While Bill and Ross Spence were the sons of a winemaking father, but decided not to follow his winemaking path. They began in a ragged tin shed in West Auckland, in 1974. The wines they released from that first vintage immediately placed them amongst the leading group of innovative winemakers. Chardonnay and Gamay Teinturier were not common varieties in New Zealand at that time, and it was the first time Sauvignon Blanc had ever been produced, but they were committed to a new way.
Within a year the success of these wines was being noted. In 1975, the "Burgundy" won the first competition trophy for Matua Valley at the Royal Easter Show. A less publicized triumph was the impression the Sauvignon Blanc had made amongst the other winemakers, leading to the decision to include large quantities of this variety in the first vineyards to be planted in the now famous Marlborough region. In 1976 a new company, Matua Valley Wines Ltd was formed in partnership with another Auckland family, the Margans.
The new foundation allowed Matua Valley to put down more substantial roots, and in 1977, 25 hectares of land was purchased in the beautiful green Waikoukou Valley, 35 kilometers west of Auckland. A new winery was built on the crest of a low ridge overlooking the valley, and the first steps made towards landscaping gardens and establishing a visitors’ center were made.
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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.
This 2013 Amici Cellars Sauvignon Blanc is a blend of 50% Sauvignon Musque and 50% Sauvignon Blanc from vineyards in
St. Helena and Rutherford in Napa Valley. The wine exhibits distinct aromas of citrus, fragrant honeysuckle, and notes of pineapple ...
This is a very intense and powerful wine. True to its Marlborough origins its flavors are a mix of ripe
tropical fruits, citrus and cooler notes of fresh herbs, tomato leaf and pea pod. It is dry and full bodied ...
This 2013 Reserve Selection Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc opens with appealing citrus aromas of freshly squeezed lime and nectarine accented
by just a hint of white peach and lychee. This is a nicely textured wine with crisp acidity and a ...
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.