2014 Saint Clair Block 5 Bull Block Grüner Veltliner, Marlborough
Needless to say that Grüner Veltliner is not a very common grape variety for a New Zealand wine. This full-bodied Austrian grape is actually not very common around the world at all outside of its home country.
But Kiwis have never been afraid of experimenting with new varieties outside of their cherished Sauvignon Blanc. When the climatic conditions are the right ones for the new grape, it is often with great success thanks to the talent and precision found in many NZ winemakers.
Saint Clair winery is a reference in Marlborough consistently delivering wines with both character and precision (find out all Saint Clair Family Estate wine tasting notes).
On paper at least, the Marlborough region has enough sun to ripen and deliver rich Gruner Veltliner, and the region has more than proven by now that it can produce white wines of great quality.
So at approaching this tasting, all the moons looked aligned to me for being offered a good wine, or at a minimum an interesting experience.
For the story, the Bull Block vineyards was named after the stud Jersey bulls who grazed the paddock where vines are now planted.
The vineyard site is relatively warm for the region, with early budburst. This allows for a long ripening period into late autumn therefore a longer hang time of the grapes increasing the intensity and ripeness of the Grüner Veltliner characters.
But let’s get to the point/ How Good is this Kiwi Grüner?
The answer is in the tasting notes:
The wine comes in a bright lemon yellow color.
The nose is fragrantly aromatic. Distinctive grassy apricot character, and well as warm and blurry milky coconut tone. It’s floral and spicy too making for an intense spectrum of aromas.
The palate is rather full-bodied, with an oily texture and a flavor intensity underlined by what appears to be some warming alcohol level. But it doesn’t feel overly warm, the flavor tones being very fruity on stonefruit characters (ripe yellow peach, fresh fig, zesty apricot) and backed up by floral notes of elderflower and a discrete minty feel.
Good acidity well balanced by some perceived sweetness and the full-bodiedness that is so typical of good Grüner. It does feel dry overall though rather than off-dry, somewhere right in between those two virtual sweetness levels I guess, just a tiny-bit more towards the dry side..
A powerful, intriguing, and charming white wine that cries for being explored, discovered and enjoyed.
It combines freshness of the fruit and floral characters, with a rather stunning aroma/flavor intensity. A wide spectrum of typical white wine notes is brought up to life by a hight level of fruit maturity with the alcohol warmth that comes with it.