Kevin Judd visited Dublin with his wife Kimberly and son Alex this afternoon, to show all five vintages of his Greywacke Wild Sauvignon Blanc. This was a fascinating tasting providing compelling evidence that the wine improves with a few years bottle age, gaining complexity and real interest. Scroll down below to see my tasting notes. Sadly I had to leave before lunch, missing his Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
Judd is an interesting and thoughtful characte, with a keen sense of humour. Originally from Australia, he says he has now adapted to life in New Zealand; ‘I now say yez all, and my two sons have speech impediments’, he jokes. He made his name with Cloudy Bay but tired of the constant travelling and corporate life. Instead he set up camp in Dog Point, a winery and vineyards co-owned by Ivan Sutherland, a former colleague in Cloudy Bay. The project has been hugely successful. He is also a renowned photographer; when I last interviewed him he seemed keener talking pictures than wine.
‘We make our best wines in average years’, says Judd,‘not too hot nor too cold’. He is not keen on reserve wines or second labels. ‘I like to make one wine that represents my best’. He doesn’t think that his other ‘normal’ style of Sauvignon ages very well – that is better drunk young and fruity. ‘The Wild Sauvignon does’, says Judd; ‘it really opens out and becomes a lot more interesting’. Greywacke Sauvignon is taken from ten sites in the Central Wairau and Southern Valleys, almost entirely owned by Dog Point. In fact, virtually the same vineyards are used for both Dog Point and Greywacke – surely an interesting comparative tasting to do. Judd says he picks by machine at night, Dog Point by hand during the day. He uses pretty much the same grapes for his ‘normal’ Sauvignon as the wild version.
For the Wild Sauvignon, there is no inoculation and the must takes up to a week to begin fermenting, as the microflora build up. Fermentation takes up to twelve months to complete – ‘this used to worry me, but not any more’, says Judd, and he tries to ferment to dryness – under 5gl residual sugar per litre, although the 2009 was 6gl. He uses 100% oak barrels for fermentation, 7-8% new, and encourages some malolactic fermentation to reach his target of two thirds. The wine comes out of barrel just in time for the new vintage. It is further aged in tank for six months, with lees stirring, before being stabilized and bottles.
Greywacke Wild Sauvignon Blanc
Not my favourite in the line-up but still very lively with lanolin, grilled nuts with rounded white fruits and some lime zest. 15/20
A wonderful wine with a complex developing nose of beeswax, brioche and lime zest. The palate has a touch of marzipan with sumptuous rich peach fruits, and an incredibly long zesty citrus finish – lemon, lime and orange peel. Brilliant wine. 18/20
A very different nose with developed woody funky yeasty aromas. Rich almost lush nectarine fruits, complex, long, and well-balanced. Delicious wine. 17/20
Grassy and lime-scented with some pea pod aromas. Linear with a lovely leesy character, finishing long and dry. 16/20
A wonderful young wine with lifted complex aromas of lime zest, flowers and cut grass. Beautifully balanced and precise with luscious ripe peaches balanced perfectly by a zesty acidity and a subtle toastiness. 17/20