2014 Brancott Estate Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough
Brancott Estate is without a doubt, the biggest wine producer in New Zealand, and this is their main product with their ‘entry-level’ Sauvignon Blanc. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing, these guys must know what they’re talking about when they make Sauvignon Blanc because they make a lot of it.
In fact, Brancott (formerly Montana) planted the first commercial vineyards of the grape variety in Marlborough in 1973. Now the Chief Winemaker there is Patrick Materman , who joined the winery in February 1990.
For the context, 72% of New Zealand wines still are Sauvignon Blancs, although the country has been diversifying with Pinot Noir and Gris betwen others. Things have evolved since, but in 2007, Michael Cooper reported that Brancott was producing more than 17% of the entire country’s wine in their Marlborough-based winery.
2014 vintage was particularly good in New Zealand and Marlborough, and that would have helped to produce a lot of wine, of good quality also.
But how does this wine actually taste like?
How does all this history and expertise in making Sauvignon Blanc in Marlborough in large volumes translate into the wine. The answer is in the tasting notes:
Appearance: light lemon-green, quite pale, bright and shiny
Nose: on the first nose, very intense aromas of sweet passion fruit, white pepper and asparagus. Agitation reveals further exotic notes, lychee, but also more flinty, rather metallic character. A fairly pleasant nose, though rather reductive. But great intensity, typical of Marlboroug SB.
Palate: The wine if fairly dry. You can taste some residual sugar there, just enough to balance the acidity, helped with a light oily texture. Overall the wine feels balanced, with a solid acidity but not aggressive. A little drying on the finish, not sure whether that’s from the acidity or some tannins. In the mouth, the pronounced aroma intensity of the nose confirms. It’s literally an explosion of flavours from the mid-palate on: passion fruit is huge, but also citrus, grapefruit and lime. Lots of spices too, and a touch of pear.
Conclusion: a very very descent wine, perfect example of Marlborough SB.
So for the price, you get a very well executed wine from a winemaking perspective. It is actually very representative of its origin . It’s crisp, fresh and acidic, yet balanced by the right amount of texture and sugars. So balanced it is in fact hard to place it in the ‘fruity’ or ‘savoury’ category. It is both.
Thinking of the wine as ‘fruity’ while tasting, it does feel so. We know how the mind can influence the tasting sensations. But think of it as ‘savoury’ as you sip, and you can see it as a good accompaniment for food as well from its acidity ackbone. A safe a reliable choice then. No big surprise, but this 2014 Sauv Blanc is well made, full stop.
You get a big burst of flavors for the bucks. As much as you could ask from a white wine really, and that’s what New Zeland is famous for. But yes, you have to like Marlborough Sauv in its archetypical expression.
A rather good surprise then, from the biggest producer of Sauvignon Blanc in New Zealand. Sounds logical, but it looks like these guys know what they’re doing with their fruit, and the result is rather convincing. Go for it for a safe refreshing choice.
Note: the label as pictured above is a WOW (World of WearagleArt) Limited Edition. It showcases Turangawaewae by artist Anna von Hartilzsch from the 2013 show. You may not find this rare edition, but the wine is the same as any Brancott Estate SB you will find near you.
You may find further information at brancottestate.com.
You can find this wine near you on Wine-Searcher.