Wine of the week: Kiwi sauvignon blanc is back on track

This New Zealand sauvignon blanc is a serious, handsome, angular creation that harks back to the great wine of the Loire Valley.

(Image credit: KEVIN JUDD)

2019 Greywacke, Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand

£22.99, or £19.99 on a mix six deal,; £17.99,; £18.99, or £14.99 each for six or more bottles,; £19.99, reduced to £14.99,; £17.99, reduced to £15.75,

I remember, to this day, the perfume and vivacity of 1987 Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc like it was yesterday. I was working in my very first job in the wine trade and this was the most sought-after bottle in the world, at the time.

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Founding winemaker Kevin Judd made 25 vintages of this pioneering wine, from its inaugural vintage in 1985. Today, he makes wine under his own brand, Greywacke, and it is interesting that, three decades on, this newly released vintage is about a pound cheaper, and an awful lot classier, than that life-changing flavour I tasted back in 1987.

Of course, Marlborough was made up of only a few strips of vines back in the late-1980s, and today it is a carpet of vines from one end to the other, but Kevin has always made keen, chiselled, linear wines with apple skin and cucumber freshness, and this is what I seek in my sauvignon blancs. He never dipped his toe into the floral, bath bomb and fruit-salad-scented wines so beloved of the high street, favouring instead serious, handsome, angular creations that hark back to the great wine of the Loire Valley.

This is, thankfully, where Marlborough is finally heading after years in the tropical-fruit wilderness. If you have been to New Zealand and come back to France, then it is time to have another peek at what is happening in Aotearoa. Kevin has never wavered and this pioneer and his fellow disciples are today steering New Zealand sauvignon blanc back on track.

Matthew Jukes

Matthew Jukes has worked in the UK wine business for well over three decades and during this time has written 14 wine books.  

Matthew regularly lectures, judges, speaks at wine conferences and runs masterclass tastings for both corporate and private clients all over the world. Matthew is also the creator of his ground-breaking initiative, the One Day Wine School, an indulgent day of tasting and learning first performed in 2006.

He has been the MoneyWeek wine correspondent since 2006 and has written a weekly column for the Daily Mail’s Weekend Magazine since 1999. His four highly-acclaimed, annual wine reports – the Burgundy En Primeur Report, the Bordeaux En Primeur Report, the Piemonte Report and the 100 Best Australian Wines – are published on his website,

Matthew is one of the world’s leading experts on Australian wine and, with Brisbane-based wine writer Tyson Stelzer, runs an annual competition in Australia to find ‘The Great Australian Red’.  He was made Honorary Australian of the Year in the UK at the 2012 Australia Day Foundation Gala dinner. 

Matthew is a winner of the International Wine and Spirit Competition's Communicator of the Year Trophy.  His thoughts, recommendations and tastings notes are followed very closely by the wine world at large.