The ‘Holly’ range of wines by Matahiwi Estate represents their highest quality production, the best of this New Zealand winery’s savoir-faire, the flagship. It is named after the owner’s daughter which suggest pride and loving attention.
Matahiwi winemakers says about the Sauvignon Blanc tasted today: “We are trying to achieve balance with this wine between maintaining the pure Sauvignon fruit vibrancy and building in complex yeast and barrel derived flavours.”
This Holly Sauvignon Blanc is therefore not only barrel fermented, but also wild fermented meaning no commercial yeasts have been added to inoculate the grape juice. Natural vineyard yeasts are left to ferment sugars, often adding extra complexity, and sometimes weight to the wines.
Although the Wairarapa region of New Zealand North Island, a few kilometers North of Martinborough, is not as famous for Sauvignon Blanc wines as Marlborough, its ability to produce refined examples has been demonstrated by many local producers.
So how good is this New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc that has, on paper, many unusual attributes in its origin and winemaking?
The answer is in the tasting note:
Nose: very intense and concentrated aromas. It’s packed full of rich scents of fresh citrus (lemon and pink grapefruit) harmoniously blended with tropical notes (pineapple, lychee, passion fruit) and distinct herbal characters too. There is a clear patisserie tone to the overall aroma as well: a rich tropical lemon tart infused with sweet spices is what it smells like. You’ve got it, it’s appealing and complex!
Palate: the palate doesn’t disappoint after so many aromas identified on the nose. Here as well, it’s extremely concentrated and complex. Where do we start? The first impression is fairly light with grapefruit and pear notes. Then the weight of the wine kicks in accompanied by heaps of tropical flavor, especially lychee and fresh ripe pineapple, and spices. The sustained but not aggressive acidity supports the freshness of the wine all along the tasting. The distinctive minerality on the finish makes you want to dip your lips in again. Subtle oaky notes and the extra body given by the fermentation in barrel provide depth and make this wine stand out of the New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc crowd.
Overall: Quite an extraordinary wine, really: Balance, concentration, complexity, a very broad spectrum of flavors…
To try, absolutely, if you get the opportunity! Barrel fermented Sauv Blancs are not that common in NZ, all the less when combined with wild yeast fermentation. An archetypical example of why New Zealand would need more of this.
To learn more about Matahiwi Estate Winery, visit our Matahiwi producer profile:
Check out information available on the producer website: Holly Sauvignon Blanc.
This wine retails around $25 USD. Find where to buy on Wine-Searcher.