclaimed “merde!” or something along those lines. I was obviously rather influenced by the aforementioned television spot as it has been a good few years since I have been truly taken by a Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand.
Sauvignon Blanc is just not a grape that I have had much quality time for since my years back in the United Kingdom when I had a line on some killer bottles of the stuff courtesy of my old pal Zubair Mohamed of Raeburn Fine Wines. In the years that followed I’ve come across the odd charmer: some of the Stratus single varietals, the aged Sancerres of Pascal Gitton, and the top wines of Ruud Maasdsam at Staete Landt, but for the most part I have been thoroughly unimpressed. It was only after working with some Niagara Lakeshore fruit with a group of guys in a garage in Grimsby, and then hand bottling our Grimsby Garage Cru 2013 Fumé Blanc, that I decided to put away my snobbery and reintroduce myself to a grape that I had abandoned for so many a year.
The Loveblock Sauvignon is produced by two veterans of Malborough’s Sauvignon Blanc scene, Kim and Erica… and you may already be familiar with them? They tend to go by their given names these days in order not to cause any confusion (and possible legal proceedings?) with the label/name they sold to what is now known as Constellation Brands. Yes, their surname is Crawford and they do know their Sauvignon Blanc.
Whilst the vast majority of the region’s larger producers choose to manufacture lowest-common-denominator, blatantly monochromatic, over-processed dreck, stuff that weighs down the shelves of wine stores and supermarkets the world over, the Loveblock is a delightful example of what Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc is capable of in the right hands.
Certified Organic by BioGro NZ and taking up 30 acres of land on the hills overlooking the Awatere valley, the vineyards are Redwood Pass silt over stone with a higher clay content helping with water retention. Aromatically the Loveblock exhibits a complexity that makes it a rarity in the category. A beacon in what has become an ocean of bland. Sure, the wine is a little more expensive that your usual offering from Marlborough, but the return on your investment is astonishing… there is a shedload of wonderfulness going on in the glass here, from luscious tropical fruits, through freshly cut green peppers, to ripe orchardfall peach. The palate is dense and broad, the pronounced acidity rounded out a little somewhat through some malolactic fermentation, but much to the advantage of the wine’s overall mouthfeel. The finish is incredibly persistent, and this is a very good thing as one wants these delightful flavours to stick around for as long as possible.
I think that you would be hard pushed to find a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc with the verve, style, and wit of the Loveblock.
Edinburgh-born/Toronto-based Sommelier, consultant, writer, judge, and educator Jamie Drummond is the Director of Programs/Editor of Good Food Revolution… And it has been a hell of a long time since he enjoyed a NZ Sauv Blanc so much.