The Giesen Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2012 is pale yellow in color with green hues. There are strong aromas of grapefruit, gooseberry and crushed herbs with a delicate mix of tomato and blackcurrant leaf. The palate has wonderful vibrancy and fruit weight, perfectly balanced with crisp and clean acidity culminating in a lengthy finish.
If it weren’t for the heat and the snakes, the Giesen brothers could well have settled in Australia. But after suffering in 40 degree temperatures and an incident involving a snake in a swimming pool, Theo Giesen decided that New Zealand was a more attractive option. Australia’s loss has been New Zealand’s gain. Theo and Alex were the first to arrive in New Zealand on their equivalent of an OE. They had initially planned to start a stone company, along similar lines to their family business back in Germany, but instead they bought land in Burnham, just outside of Christchurch, and planted vines. At the time, it was the southern most vineyard in the world… and many people thought they were a little crazy.
While the brothers had some experience in growing grapes – their family had ‘hobby’ vines back in Germany – neither Theo nor Alex knew how to make wine. So it was up to Marcel to learn. Four years later, Marcel, now a qualified winemaker, joined his brothers in New Zealand.
A lot has changed since those early days, but even though they are now old hands at the business, the brothers are all still very involved. They work closely with the winemaking and vineyard team, and they all still get a kick out of producing world class wine. The thrill of a new vintage never goes away.
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Sitting pretty on the northern tip of New Zealand's south island, Marlborough has become synonymous with New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. As well it should be – Marlborough is the primary region for those delicious, citrusy, summer-lovin' wines with vibrant acidity and pungent, grassy, grapefruit flavors. Sauvignon Blanc is the main grape here; Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Riesling are also made.
The region has well-drained alluvial loam soils, which are perfect for grape growing. The grapes receive a good deal of sunshine during the day, but recovers in the cool evenings. Marlborough's growing season is long, which helps foster the gradual, even ripening of the grapes. Not made for much aging, the Sauvignon Blancs of Marlborough are of the buy ‘em and drink ‘em class of wine. Expect little vintage variation here - quantity differs more than quality.
The country of New Zealand is about 1000 miles from the coast of Australia. It consists of two long islands, end to end, that are approximately the same length as California. Most of the country's climate is maritime due to the abundant coastline. The northern island is warmer and wetter, while the southern island is cooler and dryer. The most popular grapes of New Zealand are Sauvignon Blanc (made most famous by the bright, crisp wines coming out of Marlborough), Chardonnay and the ever-growing Pinot Noir.
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.