Over the last two decades New Zealand vintners in Marlborough have garnered marketing success by creating a new style of Sauvignon Blanc. Although vintners elsewhere have emulated New Zealand winemaking regimes, the assertive, pungent aromas of green grass, grapefruit, lime and passionfruit are unique to Marlborough's soils and climate. The two French styles historically practiced in Bordeaux and the Loire likely developed as vintners strove to create pleasing wines for their particular climate. In maritime-influenced Bordeaux, the juice is typically barrel fermented, put through malolactic fermentation and blended with Semillon to produce a round, rich, dry wine.
Babydoll sheep being herded past a rainwater-collection pond that we use for irrigating our Sauvignon Blanc vineyards. When fully grown, the sheep are only two feet high at the shoulder; the high trellis installed in our vineyards allows the sheep to graze underneath the vines while preventing them from reaching the fruiting area. They love sweet vine shoots and when let into a vineyard, they immediately start eating the unwanted trunk suckers. One-year-olds love to climb , so they are kept out of the vineyards—the vineyard in the background has a temporary fence, keeping these youngsters out. By the time the sheep are two years old, they are so plump that they have difficulty lifting their front legs off the ground.
Springtime clouds over our Sauvignon Blanc vineyards in Boonville.
In the Loire, with a more rugged inland climate, the wine is characterized by freshness, lively acidity and a bouquet suggesting cut grasses and gooseberry with some tropical notes. The best examples are generally fermented and aged in large oak foudres without the use of malolactic fermentation. In Anderson Valley's climate, Sauvignon Blanc grapes have lively acidity and some tropical notes as well as flavors suggesting cut grass and spring herbs. This wine is a blend of three Sauvignon Blanc clones with the largest portion fermented in stainless steel, then aged in seasoned French oak barrels for five months; a smaller lot was fermented and aged in a large French oak oval for five months. This Savvy is a product of Anderson Valley's climate, produced using a mélange of worldwide winemaking practices from Bordeaux, the Loire and New Zealand.