Dog Point 2018 Sauvignon Blanc, and 2016 ‘Section 94’, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir
Dog Point Vineyards is the joint venture of the Sutherland and Healy families; Ivan Sutherland and James Healy working together beforehand at Cloudy Bay. They established Dog Point in 2004 with wines they made in the 2002 vintage, but it is with the 2004 vintage wines that they count as their first truly vintage they could commercialise. This is definitely the incorrect word to describe the Dog Point wine production, as the wines in my opinion are very distinctive and show great sophistication that puts them at the cutting edge of the modern Marlborough style. Their predilection for funky complexity, superb textures, and fruit intensity and definition make them some of the region’s most interesting wines, which has attracted followers internationally as well as domestically.
One can’t help but draw comparisons with the Greywacke wines of Kevin Judd, who Ivan and James worked closely with at Cloudy Bay; in fact, Kevin’s wines are made at the Dog Point winery, but there are very clear differences. To me, the Greywacke wines have a richness that makes them immediately appealing, whereas the Dog Point wines are generally taut and designed to age, revealing their full character with bottle age. They are intellectual wines for sure, and they can demonstrate minerality very clearly, but they too are extremely appealing and satisfying on a sensual scale.
Here, I review the latest Dog Point releases, the 2018 Sauvignon Blanc, and the three ‘barrel’ wines from the 2016 vintage, the ‘Section 94’ Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. These are all certified BioGro organic. Dog Point now own and operate the largest organically certified vineyard area in New Zealand with around 200 ha. www.dogpoint.co.nz
FEATURED WINES IN THIS REVIEW
Dog Point Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2018Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand - MarlboroughReview Date : 28-Oct-2018Brilliant pale straw-yellow colour with slight green hues. The nose is fresh with softly full aromas of white and green stonefruits, piquant fresh herbs, some gooseberry notes and subtle complexing mouthwatering minerally lees elements. This is elegantly presented and has good intensity. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has a rich and succulent core of green stonefruits and gooseberries with fresh herb notes and subtle flinty, minerally lees detail. The palate sweetness is balanced by fine, fresh acidity and the flavours flow along with an elegantly concentrated core with very good linearity and thirst-quenching crispness to a long, lingering finish of stonefruits, herbs and minerals. This is an elegantly rich and succulent Sauvignon Blanc with green stonefruit, herb and mouthwatering mineral flavours and a finely concentrated core with crisp acidity. Serve with Pacific Rim fare and Mediterranean dishes over the next 2+ years. 100% UCD1 clone fruit from estate vineyards, hand-picked and WBP, fermented in stainless-steel, a portion by indigenous yeasts to 13.0% alc., the wine aged 2-3 months on lees. Certified BioGro organic. 18.5/20 Oct 2018 RRP $28.50
Dog Point ‘Section 94’ Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2016Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand - MarlboroughReview Date : 28-Oct-2018Bright, even, straw-yellow colour with lemon-green hues and a tint of gold, a little lighter on the edge. The nose is elegantly proportioned with powerful and intensely concentrated aromas of green stonefruits, greengages and nectarines forming a firm, taut core. The aromatics show an array of herbs and subtle nutty notes with a complexing minerally reductive flinty layer. The aromatics possess penetration and depth. Dry to taste and medium-full bodied, the palate is well-presented with very fine and concentrated flavours of green stonefruits harmoniously layered with fresh herbs and complexing flinty, minerallly reductive notes. The fruit richness is balanced by fine acid cut, and the wine flows along a very fine-textured line with linear drive, leading to a very long and sustained finish. This is a very finely concentrated and intense, complex-layered oak and lees influenced Sauvignon Blanc with green stonefruits, herbs and flinty, mineral flavours on a fresh, fine-textured palate. Match with herb-marinated seafood, poultry, pork and veal dishes over the next 4 years. 100% UCD1 clone fruit from ‘Section 94’ of the ‘Home’ vineyard, hand-picked and fully indigenous yeast barrel-fermented with high solids to 14.0% alc., the wine spending 18 months in oak with some batonnage and no MLF. Certified BioGro organic. 19.0+/20 Oct 2018 RRP $37.00
Dog Point Marlborough Chardonnay 2016Chardonnay from New Zealand - MarlboroughReview Date : 28-Oct-2018Bright, full, pale golden-yellow colour with some depth, a little lighter on the rim. The nose is full with rich, ripe and rounded aromas of white stonefruits and citrus fruits entwined with a complex layer of creamy barrel-ferment and nutty oak in an amalgam of gunflint and mineral reductive complexities. This has richness and breadth and is well-proportioned. Medium-full bodied, the palate has rich, mouthfilling flavours of white and yellow stonefruits and citrus fruits melded with a layering of creamy and nutty oak and flinty, minerally reductive complexities, unfolding a little smoke and toast. The fruit richness is balanced by refreshing acidity lending the palate brightness and energy. The wine carries smoothly to a rich, lingering finish. This is a rich, mouthfilling Chardonnay with a complex amalgam of stonefruits, creamy and nutty oak and gunflinty, minerally reduction on a bright, vibrant palate. Match with roasted and grilled pork and veal over the next 4+ years. 66% Mendoza and 34% clone 95 fruit from the ‘Home’ vineyard, fully indigenous yeast barrel-fermented to 13.5% alc., the wine aged on lees for 18 months in 15% new oak, undergoing 100% MLF. Certified BioGro organic. 19.0/20 Oct 2018 RRP $37.00
Dog Point Marlborough Pinot Noir 2016Pinot Noir from New Zealand - MarlboroughReview Date : 28-Oct-2018Even, dark ruby-red colour with slight purple hues, lighter edged. The nose has softly concentrated and deep aromas of ripe dark-red and black cherry and berry fruit entwined with dark herbs and subtle whole bunch stalk suggestions, unfolding dark-red floral perfumes. The nose is firmly packed, but exudes richness. Medium-bodied, the palate has stylishly rich and lusciously sweet flavours of dark-red cherry and berry fruits along with subtle notes of fresh herbs, dark-red florals with nuances of whole bunch stalk elements. The fruit sweetness forms a positive core which is supported by fine-grained tannin extraction with soft acidity lending freshness, enhancing the fruit richness. The wine carries to a long, soft finish. This is a stylishly rich and sweet-fruited Pinot Noir with dark-red cherry and berry fruit with subtle herb and floral notes and fine tannin structure. Match with poultry and pork dishes over the next 5-6 years. A blend of 70% Dijon clones 667, 777 and 115, 15% clone 5, 10% Abel clone and 5% clone 10/5 from the company’s ‘Settlement’ and ‘Yarrum’ vineyards, the fruit hand-picked and fully indigenous yeast fermented with 20% whole bunches to 13.0% alc., the wine aged 18 months in 35% new French oak. Certified BioGro organic. 18.5+/20 Oct 2018 RRP $47.00