Astrolabe Province Sauvignon Blanc 2018
Pale straw with green highlights. Aromas of lemon grass, lime peel and elderflower, with background notes of white currant and red pepper. Medium-bodied with white peach, gooseberry and citrus flavors, and a dry mineral finish. Very enjoyable when young and fresh; will age gracefully with careful cellaring.
Suggested foods include fresh, leafy green salads; seafood of all types; and dishes with lifted, aromatic herbs.
First generation winemaker Simon Waghorn has been honing his craft over thirty six years and has established a benchmark style of sauvignon blanc that reflects an unparalleled diversity of vineyard sources. Careful site selection, expert picking decisions, delicate fruit handling and astute blending are the hallmarks of his Marlborough wines. Simon chose the name Astrolabe because of historic ties with Marlborough and connotations of exploration and discovery. Together with his wife, Jane, they founded Astrolabe in Marlborough in 1996. Astrolabe is family owned and operated. All grapes are sourced from ten families who live on their land and farm sustainably. Each site was chosen for the distinctive flavour it produces. We work with dedicated growers who understand the rhythms of the land and know how to grow grapes that express the terroir. Simon is fascinated by the distinctive qualities of the Wairau Valley, Awatere Valley and Kekerengu Coast sub-regions, whether bottled alone or blended as part of the Province range.
An icon and leading region of New Zealand's distinctive style of Sauvignon blanc, Marlborough has a unique terroir, making it ideal for high quality grape production (of many varieties). Despite some common generalizations, which could be fairly justified given that Marlborough is responsible for 90% of New Zealand's Sauvignon blanc production, the wines from this region are actually anything but homogenous. At the northern tip of New Zealand’s South Island, the vineyards of Marlborough benefit from well-draining, stony soils, a dry, sunny climate and wide temperature fluctuations between day and night, a phenomenon that supports a perfect balance between berry ripeness and acidity.
The region’s king variety, Sauvignon blanc, is beloved for its pungent, aromatic character with notes of exotic tropical fruit, freshly cut grass and green bell pepper along with a refreshing streak of stony minerality. These wines are made in a wide range of styles, and winemakers take advantage of various clones, vineyard sites, fermentation styles, lees-stirring and aging regimens to differentiate their bottlings, one from one another.
A crisp, refreshing variety that equally reflects both terroir and varietal character, Sauvignon blanc is responsible for a vast array of wine styles. However, a couple of commonalities always exist—namely, zesty acidity and intense aromatics. The variety is of French provenance, and is most important in Bordeaux and the Loire Valley. It also shines in New Zealand, California, Australia and parts of northeastern Italy. Chile and South Africa are excellent sources of high-quality, value-priced Sauvignon blanc.
In the Glass
From its homeland In Bordeaux, winemakers prefer to blend it with Sémillon to produce a softer, richer style. In the Loire Valley, it expresses citrus, flint and smoky flavors, especially from in Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé. Marlborough, New Zealand often produces a pungent and racy version, reminiscent of cut grass, gooseberry and grapefruit. California's style is fruit-driven, in either a soft and oak-aged or snappy and fresh version.
The freshness of Sauvignon blanc’s flavor lends it to a range of light, summery dishes including salad, seafood and mild Asian cuisine. Sauvignon Blanc settles in comfortably at the table with notoriously difficult foods like artichokes or asparagus. When combined with Sémillon (and perhaps some oak), it matches well with complex seafood and chicken dishes.
Along with Cabernet Franc, Sauvignon blanc is a proud parent of Cabernet Sauvignon. That green bell pepper aroma that all three varieties share is no coincidence—it comes from a high concentration of pyrazines (herbaceous aromatic compounds) inherent to each member of the family.