2015 Brancott Estate Letter Series ‘B’ Brancott Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough
The Brancott Estate ‘B’ Sauvignon Blanc wine is part of the Letter series range at the higher end of the Marlborough-based winery’s offering. It is described by the producer as a range of New Zealand wines that are “hand-crafted from grapes sourced from top-performing Marlborough vineyards“.
The Brancott vineyard that produced the grapes for this wine is situated in the southern side of the Wairau Valley of Marlborough. This area is characterized by older, more structural soils with higher clay content providing depth and richness to the wines. Formed from glacial outwash and wind-blown loess, they are free-draining but with a higher nutrient content than those of more Northerly parts.
The grapes were 100% machine harvested with new Pellenc harvesters that are relatively gentle on the bunches and berries. The fruit was then crushed in a gentle bag press. Free-run juice was fermented slowly at cool temperature.
20% of the ferment was made either in French Oak cuve (10,000L vats), or 4000-litre oak Foudres. A further 2% was fermented in new French oak puncheon barrels (large barriques). All batches for the wine were left on their lees until bottling to develop aromatic complexity, depth, and mouthfeel texture.
The 2015 growing season in Marlborough was very dry, with warmer temperatures than average over summer providing good ripening conditions. Harvest 2015 was one of the shortest of recent times with all fruit becoming ripe at the same time and requiring rapid picking and processing.
Given the score of 95 out of 100, you’ve understood we liked this wine. But why?
The answer is in the tasting notes:
A lean, powerful, mineral, rich, aromatically hyper concentrated, dense, complex, and long wine.
Do I need to say anything else? This is a very seriously-good wine.
The nose is somewhat restrained, which is a good thing for me, especially for Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. It feels mineral. But it still has all the usual typical notes you expect from a Marlborough Sav, just in a more-subtle-than-usual way. It’s pungently citrusy, gooseberryy, passion fruity, limy, with a touch of grassiness, and so on.
The wine’s sheer concentration however, is revealed on the palate. A backbone of acidity, never aggressive, balanced out by great body and shoulders. The palate is an absolute firework of flavors that go on and on for a very long time after tasting.
A wine that’s hard to fault, only with quite high an alcohol level, and a full-on exuberant nature that may intimidate, or annoy certain palates? Those are probably the price to pay to produce a very well made, balanced, complex, and sooo powerfully concentrated wine.
It feels like the flavors of three or four bottles of good Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc have been extracted, added to each other, and packed up in a single bottle of wine.
If you like a powerful, yet rather civilized and always balanced style, try this one. Once in your life at least I’d suggest.