Perched atop the hills overlooking Marlborough’s Awatere Valley, Erica and Kim Crawford’s ‘Loveblock’ has been their labour of love since 2006. The pair not only took on the challenging growing conditions of the rugged and exposed terrain, but they also chose to farm organically and biodynamically, in order to preserve the land and to create wines that truly express the extraordinary place from which they come.
Taking this commitment one step further, Erica and Kim decided to create a wine without the use of sulphur, a delicate balancing act for any winemaker. Preserving freshness is key to maintaining the varietal character of Sauvignon Blanc and without sulphur this can be tricky as the aromas and flavours of harvested grapes can oxidize quickly and change the whole nature of a wine.
Erica and Kim met that challenge by turning to another anti-oxidant: green tea. Known for centuries in China and Japan, the anti-oxidant properties of green tea are being used in medicine and the beauty industry and now in the preservation of Loveblock’s Tee Sauvignon Blanc. Instead of using sulphur when the wine was exposed to oxygen during the winemaking process, a tiny amount of green tea powder was added, ensuring the vibrancy of the wine and allowing the unique characteristics of the grape to be fully expressed.
Loveblock 2020 Tee Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough
Licensee: $26.95 / btl
Wines are sold in cases of 12 bottles unless otherwise indicated. Delivery charges may apply. Some quantities are limited, and are sold on a first-come, first-served basis.
The Wine: Loveblock 2020 Tee Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough
Lifted aromas of ripe bruised apple, orange zest and ruby red grapefruit, followed by a vibrant, green-edged herbaceous layer and some earthy cumin tones. The palate is elegant, with juicy Golden Delicious apple and mandarin complemented by fresh acidity and a mild tannin note. Layered and textured, the wine has notes of saffron, fennel, sweet orange and spices, with a lingering minerality on the finish.
In 2006, Erica & Kim Crawford purchased an untamed block of land on the top of the hills overlooking Marlborough’s Awatere Valley. One of the highest in Marlborough, the vineyard was coaxed into production through organic, biodynamic, and sheer bloodied-minded techniques. This became known as Erica’s ‘Love Block’ – in part for the spectacular view, and in part for the nurturing required to farm it.
The Loveblock farm in the eastern part of Marlborough is comprised of two main vineyard sites: Hillside, and Woolshed & Triangle. Both vineyards are planted to Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris.
Hillside Vineyard, planted by Kim & Erica in 2007, is perched at the very top of New Zealand’s South Island and has been farmed organically since the beginning. It overlooks the Awatere Valley to the south and east, and across the Cook Strait to the northwest, you can see the rolling mountains of the bottom of the North Island. This is Sauvignon Blanc country, with a bit of Pinot Gris, both of which ripen with difficulty in the rugged, exposed terrain. This environment ultimately produces small berries of high aromatic and structural concentration.
Woolshed & Triangle Vineyard, planted in 2003, is located at the bottom and just south of Hilltop Vineyard. Here, the grapes are a little more protected from the elements and contribute a more plush, rounded quality to the wine. Its conversion to organics was completed in 2012 and there are also experimental parcels such as Riesling, Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Gris, Gewürztraminer and Pinot Blanc.
The Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris that come from these vineyards are elegant, restrained and wonderfully poised: true expressions of their terroir. Loveblock’s Sauvignon Blanc is much less pungent than other Marlborough renditions and much more interesting as a result. In 2008, the Crawfords added Pinot Noir to their repertoire with the acquisition of what would become Someone’s Darling Vineyard in the Bendigo sub-region of Central Otago. Central’s sub-regions are aptly delineated for their varying expressions of the grape, and Bendigo is the warmest (rivalled only by Bannockburn), sitting on the northeastern edge of Lake Dunstan. The climate here ranges from very hot to quite cold, with a long, dry growing season. Someone’s Darling is planted to multiple clones of Pinot Noir, and Certified Sustainable. The Loveblock signature is clear in this Pinot Noir as well: an elegant rendition of a fruit-forward wine, and always complex and age-worthy.
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