Tuesday, March 25, 2008

March 25, 2008. Small NZ Wineries Part 4. Ruby Bay Vineyard

Established in 2002 by Sam and Audrey Watt from what was an apple orchard, this small vineyard makes microscopic amounts of wine. We found this place mainly due to the attractive accommodations but the wines are something of a surprise bonus. The vineyard currently spans over 5 hectares with vine densities of 2600 vines per hectare. The soil here is predominantly clay from the Moutere area. What I would really like to highlight here is their 2007 SV Sauvignon Blanc which is one of the best expressions of New Zealand SB I have had this trip and perhaps the top handful I have had from New Zealand. Ladies and Gentlemen, I'm not going to mince words here - if what you want is a light, tart and aromatic quaffing wine then this is not it. Sometimes, I am convinced that the British wine trade wants to box in New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc as aromatic, tart thin thirst quenchers to serve before the serious wines- bullocks. If that's what people think will sell then it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

This starts with an explosion of intense aromatic fruity & zesty fireworks. It is then followed in the mouth by intensity, density & concentrated nectar with a lingering finish. This has character, guts and strength. The fruit were late picked (by hand) and yielded 2.5 ton/acre (quite amazingly low yields for this grape and the region). 92+ Points

In a tasting of her wines, Audrey Watt put the Sauvignon Blanc last as she was afraid it would dominate if it was first. In most other shops the SB is invariably first to taste. She also told me that the wine judges didn't know what to make of her Sauvignon Blanc - I can see why it's totally out of their comfort zone and hit the ball way outside the park.

Production levels for 2007:

Chardonnay (168 cases).
Pinot Gris (44 cases)
Pinot Noir (100 cases)
Sauvignon Blanc ( 150 cases)
Riesling ( 150 cases)

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