A long overdue post, my latest wine review is the 2011 Matariki Sauvignon Blanc from Hawkes Bay. I am always excited to try a new bottle, but in this particular case, I was a bit disappointed.
At first glance, this wine is a light golden color with a greenish hue and a hint of brown. It also had a yellow cast from the light. Upon smelling this wine, I was hoping it would taste different. The notes were not characteristic of a NZ Sauv Blanc in any way, with a heavy, earthy nose and slight oak notes. It did not smell crisp, clean or fruit forward as most traditional SB's do.
In my notes, the first word I wrote down after taking the first sip was "Whoa." There was a bite on the tongue, and certainly upheld what was detected on the nose of very non-traditional New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. It was very heavy with a medium finish. I likened it more to chardonnay, very unusual and unexpected, with earthy, oak flavors. I did make a note of hints of apple and caramel with a light toasted flavor.
Overall I unfortunately would say I didn't care for this wine. If I were to look at it as a chardonnay, it was ok, but for roughly $15, I think this particular bottle can be passed up.
A rather sad yet interesting story came out recently (I purchased this wine a month or two before this was released) about Matariki Wines being in receivership. Read more about it here. Reportedly it owes more than $10 million to creditors. Matariki targeted the "super-premium" red wine market, part of the reason I won't let this bad experience ruin my opinion of all Matariki wines. It will be interesting to see what happens to this winery down the line and I hope to taste more of their reds in the future. Cheers!