I managed to get my hands on a couple of bottles through Tesco.com. They had a fantastic deal for 6 New World 2006 Sauvignon Blanc’s for £60 ($120). The case contained 2 bottles each of Cloudy Bay, Villa Maria Cellar Selection and Jackson Estate. Not a bad deal at all. I usually have to spend ~£18 (~$36) a bottle get Cloudy Bay, that’s what makes Highfield such a bargain (~£12/$24)!
In the late 90’s early 00’s you couldn’t go to a decent restaurant without the “king” of New World Sauvignon Blanc’s, Cloudy Bay, on the menu. This was the first wine to really make me go WOW. When my brother introduced me to it in the early 90’s it sparked my love for wine. For that, Cloudy Bay has a very special place in my heart.
HARVEST BEGAN EARLIER THAN EVER BEFORE WITH AN IDYLLIC SUMMER AND RELATIVELY LOW CROP LOADS DELIVERING RIPE FRUIT WITH INTENSE AROMATICS.
Mouth-watering aromas of passionfruit and lemongrass led with the spiciness of just-picked tomatoes tossed with fresh basil. Many small parcels of fruit, ripened under ideal conditions, bring layers of complexity to the 2006 Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc. The palate has exceptional richness, with ripe gooseberry flavours and a hint of fresh fennel leading to a powerful, crisp finish.
Technical Notes: Vineyard
Grapes were sourced from estate and grower vineyards located in the Rapaura, Fairhall, Renwick and Brancott sub-regions of the Wairau Valley. Free draining, stony soils typify the Rapaura and Renwick areas whilst Fairhall and Brancott are predominantly aged alluvial loams containing some clay. The majority of fruit was grown on a vertical shoot positioned (VSP) trellis, and the balance on the divided Scott Henry trellis system. In 2006 sauvignon blanc yields averaged 8.4 Tonnes/hectare (3.4 Tonnes/acre).
Technical Notes: Season
The season got off to a relatively warm, frost-free start with budburst occurring almost three weeks earlier than normal. Ideal growing conditions prevailed throughout the spring, but with December came wet and windy weather. The unsettled conditions affected the flowering period, resulting in incomplete berry set and consequently low crop levels. The warmth returned early in the New Year and conditions during the remainder of the summer were idyllic. The combination of an early spring, low crops, and warm sunny weather brought on the ripening and – for the first time ever – harvesting commenced at the end of February. Fruit quality was superb and picking was hurried as all vineyards ripened rapidly, but two dumps of rain in late March slowed things down and put a cloud of apprehension over the vintage. Fine weather with low humidity followed the rain, leaving the fruit unscathed and picking resumed in earnest..
The Sauvignon Blanc harvest began on the 13th of March – the earliest start date on record – under settled conditions, the first fruit coming from the stonier, warmer blocks around the winery. Harvesting continued steadily during the month through the progressively later ripening sites, with the last fruit coming in on the 7th of April. All vineyards were picked at optimum ripeness. Despite the season being average in terms of heat summation, the harvest was completed by the 10th of April … allowing the Cloudy Bay team to experience Easter for the first time without their gumboots on.
The fruit was machine harvested during the cooler night and early morning temperatures and transported directly to the winery. The grapes were de-stemmed and transferred straight to tank presses. Free run and lightly pressed juice was cold settled for 48 hours then racked and inoculated with a neutral yeast strain. The fermentations were carried out in stainless steel tanks; after fermentation the wine remained in contact with yeast lees for around two months, prior to blending in July and subsequent bottling in August. Final wine analysis shows an alcohol of 13.5%, pH of 3.15 and titratable acidity 7.6 g/L
(Better photo than the 2005, no spider poo this time!)
So, as usual let’s see what my wine tasting notes have to say…
…as expected, good, possiby great, classic young SB, lots of citrusy crispness, tastes fresh, dry with nice fruity undertones…
Yes, it was lovely. A big thumbs up for a “new” bottle of Cloudy Bay. But, like most wines, this will change and in a years time will be a completely different wine. Let me explain…
A good Sauvignon Blanc is like a garden. Eh? Well, if you imagine moving into a new house with just a bare patch of ground for a garden. Over the years the garden changes from being fresh and young to being mature and complex. Over the first year (and beyond in better wines) a SB changes from being that fresh zingy wine to being a mature more complex wine.
So, if you’re reading this review with an eye on buying some Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2006 then bear in mind this review was written when the wine was still quite young (September 2007). Those zingy citrusy flavours will have matured into something more complex over time. A good Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc will still taste good years later if stored well but it will obviously be a different wine.
I’ve tagged this wine Great Wine (link to Great Wine on our sister blog, ITs Wine, where we archive all our wine reviews). That makes it only the second white wine to be called that, the other is Highfield Sauvignon Blanc 2006. Which is better? The Highfield, hands down. I prefer the taste/flavour and it’s better value. BUT the Cloudy Bay is an excellent wine and consistantly good quality therfore it deserves 5 stars.
Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2006