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C.J. Pask Winery Gimblett Road Sauvignon Blanc 1999
Chris Pask pioneered grape plantings at Gimblett Road, Hawkes Bay in 1982. The winery now owns and manages 60 hectares of established vineyard in Gimblett Road, arguably the leading viticultural site in New Zealand. The company also has a further 20 hectares, to be developed in the medium term, affording flexibility to future production. Four main blocks are planted at Gimblett Road, on the old riverbed of the Ngaruroro River. The soil profile is typically, fine river silt over free draining shingle which supports premium vine growth exceptionally well.
Three distinct ranges are produced by C J Pask winery, they are predominately estate grown, elegant styles displaying clearly defined fruit characters. The aim of these different ranges is to meet the market demands, nationally and internationally of varying price points, and winestyles, with quality that exceeds expectations. The Reserve Range are produced in limited quantities only when the fruit quality is exceptional. The Gimblett Road Range and Roys Hill Range are produced in commercial quantities in very consistent styles from vintage to vintage.
The Gimblett Road region lies on the old Ngaruroro riverbed, the free draining shingle combined with the silt soils tend to increase soil temperature and to reflect the sun onto the grapes during the day. The region has its own micro climate with Roys Hill blocking the prevailing winds and cloud formation, the heat retention effectively means a different categorisation from the "cool climate" definition used for the broader New Zealand wine industry. The consequences are an extending of the ripening process and fruit characteristics of the wine CJ Pask being a genuine estate grown producer from only the Gimblett Road site, with integrated Viticulture, Production, Winemaking and Marketing resources ensure that the opportunities of Gimblett Road are reflected in the final product.
A relatively young but extremely promising wine-producing country, New Zealand is widely recognized for distinctive, aromatic Sauvignon Blanc. While this is indeed the country’s most planted and successful variety, it is certainly not the only one that is capable of delighting wine lovers—and in a very wallet-friendly manner, at that. The world’s most southerly vineyards are found here, with significant climatic variation both between and within the warmer North Island and the cooler South Island. Overall, the climate is maritime, with plenty of rainfall as well as abundant sunshine. Producers have almost unilaterally embraced cutting-edge winery technology, resulting in clean, high-quality wines at every price point.
Sauvignon Blanc is at its best in Marlborough but thrives throughout the nation, known for its trademark herbaceous and vegetal character. This pungent, aromatic variety accounts for an overwhelming majority of the country’s exports. Chardonnay is the second-most important white variety and takes on a supple texture and citrus and tropical fruit aromas in Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay, respectively. Pinot Noir, trailing behind Sauvignon Blanc in national production numbers, is at its best in Central Otago, the southernmost winegrowing region in the world. These wines are known for bright, juicy red fruit. Taking cues from the wines of Alsace, aromatic varieties like Pinot Gris, Riesling, and Gewürztraminer shine in Martinborough, while red Bordeaux varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot have found success in Hawke’s Bay. Throughout New Zealand but especially in Marlborough, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are used to produce traditional method sparkling wine.
A crisp, refreshing variety that equally reflects both terroir and varietal character, Sauvignon Blanc is responsible for a vast array of wine styles. A couple of commonalities always exist, however—namely, zesty acidity and intense aromatics. The variety is of French provenance, and is important in Bordeaux and the Loire Valley. It also shines in New Zealand and California, while Chile and South Africa are excellent sources of high-quality, value-priced Sauvignon Blanc. High-quality Sauvignon Blanc is also produced in Washington State, Australia, and parts of northern Italy.
In the Glass
From its homeland in the Loire Valley, where citrus, flinty, and smoky flavors shine through in Sancerre and Pouilly-Fume, to Marlborough, New Zealand, where it is pungent, racy, and “green” (think grass, leaves, gooseberries, and bell peppers) and tastes of grapefruit and passionfruit, Sauvignon Blanc has something to offer every wine drinker. In Bordeaux, it is typically blended with Sémillon and Muscadelle to produce a softer, richer style. In California, any of the aforementioned styles can be emulated.
The freshness of Sauvignon Blanc’s flavor—from bell pepper and cut grass to passionfruit, gooseberry, and ripe kiwi lend it to a range of light, summery dishes including salad, seafood, and mild Asian dishes. Sauvignon Blanc settles in comfortably at the table with notoriously difficult foods like goat cheese and asparagus. When combined with Sémillon (and perhaps some oak), it can be paired with more complex seafood and chicken dishes.
Along with Cabernet Franc, Sauvignon Blanc is the 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 (an herbaceous aromatic compound) inherent to each member of the family.