Going Wild and Wacky with Greywacke


Smacked bottom time, Simon. Late last year, Kevin Judd sent me five vintages of his Wild Sauvignon Blanc from the Greywacke winery which he established in 2009. He produces a regular Sauvignon and a few other varieties too, but this is his attempt to show that there’s more to Marlborough Savvy than in-yer-face flavour. I thought I’d published my notes on the wines months ago, but for some reason I didn’t…

Anyway, the wines. No, I didn’t sit down and try them blind to work out which was my favourite. I opened them over a series of weekends and (with assistance) drank my way through each bottle, starting with the youngest. My verdicts…

2013 (14%)
Has that spent match, slightly stewed plum, Bramley apple reduction, but really lovely, weighty yet tangy and balanced style – Sauvignon without the shriek. Lovely texture too, not descending into the peapod character that can affect some Sauvignon at this age, and a salty mineral edge to the finish. S(+)

2012 (13.5%)
This feels more than one year older than the 2013. There’s less of the mineral saltiness, and while the rhubarb, apple and stewed gooseberry flavours are still tasty, it’s a little lean and simple in comparison – still tasty, but not of the same class. S-

2011 (14%)
Rich, mealy style, almost Chardonnay-like (good Mâcon in particular), thanks to the buttery malolactic edges and juicy vibrant stewed apple flavours. It feels very ripe and there’s little of the Sauvignon herby character coming through, although that slight sour bite on the finish maybe gives it away, and there’s still a backbone of bracing briny acidity. Again, really lovely wine. S(+)

2010 (14%)
Big, rich and rounded, still has the edge of gooseberry but it’s going a little honeyed and developing an interesting salty edge too. But despite the rich, almost creamy texture, there’s still that herby acidity, and an almost Alsace-like smokiness. Or perhaps not Alsace: is this what Grand Cru Chablis Sauvignon would taste like? S+

2009 (13%)
The most exotic of the line-up, with something almost passionfruit or guava-like in among the more conventional gooseberry and citrus, more of the buttery honeyed notes and even a little smokiness that could be from oak or could be one of those strange smoky/flinty Sauvignon characteristics. Nicely textured and well balanced, and while it’s not the most subtle wine in the line-up (more residual sugar than some of the others?), it’s a darn good drink still. S

So a fascinating line-up. Was this a wine that was better for bottle age or just different? Certainly there didn’t seem to be any awkwardness about the younger vintages, but the 2010 showed just how interesting this became with time. So one to buy by the case and then drink a couple of bottles a year – if you can keep your mitts off it. Thanks Kevin.

(The current vintage, 2014 is widely available for ~£25, but if you can’t find it, the importers Liberty Wines will point you in the right direction)

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