Grapes for our sauvignon blanc are sourced from estate and grower vineyards located in the Rapaura, Fairhall, Renwick and Brancott sub-regions of the Wairau Valley. Soils range from free draining stony on the valley floor to aged alluvial loams containing some clay. The majority of fruit is grown on a vertical shoot positioned (VSP) trellis with a small number of blocks on Scott-Henry. In 2013, our average sauvignon blanc yield was 10 tonnes/ha.
Vineyard ﬂower set has a direct effect on bud fruitfulness the following year. With 2012’s poor ﬂower set in mind, our team pruned to their advantage laying down an additional cane where appropriate. Ideal spring conditions during ﬂowering and bud burst gave our vines great balance come bunch development. Fastidious canopy management throughout the mild and sunny growing season ensured fruit developed, then ripened at an ideal rate.
Harvest 2013 was rather compressed with varieties ripening at similar rates due to the remarkably uniform growing season. Harvest of our sauvignon blanc fruit commenced on March 29th with the first fruit coming in from the Rapaura and Renwick subregions. The compact harvest lasted just two weeks, finishing on 15th April. Crop levels were well balanced and slightly below average. Analysis at harvest showed a brix range of 21.0 - 23.3, pH 2.98 - 3.29 and TA 8.8 - 11.2.
Fruit was harvested during the cool of the night and early morning. Free-run juice was cold settled for 48-96 hours before racking. Fermentation was primarily carried out in stainless steel with a mixture of cultured and wild yeasts. A small percentage was fermented at warmer temperatures in old French oak barriques and large format oak vats. Our sauvignon blanc was stringently blended, including only the strongest 55 batches from a total of 76 distinct parcels. The final blend shows an alcohol of 13.5%, pH of 3.18, TA of 7.8g/L and RS of 2.0g/L.
Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc is a delicious partner to a tomato and goat curd salad drizzled with fresh basil oil.