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Tasting Reviews

Stoneleigh Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2018

The ‘Stoneleigh’ brand has a special place in the Pernod-Ricard portfolio, though ‘Brancott Estate’ is the company’s premier label in Marlborough. The Stoneleigh vineyards were established in 1980 by Corbans, the rival to pioneering Montana (who has now become Brancott Estate), in the Rapaura district. The first Stoneleigh wines were launched in 1986. Stoneleigh quickly became known to produce wines of a distinctive style, especially with Sauvignon Blanc, these wines having a predisposition to the rich, riper thiol-based pungent passionfruit flavours which were not only different to the more accepted gooseberry-fruited style.

When Corbans was purchased by Montana in 2000, the new owners recognised the significance of Stoneleigh representing the Rapaura district, and have supported the brand in this role. The ranges of wines have been increased from the ‘regular’ Stoneleigh to include the ‘Lighter’ alcohol bottlings, the more up-market ‘Latitude’ tier and top ‘Rapaura Series’. Recently, Stoneleigh introduced the ‘Wild Valley’ wines, employing indigenous yeast fermentation, demonstrating a degree of risk and innovation for what could be considered a commercial brand.

At the end of the day, the regular ‘Stoneleigh’ label wines are the core business. Here I review the new 2018 Stoneleigh Sauvignon Blanc, that comes from a lineage that stretches over three decades. The feature with the 2018 is that it has a new label that is part of the modern packaging for the Stoneleigh’s range of different tiers.

Stoneleigh Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2018
Bright, very pale straw colour with slight green hues, near colourless. The nose is softly full and voluminous with moderately deep aromas of pungent passionfruit and tropical fruit harmoniously melded with notes of fresh herbs, white florals and a hint of mouthwatering minerals. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has gently expressed sweetly ripe, pungent passionfruit and tropical fruit flavours with fresh herb detail. The mouthfeel is soft and rounded with a fine, fresh line of underlying acidity. The wine flows with some slipperiness and energy, carrying to a light, gentle, lingering finish. This is a soft and gentle Sauvignon Blanc with pungent passionfruit, tropical fruit and fresh herb flavours on a smooth, slippery palate. Match with Pacific Rim fare over the next 2 years. MS clone fruit from the ‘Stoneleigh’ vineyard on Rapaura Road with ‘Kaituna’ vineyard fruit, vines 15-36 y.o., cool-fermented in stainless-steel to 12.9% alc. and 4.7 g/L RS. Winemaker: Jamie Marfell. 17.0/20 Oct 2018 RRP $17.29
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