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edited by Sue Courtney

Wine Reviews - Sauvignon Blanc
2012 vintage
by Sue Courtney
Last updated 30 Nov 2015

[2013] [2012][2011] [2010] [2009] [2008] [2007] [2006] [2005] [2004] [2003] [2002] [2001] [2000 and older] [index]

Although some of these tasting notes may be found elsewhere on this site, this page brings together most of my 2010 & 2009 vintage Sauvignon Blanc notes, listed alphabetically by producer. Click here for rating systems and abbreviations.

In my notes 'gooseberry' refers to the South Island green gooseberry unless otherwise specified. Cape gooseberry and Chinese gooseberry (kiwifruit) are different fruits.
Following the wine names, the wine bottle closure is indicated. (sc) = screwcap, (c) = cork, (p) = plastic.

Click here for a historical perpsective of Sauvignon Blanc in New Zealand.

2012 Vintage [top] [index]

900 Grapes Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (sc) Tropical fruit, capsicum and bubble gum on the nose, concentrated to the taste and full of tropical fruit, herb and cut grass flavours. Flinty, spicy, vibrant and exuberant. Fantastic summer drinking. Lovely balance of fruit sweetness and acidity. 13% alc. NZIWS Gold Medal review. 10Sep2012.

Ara Single Estate Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (sc) Intense and concentrated aroma, a little sweaty maybe. Classical cut grass, herb and sweaty flavours. Smooth oily texture, loads of richness, pungency and flavour. 13% alc. NZIWS Gold Medal review. 10Sep2012.

Ara Marlborough Single Estate Select Blocks Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (sc) Pale straw lemon. Aromas of snow pea and toast give some indication this wine, at two years of age, is starting to wander down the sauvignon blanc garden trail where it pauses at the asparagus plot then continues to the orchard where tropical fruit (lots of pineapple) and lemon add a vibrant tangy overlay. 13.5% alc. $25.95. 16May2014.

Aronui Single Vineyard Nelson Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (sc) A deep light gold colour, it seems a little toasty and honeyed on the nose and also imparts a slight earthy apple note with stonefruit in that background. Full-bodied and intense to the taste, it oozes varietal character with pineapple, capsicum, zingy citrus, a tangy herbaceousness and a subtle smoky nuance to the long pungent finish where the texture seems almost creamy. 13% alc. $21.95. 16Dec2013.

Boundary Vineyards Rapaura Road Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (sc) The exuberance of youth has softened the bouquet and the taste is full-bodied and smooth with wonderful textural complexity and sizzled stonefruit flavours balancing tangy citrus that imparts such a lively zesty finish. Lovely infusion of flint and tarragon too. 13% alc. $22.99. 10Sep2013.

Brancott Estate Chosen Rows Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2010 (sc) Pale straw in hue with a European rather than NZ aura to the bouquet that's scented with a sweet wild ferment yeast character and smoky nuances. "Complex sulphides," states Patrick. And the taste emulates the aroma – leesy with palate texture and concentration without the mouth-awakening bright explosions of fruit we are used to. It's a smoky, fumé style of wine with a delicate lemongrass, lemon balm, lemon cream, lemon zest infusion. Guava also comes to mind and wild salad greens, and there's a nutty sweetness as the flavours linger. It seems a little sweet but Patrick says it is bone dry with higher alcohol that imparting the sweet impression, and true to that statement the lingering taste is indeed bone dry. Definitively takes the Brancott Sauvignon Blanc to another level. The packaging is very impressive too. 14% alc. $80. 15May2013.

Brancott Estate “Flight” Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (sc) The label says “Naturally lighter in alcohol” yet presents all the classical gooseberry, grapefruit and sweet summer herb flavours with a flinty backbone, juicy orange zest and a touch of passionfruit rounding out the incredibly tantalising end. Not too overpowering, a delicate fresh juicy summer drink. 9% alc. NZIWS Gold Medal review. 10Sep2012.

Brancott Estate Marlborough Letter Series 'B' Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (sc) This light gold coloured wine has a rather subdued scent for the variety - it's floral, perhaps sweet herbs / hay with a funky wild yeast / barrel ferment infusion. The zest, spicy oak flavours come through in the bright, fresh palate which is initially characterised by citrus with a juicy tang of feijoa. Transferred to a big glass which allows the aromas to expand it’s warm, rounded zingy and vibrant and a delicious accompaniment to garlic prawns. 13.5% alc. $27.99. 16Apr2013.
A surprisingly shy bouquet, a subtle suggestion of armpit maybe. Dry and restrained on first tasting, then a revelation of flavour as the wine traverses the palate revealing fruit that's in the stonefruit rather than tropical spectrum but finishing with sauv's typical fresh brightness – there's grapefruit, lime and a pineapple zing. Also a smoky character as the wine lingers, perhaps from the touch of oak that also imparts a pleasing textural complexity. 13.5% alc. $25.99. 15May2013.

Churton Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (c) A restrained style with fresh aromas of melon and hints of tropical guava. Crisp, fresh and dry with gooseberry and herbs to the fore. A very good match to Pepperdews stuffed with feta. 13% alc. $26.00. 29Jun2013.

Cloudy Bay Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (sc) Concentrated and intense from the outset, inviting tropical fruit and grapefruit on the nose, dry and restrained in the palate with benchmark Marlborough tropical fruit, gooseberry and a touch of grapefruit. Stylish and long with a toasty richness and spicy zest, outstanding in a blind tasting line up – and one of the best Cloudy Bays, I think, for several years. 13.5% alc. $32. 11Feb2013.

Crossroads Milestone Series Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (sc) Gooseberry, capsicum and citrus on the nose. Lovely smooth attack on the palate with vibrant citrus and pineapple flavours, just a touch of zesty spice and a seemingly everlasting finish. NZIWS Gold Medal review. 10Sep2012.

Forrest Estate Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (sc) Bright, fresh and grassy – the exuberant aromas prepare for the fresh juicy favours. Citrus, tropical fruit, green melon and a touch of peach nectar are layered over a summer herb backbone with a touch of tomato stalk and a lemon tang to the finish. 4.5 stars. 13% alc. $22.99. 11Feb2013.

Forrest The Doctors' Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (sc) This lower-alcohol style has a nose that at first seems more akin to Pinot Gris than Sauvignon Blanc, It has a slight smoky nuance too. Definitely a salad wine with flavours of celery, capsicum and cucumber mingling with slightly spritzy citrus reminiscent of orange and lemonade. Good texture and mouth feel, the only distraction being a slightly earthy green apple note to the finish, but this counterbalances the toffee like sweetness that emerges on the finish. 9.5% alc. $22.00. 16Dec2013.

Giesen The Fuder Single Vineyard Matthews Lane Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (sc) This is quite golden in colour and stands out in a lineup of sauvignon blanc because of this. It’s creamy on the nose with hints of butterscotch that carries through to the palate where there is classical citrus brightness but a fleshy peach softness too. An 'alternative style' that is complex and full-bodied wine with funky wild yeast and barrel ferment flavours from the German 'Fuder' barrels. $59.99. 10Sep2013.
Grapefruit abounds on the nose of this light yellow gold hued wine and it is full, rich and creamy in the palate with spiced stonefruit a highlight. An alternative style with barrel ferment and oak ageing, it combines Sauvignon Blanc's vibrancy with wine making prowess. 14.5% alc. NZIWS Gold Medal Tasting. 8Sep2014.

Greywacke Marlborough Wild Sauvignon 2012 (sc) This is a beautiful, concentrated funky yeasty style with a delicate herbaceousness. It's full-boded with a momentary creaminess before the citrus zing and classical pungency of the Sauvignon Blanc grape kicks in and makes the finish last for ages. 14% alc. $37.95. 27Nov2015.

Invivo Marlborough Belle Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (sc) The nose of this lower-alcohol style is not what I was expecting. It has the scent of tropical fruit salad and sweet citrus without SB's tangy varietal punch. Very fruity and tropical to the taste with a slight viscosity to the texture - it seems off-dry to medium in style with a twist of herbaceousness to the tangy finish that's moderately expansive and long. I like it even though it first it seems atypical, but the more I sip the more pungent it becomes. Great summer day wine. Nutrition label on the back states 200KJ/53Cal 100ml with 30% less calories than the 2010 Invivo SB. 9% alc. $19.95. 16Dec2013.

Invivo Marlborough Organic Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (sc) Light gold. Typical grassy herbaceous and zingy fresh fruit aromas with lime and pineapple but there is a chalky aura to the scent too. A restrained style in the palate, not in pungency but in fruit vibrancy - perhaps because of partial oak aging. A layered Sauvignon with of green-coloured fruit interwoven with wet potter's clay and a zesty vibrancy to the finish. Was not excited about this wine - but it is ok. 12.5% alc. $21.90. 16Apr2013.

Jules Taylor Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (sc) Gooseberry on the nose with the fumé character of freshly cut grass. Vibrant and exuberant tasting with tantalising flavours of tropical fruit, pineapple, summer herbs and citrus. Lots going on. A potpourri of everything you want in Sauvignon Blanc. 13% alc. NZIWS Gold Medal review. 10Sep2012.
Straw gold coloured, vibrant aromas of gooseberry, capsicum and cut grass and crisp, fresh flavours of lime, capsicum and tomato stalk and exotic tropical fruit like kiwano (prickly pear). Very steely, yet there is an oily richness, a hint of lemon honey and a fresh tang to the pungent finish. 13% alc. $19.99. 17Oct2012.

Kate Radburnd Bud Burst Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (sc) Light gold with fresh vivacious tropical fruit and summer herb aromas and vibrantly juicy tropical fruit salad flavours – there's pineapple, passionfruit and a healthy squeeze of citrus, just the right amount of sweet and sour, and a long tangy finish. A radiant sauv made from Awatere Valley fruit. 13.5% alc. $15.99. 19Apr2013.

Little Goat Creek Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (sc) Certified organic grapes. Powerful and flavoursome from the get go. There’s candied exotic tropical fruit, a touch of honey and orange, and exuberant gooseberry and passionfruit that builds in flavour on the long, tasty and very pungent finish. Loads of herbaceous flavours too. 13% alc. NZIWS Gold Medal review. 10Sep2012.

Mahi Boundary Farm Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (sc) Immediately funky wild yeast characters emit from the nose and mask any grassy characters – if indeed there are any. A full-bodied, textural, savoury wine that's so atypical from what one expects from Marlborough. With oak in the flinty background and fruit heading towards an apple and melon spectrum, it is more what you would expect from the Loire. 13.5% alc. $27.99. 5Mar2014.

Moncellier Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (sc) Bright and tangy with gooseberry, apple, passionfruit, grapefruit and lime. Very dry in style with a crisp flinty backbone well balanced to the exuberant fruit flavours, and a touch of sweetness emerging as the flavours linger. 13% alc. NZIWS Gold Medal review. 10Sep2012.

Mt Olympus Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (sc) Floral, bubble gum aromatics. A slightly sweeter style of savvie, and seemingly gentle, perfect for those who don’t like something exuberant and aggressive. Floral, a little honeyed, loads of tropical fruit, gooseberry, cut grass and citrus. 13% alc. NZIWS Gold Medal review. 10Sep2012.

Mud House Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (sc) There's a silvery lustre to the hue of this bursting out of the glass Sauv. There's capsicum and gooseberry scents and vibrant tasting juicy tropical fruit flavours, perfectly balanced edgy summer herbs and a lightly oily texture that rounds it out nicely. 13% alc. $14.99. 21Nov2012.

Nautilus Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (sc) Roasted peach and tarragon/basil on the nose and full-bodied and fleshy in the palate with underlying complexity. Rich and savoury with funky nuances and a long juicy finish. Very rounded and complete with a typically vibrant and pungent finish. Lovely wine. I like the way the fruit is subdued without loosing varietal expression. 13% alc. $23.

O:Tu Blend 102 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (sc) There's a lemon chantilly aura to the aroma and initially quite austere in the palate – but opens up with some power with those pungent sweaty methoxypyrazine characters fulling the mouth. Grassy and citrus flavours come through, but overall it seems to lack the punchy fruit weight we are used to. Perhaps it is designed to be a more restrained style. 13% alc. $28.99. 11Feb2013.

O:Tu Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (sc) A bouquet of lemon, apple skin and tropical fruit with a sherbet-like nuance – the sherbet zing more obvious in the palate. There's a touch of sweetness to the wine but overall it seems to lack some weight. I found it short for Sauvignon Blanc and just a little disappointing. 12.4% alc. $23.99. 11Feb2013.

Peter Yealands by Yealands Estate Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (sc) Gooseberry and herb aromas with a fresh cut grass nuance. Quite spicy and zesty in the palate, the crisp fresh acidity brought into check by the vibrant apple, and tropical fruit, especially pineapple, flavours. Juicy and thirst quenching on a hot summer day with classical pungency. 13%. NZIWS Gold Medal review. 10Sep2012.
Straw gold with a bright fresh bouquet of a lush grassy summer together with SB's signature herbaceous zing and the taste so juicy and tangy with a seam of freshly squeezed tangelo and oodles of tropical fruit salad crammed with pineapple, passionfruit and mango. Outrageously impressive and tasty. 13% alc. $12.99. 12Apr2013.

Rapaura Springs Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (sc) Capsicum on the nose yet a sweeter style in the palate with bubble gum, summer herbs, honey, orange zest and lime. Spicy, zesty and long with a fumé nuance on the lasting finish. 13% alc. NZIWS Gold Medal review. 10Sep2012.

Rapaura Springs Marlborough Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (sc) The summer herb, citrus and tropical fruit aromas are fresh, tangy and powerful but in the palate, where gooseberry, grapefruit and capsicum flavours combine, it's seemingly more restrained than the typical flamboyant Marlborough styles. Deliciously juicy and fresh when served chilled. 13% alc. $23.00. 12Jan2013.

Sacred Hill Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (sc) Excitingly zesty and tangy with bold punchy flavours of tropical fruit and gooseberry layered with classical of cut grass, herbs, orange zest and lime. 12% alc. NZIWS Gold Medal review. 10Sep2012.

Saint Clair Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (sc) Classical Saint Clair, rounded and balanced, passionfruit, citrus, honeysuckle, summer herbs, gooseberry and tropical guava combine in a taste ecstasy of delight, leaving behind a juicy, flirtatious memory 13%. NZIWS Gold Medal review. 10Sep2012.

Saint Clair Pioneer Block 3 43 Degrees Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (sc) Passionfruit and green bean aromas and controversial love-it-or-hate-it sweaty like flavours. It’s dry, crisp and flinty with capsicum, bean, pulsating citrus and tropical fruit, and a flamboyant zing and pungency lingering on the end. 13% alc. NZIWS Gold Medal review. 10Sep2012.

Saint Clair Pioneer Block 18 Snap Block Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (sc) Straw gold coloured, powerfully aromatic, bright, fresh, pungent and juicy with capsicum, tomato stalk, tropical guava and gooseberry, and a ripple of citrus zest to balance the concentrated tropical fruit flavours impeccably on the fabulously long finish. 13% alc. $23.99. 3Oct2012.
Now this is vibrantly fresh and aromatic with all those 'in your face' characters you expect from Marlborough. With juicy citrus and ravishing passionfruit flavours, a nice twist of zest, tangy summer herbs and a mouth-watering dry finish, it's a stunning example of how this good variety can be. 13% alc. $23.99. 6Mar2013.

Saint Clair Vicar's Choice Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (sc) Pale in colour with capsicum and bean on the nose, seemingly not too aggressive with an oily textured palate, but in typical savvy fashion there's a pungent explosion of tropical fruit with tangy citrus and a tart gooseberry undercurrent to keep the juicy fresh fruit in check. 13% alc. $13.99. 9Jan2013.

Saint Clair Wairau Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (sc) Lovely pungency and concentration to the aroma and full of mouthwatering flavours. Grapefruit, tangy lemon, cut grass, summer herbs and a sweaty character emerging – it's big, rich and juicy with tropical fruit sweetness to the tantalising finish, this brilliant Sauv is hallmark Saint Clair. 13% $32. 11Feb2013.

Sileni The Straits Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (sc) Aromatic and fresh with a suggestion of pink bubblegum to the bouquet and vibrant, juicy, deliciously quenching flavours. There's a touch of peach joining tropical fruit salad with a lovely twist of citrus and a vivacious summer herb brightness. 13% alc. $17.99. 26Sep2012.

Starborough Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (sc) Apples on the nose. A little grassy in the palate with lemon and capsicum and classical herbaceous pungency on the finish. A delicate hint of anise-like chervil comes through. 13% alc. NZIWS Gold Medal review. 10Sep2012.
Lively and fresh, vibrant and distinctive gooseberry and tropical fruit aromas with joining apple, citrus and capsicum in the palate with classical herbaceous pungency and a delicate hint of anise-like chervil on the lasting finish. 13% alc. $16.99. 19Sep2012.

Summerhouse Monarch Barrel Fermented Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (sc) Medium light gold. There's a sweet, almost hokey-pokey-like nuance to the creamy aroma with an intriguing candied fennel note coming through. Full-bodied, smooth and creamy in the palate with toasty oak from the barrel ferment and fleshy stonefruit and a touch of caramel on the lightly spicy finish. A very luscious, long and satisfying wine, it’s an alternative style with 18 months in seasoned oak. 13% alc. NZIWS Gold Medal Tasting. 8Sep2014.

Te Mania Nelson Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (sc) Dehydrated apple slices, both on the nose and in the palate, with tropical fruit, a zing of grapefruit, gooseberry, a delicate hint of chervil-like anise. Enriching in flavour, becoming bolder and sweeter yet harmonious all the way through. Concentrated with a little bit of a flinty fumé character too. 13% alc. NZIWS Gold Medal review. 10Sep2012.

Te Mata Estate Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (sc) The 'new Woodthorpe', as with all the 'estate' labels, but no longer solely Woodthorpe fruit. There's bean and day lily pods on the nose with some toasty flinty nuances even though the wine is unoaked, the flintiness carrying through to the bone-dry palate. Distinctly sav with green bean, citrus, almost ripe peach and green passionfruit with underlying herbaceousness and a zesty kind of spiciness that's fresh and bright. 13% alc. $19.99. 13Mar2013.

Te Mata Cape Crest Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (D) In contrast to the 'estate' sauv, this has a soft oak impression to the more floral, tropical fruit bouquet and the oak from the 100% barrel ferment is savoury and creamy with a vanilla nougat-like nuances coming through. There's juicy peach and tropical fruit with a splash of passionfruit, a soupcon of pineapple and a exciting youthful freshness with that very appealing oak twirling on the lingering full-bodied finish. 13.5% alc. $27.99. 13Mar2013.

Thornbury Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (sc) Ravishingly fresh and citrussy with salad herbs complementing the green passionfruit scent and a quenching passionfruit, pineapple, pink bubblegum and grapefruit taste. Punchy and tangy with a powerful presence and a long juicy finish that has the fumé character of fresh cut grass. 13% alc. $12.99. 25Jul2012.

Tohu Single Vineyard Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (sc) Juicy tropical fruit and summer herb scents carry through to the exuberant, lively palate that’s filled with citrus and flint. Tantalisingly dry and fresh with classical herbaceous pungency as the flavours linger. 12.5% alc. NZIWS Gold Medal review. 10Sep2012.

Triplebank Awatere Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (sc) Straw coloured with a touch of lemon. Ravishingly scented with exotic tropical fruit, freshly squeezed citrus and grass and a juicy taste that's so full of flavour – there's green passionfruit, fizzy fruit sherbets, grapefruit peel, clay in the background and tangy summer herbs. Intense in flavour yet soft, almost creamy, on the finish. 12.5% alc. $19.99. 15May2013.

Two Rivers of Marlborough Convergence Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (sc) A bouquet of juicy tropical fruit and apples. Quite dry and flinty tasting yet vibrantly juicy and building in power and concentration to a full-on flavoursome finish. Fruit comes from both the Wairau and Awatere Valleys. 13% alc. NZIWS Gold Medal review. 10Sep2012.

Villa Maria Cellar Selection Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (sc) Grassy, flinty, freshly apple skin scents. Juicy fresh flavours with the sweet and sour of citrus, pineapple and capsicum combining in harmony. Blend of Awatere and Wairau Valley fruit. 13.5% alc. NZIWS Gold Medal review. 10Sep2012.

Whitehaven Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (sc) There’s an elderflower nuance to the aroma and flavour with summer herbs like basil and coriander. Spicy and zesty with a chalky texture and a crisp flinty finish, layered with a tropical fruit sweetness. 13% alc. NZIWS Gold Medal review. 10Sep2012.

[2013] [2012][2011] [2010] [2009] [2008] [2007] [2006] [2005] [2004] [2003] [2002] [2001] [2000 and older] [index]

Index to Varietal Tastings
Chardonnay Gewurztraminer
Pinot Gris Sauvignon Blanc Other Whites
Bubblies Sweeties Pinks
Cabernet dominant Merlot dominant Pinotage
Pinot Noir Shiraz Other Reds

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