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Featured Reviews

Wildflower 2017 Hawke’s Bay and Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc

21 March,2018

Comparing Sauvignon Blanc wines from Hawke’s Bay and Marlborough is generally deemed unfair in that the Marlborough wines tend to be seen far more positively. This is due to their more extroverted fruit expression and crisp, penetrating acidity. Most consumers will see the Hawke’s Bay versions much more shy and often softer and thus with less character. For the more discerning palate, the Hawke’s Bay wines show riper fruit flavours, more fruit depth and presence and can have greater structure. The Marlborough wines can develop the less-pleasant green bean character sooner than the Hawke’s Bay wines. So it’s a fascinating comparison.

‘Wildflower’ is an export brand of Rod McDonald’s Te Awanga Estate. In 2017, he has made Sauvignon Blancs from Hawke’s Bay and Marlborough, and we can make a reasonably good regional comparison with the winemaker involved being the same person. I’m sure there will have been slightly different approaches and actions taken in making these wines, and also the vintage conditions differ to some degree, but there is much in common. Interestingly, the wines share identical technical figures. Here, I review the two wines.


Wildflower Hawke’s Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2017

Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay


Bright straw-yellow colour with a pale golden hue, lighter on the rim. The nose is softly full with aromas of gooseberries and tropical fruits, along with fresh herbs and green capsicums forming a well-packed heart. This is elegant in proportion and unfolds cut-grass notes. Dry to taste and light-medium bodied, the palate has up-front, uncomplicated and light flavours of gooseberries, green stonefruits, fresh herbs and a little cut-grass. The mouthfeel is zesty with lacy acidity and the wine is carried by a light, phenolic-textured line, leading to a thirst-quenching, nuanced finish. This is an up-front and uncomplicated Sauvignon Blanc with gooseberry, tropical fruit, herb and cut-grass flavours on a refreshing palate with light grip. Serve with salads and vegetables, and Mediterranean fare over the next 2 years. Fruit from Maraekakaho cool-fermented in stainless-steel to 12.5% alc. and 3.7 g/L RS, TA 7.1 g/L and pH 3.24. 16.5-/20 Mar 2018 Export Only. RRP $N/A

Wildflower Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2017

Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand – Marlborough


Bright, pale straw colour, near colourless on the edge. The nose is youthfully taut and tightly bound with slender aromas of passionfruit, nettles, cut-grass and piquant herbs. Though smaller-scale, this has good intensity. Dry to taste and light-medium bodied, the palate is elegant with penetrating flavours of passionfruit, nettles and cut-grass, along with fresh herbs and snow peas. The fruit is in the cooler spectrum. The palate has brisk and racy acidity enlivening the mouthfeel, and the wine flows with energy and tension along a fine line, leading to a long, slim finish of pungent passionfruit. This is a slender, but penetratingly flavoured Sauvignon Blanc with passionfruit, nettle and grassy flavours on a racy palate. Serve with Pacific Rim fare over the next 2 years. Marlborough cool-fermented in stainless-steel to 12.5% alc. and 3.7 g/L RS, TA 7.1 g/L and pH 3.24. 16.5/20 Mar 2018 Export Only. RRP $N/A

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