Cloudy Bay Te Koko Sauvignon Blanc 2014
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
For those who might not know, Cloudy Bay's 2014 Te Koko is a barrel-fermented and -aged Sauvignon Blanc. In top vintages, it can come across as not dissimilar from a top-flight Graves. This one offers up smoky, herbal aromas, hints of passion fruit and nectarine. It's perhaps a touch less ripe and rich than some vintages, but it remains richly textured on the medium to full-bodied palate, finishing with mouthwatering notes of tangerine and vanilla. Somehow, this slipped through the cracks last year, but as it's still widely available, I've included it in this year's report.
Cloudy Bay Vineyards, established in 1985, is today a partnership between champagne house Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin and co-founder of Cape Mentelle Vineyards in Western Australia, David Hohnen. The Cloudy Bay team is committed to producing 'wines of region' and strives to enhance the pure, bracing flavors naturally afforded by the climate and soils of Marlborough. The winery and vineyards are situated in the Wairau Valley in Marlborough at the northern end of New Zealand's South Island. This unique and cool wine region enjoys a maritime climate with the longest hours of sunshine of any place in New Zealand. Cloudy Bay has estate vineyards located at prime sites within the Wairau Valley and long-term supply agreements with five Wairau Valley growers. The main varieties grown are Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
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.