2012 Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc

Year: 2012
Appellation: Marlborough
Country: New Zealand
Wine Advocate: 90
White Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 13.5%
Price :
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"The 2012 Sauvignon Blanc opens with intense grapefruit, passion fruit and green mango notes and touches of pineapple and fresh sage. Medium-bodied with a fair amount of viscosity to the texture, it has lively acid and a long finish. Drinking well now, it should keep to 2014+." (WA)


I’ve been trying every vintage of Cloudy Bay New Zealand Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc since its introduction to the U.S. market. For years I consistently considered it one of the best. Then starting about three years ago, I was disappointed with every new release; that is until I tried this new 2012. Yippee, it has finally returned as a winner, at least as far as the 2012 vintage goes. The main reason that my fondness for the wine has returned it that oh, so necessary crisp acid balance is back and none of the dullness of the past few vintages is present. It is again the top or near top of all Sauvignon Blancs from New Zealand’s South Island cool Marlborough area.

The 2012 exhibits classic dry Sauvignon Blanc character (at least the Sauvignon Blanc as it appears in fine Loire Sancerre and Pouilly-Fume wines) with its aromas and flavors of grapefruit, ripe peaches, pears, pineapple, kumquats, and noticeable hints of fresh herbs like sage and tarragon as well as green peppers. Very enjoyable now, it will continue to be a winner until 2016 or so. The regular price ranges from around $27 to $32, with L.A. Wine Company having it discounted to under $22.

RATING: 91/92

PRICE: $21.95 ***+ bargain

WHERE: Los Angeles Wine Co. " (Martins Guide to Wine Bargains)

Winery Notes:
Current Tasting Notes:
Our 2012 Sauvignon Blanc shows lifted notes of elderfl ower, green lime zest, and stone fruit. The palate is ripe, fine and succulent, offering zesty ripe citrus fl avours coupled with an edge of minerality and sweet herbs. A small barrel ferment component gives balancing flesh to the wine’s crisp refreshing acidity. A classic wine from an outstanding season.

Vineyard Notes:
Grapes were sourced from estate and grower vineyards located in the Rapaura, Fairhall, Renwick and Brancott sub-regions of the Wairau Valley. Free draining, stony soils typify the Rapaura and Renwick areas whilst Fairhall and Brancott are predominantly aged alluvial loams containing some clay. The majority of fruit was grown on a vertical shoot positioned (VSP) trellis with three canes laid down. In 2012, average sauvignon blanc yields were 7 tonnes/hectare.

Production Notes:
Spring in Marlborough was warm and sunny encouraging good shoot growth. Come December, the temperatures dipped. Cool and cloudy days were all too frequent resulting in a poor flower set and therefore lower than usual crop levels. Summer continued with cool temperatures (in fact, the lowest sunshine hours in 80 years) forcing grapes to ripen slowly. Brilliant blue skies arrived come Easter and unusually warm Autumn conditions allowed grapes to fully ripen. Our Sauvignon Blanc harvest commenced on the 12th of April under cool, yet settled Autumn conditions. Consistent with years past the first fruit was harvested from the stonier, young river bed soils in the Rapaura and Renwick subregions. Our Sauvignon Blanc harvest was quick and compact, lasting only three weeks, meaning all fruit had a long “hang-time” resulting in excellent flavour development. The final block was harvested on the 2nd of May. Despite the cool season, naturally low yields ensured that all fruit was harvested with excellent physiological maturity and ripeness, producing fruit with outstanding fl avour and balance. The 2012 harvest was down by 25%.

Winemaker Notes:
Fruit was harvested over a range of 21.9 to 23.8 Bx during the cool of the night and early morning. Free-run and lightly pressed juice was cold settled for 48-96 hours, before racking over a range of low to high turbidities. Fermentation was primarily carried out in stainless steel, however consistent with the last two years and some of the early Cloudy Bay vintages, a small percentage was fermented at warmer temperatures in old French oak barriques. Despite lower than target yields, the wine was stringently blended, including only the strongest 54 batches from a total of 69 distinct parcels.