Greywacke – Vintage 2018 Wild Sauvignon & Pinot Noir and 2017 Chardonnay
In 2009, Kevin Judd and his wife Kimberley established the Greywacke label. A living legend, Kevin’s fame of 25 years as founding winemaker at Cloudy Bay has never left him, and he continues his legacy with Greywacke, developing their style of Marlborough wines to such an extent that Greywacke are already among the most interesting, complex and highly regarded in the region.
They’re best known for the Greywacke Wild Sauvignon with its layers of complexities and personalities that never fails to impress. I personally enjoy their Chardonnay and Pinot Noir just as much. They both have brilliant weight and complexity – they’re perfectly delicious and soulful.
The Chardonnay I tasted was vintage 2017 - a mild frost-free spring followed by a cool December, which led to poor fruit set in chardonnay and pinot noir. Dry, cooler than normal temperatures from December to January provided fine conditions and led to superb quality fruit, though two cyclonic rains in April forced picking. This was the shortest and most challenging vintage for Marlborough and Greywacke. Despite an average sized crop, fruit achieved good ripeness and structure. It was a slightly warmer than average season, with 1330 GDD.
The Wild Sauvignon and Pinot Noir were from 2018 - a year of extremes, with record high temperature in December and January, superb flowering conditions and a high crop size necessitating thinning to focus on producing concentrated and quality grapes. In February, two ex-tropical cyclones brought considerable rainfall and set another wettest period on record. Pinot noir was picked at good physiological ripeness but required careful hand-sorting to eliminate botrytis. It was a considerably warmer than average season, with 1510 GDD.
There have been a couple changes with the Greywacke team recently. After seven years of assisting Kevin and Kimberley, Richard Ellis announced his departure in April to pursue a personal project. Rich had been intimately involved in the winemaking and marketing at Greywacke and has helped enormously to cement Greywacke’s reputation in the world of wine.
Last week, Greywacke has announced Richelle Tyney has joined the team. Richelle firmly believes in minimal intervention winemaking and that wine should express its turangawaewae (a place to stand). Her special vinous passion is pinot noir and the hillside terroir of Marlborough’s Southern Valleys holds a very special place in her heart. She will be managing the Greywacke winemaking programme and will be travelling to marketing events. You will find Richelle along with Alex Judd at the Negociants Fine Wine Tour in July (Auckland, Wellington & Christchurch) and The Rees Culinary Series with Greywacke Wines winemakers dinner in July (Queenstown).
FEATURED WINES IN THIS REVIEW
Greywacke Chardonnay 2017, MarlboroughChardonnay from New Zealand - MarlboroughReview Date : 11-May-2021Bright, pale yellow-gold with some depth and a green hue, slightly lighter edged. The nose is full, well-packed with nuances of brioche, roasted nuts and barrel spices, underlined grilled pineapple, ripe stonefruit and chalky mineral. Medium-full bodied, the palate is filled with grilled pineapple, peaches, preserved lemon, grapefruit zest, flavours have good depth, enriched by well-proportioned spices, vanilla, toasted hazelnuts, along with brioche melba toast. Brilliant acidity cut through a creamy palate, unveil fine-textured flinty phenolic, carries nutty components to a lengthy, powerful finish. The wine has great concentration and breadth, full of elegant interest. Match with roast goose and crayfish thermidor over the next 5+ years. Primarily Mendoza clone, plus Clone 5, the majority of fruit was sourced from Brancott Valley and Fairhall, with the remainder from Renwick and Rapaura. Handpicked, high ripeness levels, whole bunch pressed, some full solids, fermented with indigenous yeast in French oak barriques to 14.2% alc, 20% new oak. Occasional lees stirred and full MLF, aged in oak for 18 months. 19/20 pts (95 pts) May 2021 RRP $43
Greywacke Wild Sauvignon 2018, MarlboroughSauvignon Blanc from New Zealand - MarlboroughReview Date : 11-May-2021Bright, pale straw-yellow with a slight green hue, even colour throughout. The bouquet is full and complex, filling the glass with aromas of citrus, lemon curd, elderflower, lemon verbena and a hint of honey, intermix subtle barrel flint and nutty notes. Medium-bodied, the palate is bright and multi-layered, nuances of lemon curd, lemon sherbet, and zest adorned by a hint of cassis, elderflower, lemon verbena, basil and honey nuance. Spices attack with tingle sensations, followed by almond danish and a dry, flinty finish. Acidity is lively yet soft; chase a slightly creamy, fine-textured, chalky phenolic line. The flavours layered harmoniously, intriguingly detailed and attractive. Match with arugula & goat's cheese ravioli and rabbit terrine over the next 5-7 years. Fruit was sourced from sites Woodbourne, Renwick and Rapaura, indigenous yeast fermented to 13.5% alc in old French oak barriques over six months, occasional lees stirred, approx two-third MLF, aged in barrel for 1 year and further aged on lees in stainless steel for 8 months. 19+/20 pts (96 pts) May 2021 RRP $38.50
Greywacke Pinot Noir 2018, MarlboroughPinot Noir from New Zealand - MarlboroughReview Date : 11-May-2021Deep, ruby-red with moderate transparency, lighter on the rim. The bouquet is soft with depth, elegantly presented, aromas of Bing cherries, strawberries interweave minty, medicinal herbs, followed by delicate spices and lifted earthy minerals. Medium-full bodied, the palate has density and richness, cherries and strawberries aromas enriched by star anise, cloves and dried herbs. An earthy, rich tea leaves essence added breadth, carry to a long, lingering dry finish. Fine-grained silky tannin have ripeness and grip; lively acidity provides vibrancy and balance. This is a complexing, earthy Pinot Noir with a dense flow of herbs and spices, vibrant red fruit and a silky tannin grip. Match with smoked duck and char siu over the next 5-8 years. Fruit was sourced from Southern Valleys and principally from Yarrum Vineyard, predominantly Dijon clones 115, 77 and 667 with smaller parcels of UCD5 and 10/5. Handpicked, the majority destemmed into open-top fermenters, including a percentage of whole bunch. The fruit was left to soak on skin before indigenous yeast fermentation and daily plunged. Aged in French oak barriques for 16 months, 30% new oak. 13.5% alc. 19/20 (95 pts) May 2021 RRP $49