Catalina Sounds winery in Marlborough, New Zealand is the proud owner of one of the most unique and exceptional vineyards in the entire region. The small range of Single Vineyard wines they produce off this site are nothing short of remarkable, for both their sheer quality and their distinctive terroir.
The property, which sits in the remote Waihopai Valley is called the Sound of White vineyard; in the depths of winter it is isolation and tranquility personified; when it snows you hear nothing, white on white.
This remote area also houses the Waihopai Station, a secure communication facility shrouded in secrecy and run by New Zealand’s Government Communications Security Bureau. Several protests and disputes surrounding its use and the wider implications of the information gathered have gained the facility international notoriety and shrouded it in mystery.
The 2017 Sauvignon Blanc came from the ‘D’ Block at the Sound of White vineyard, where the clay based soils give a density and richness to the fruit. In the winery, cloudy juice was run into large French oak foudres, where they naturally underwent an uninoculated, warm fermentation. The wine then sat unsulphured on heavy yeast lees for 10 months. A portion of the wine was allowed to go through partial malolactic conversion and a small parcel of skin-contact fermented wine was incorporated back into the final blend.
The resultant wine is a remarkable tension between intensity and restraint, with complexity written across that divide like poetry. Aromas are perfumed and alluring, there is flint and gun smoke, beeswax, pear, lemon curd, pink grapefruit and alpine herbs.
On the palate, there is richness and creaminess, held in check by a nice line of vibrant acidity, not dominant, yet firm and assertive. The sheer beauty of this wine is the restraint, it is textural resonance and refrain, wrapping the indelible nature of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc in gossamer and deftly giving the fruit complex layers of intrigue and finesse.
There are ripe fruit notes of pear, apricot and white peach, with citrus tones and mealy, granola richness from the lees contact; minerality and herbal notes adding freshness to the wine. The finish is clean and refined. This is a remarkable wine, combining impeccable fruit with inspired winemaking, a polished gem, a true gift and one of the region’s very best.
Drink now with river fish, freshwater lobster, scallops and other mollusks.