2016 Matahiwi Estate Sauvignon Blanc, Wairarapa, New Zealand
Score : 91/100
The ‘Estate’ range represent the standard level wines in Matahiwi offering, while the ‘Holly‘ are their highest quality production, the reserve wines if you wish.
Yet Matahiwi Estate, a winery based in Wairarapa (Martinborough), New Zealand, takes so much effort to produce their wines and impressed me so much the first time I tried their wines (2014 vintages mainly), I was particularly keen to try their new releases.
The Sauvignon Blanc tasted here, is actually my first 2016 wine ever, always a bonus and always making the experience even more special!
Will vintage 2016 live up to the expectations, and stand proud after an exceptional 2015 vintage in the whole of New Zealand?
As far as grapes production goes for this particular wine, this how Matahiwi describes it, well enough not to be paraphrased: “The fruit for this wine is sourced from 20 hectares of Sauvignon Blanc plantings at our home vineyard at Opaki in the Wairarapa, as well as the Hillview vineyards in Martinborough. These are young vines that carry a small crop of intensely flavoured grapes. We have several different blocks of Sauvignon Blanc where we use various canopy management techniques to provide us with a range of complex flavours from the grapes“.
As a general rule, Matahiwi aims at respecting the fruit characters through winemaking. This is achieved on Sauvignon Blanc by tank-fermenting the juice using yeasts that are able to ferment to low temperatures.
A couple of tech facts for this wine:
- Harvest took place between the 5th and 13thApril, 2016
- Final Alcohol level: 12% abv.
So how good is this 2016 Matahiwi Estate Sauvignon Blanc?
This Sauvignon Blanc comes in a rather light and pale yellow color.
While the appearance doesn’t excite particularly, stick your nose in the wine glass, and things get REALLY interesting!
As I first smell this wine, I’m tempted to say if it was acceptable in a serious tatsing note: “OMG, this smells sooo intense”.
It’s got such a powerful intensity of fresh and zesty passion fruit aromas jumping out of the glass!
But it’s not your everyday NZ Sauv Blanc passion fruit smell. It’s back up by loads of estery pear notes that freshen it up and give it a juicy fresh-fruit tempting feel. No heaviness or tiring over-the-top tropical and grassy aromas here. Just a whole lot of concentrated fruit aromas.
Yes, there is a touch of grassiness, some brioche, but also apricot, candy floss, white pepper, and a few more, all of them on a discrete but significantly adding to the depth, concentration and intensity.
Yes, the “OMG” is deserved, from an aromatic stand-point at least.
But how does the mouthfeel compare. Let’s sip!
From such concentration in the smell, I was expecting big bold heavy palate. It’s actually rather light, zesty and crispy, with good acidity. But no big body or too-oily a texture.
This is zingy, acidic and mineral to taste, and actually drinks easily and refreshingly.
The flavors are there, powerful and concentrated, but this actually drinks like your enjoyable summery New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. It’s just that it’s got more oomph and complexity to it than your average one.
A rather exceptional Sauvignon Blanc in its style.
Matahiwi has managed here to keep a refreshing and easy-to-enjoy style of Sauvignon Blanc with no heaviness whatsoever and a zesty feel.
But this brings this approach to a straight-forward style of Sauvignon Blanc to a very high level within the boundaries of the exercise. It’s super concentrated and also complex given the diversity of fruit flavors it offers.
It’s all about fruit, zingy lime, and the right amount of grassiness, all in a perfectly well executed winemaking style and what feels like exceptional quality fruit.
If you like approachable NZ Sauv Blanc, you’ll love this seriously-well-made, and more importantly seriously-good version of it!
To learn more about Matahiwi Estate Winery, visit our Matahiwi producer profile:
Matahiwi Estate Sauvignon Blanc Label Images