Is Greystone the wine to revitalise tired old sauvignon blanc? | Alistair Gibson

Sauvignon Blanc Barrel Fermented nv Greystone
Sauvignon Blanc Barrel Fermented nv Greystone
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It is very rare that I devote this wine column to a single producer but I tasted a range of wines from New Zealand recently that really caught my attention.

New Zealand has become synonymous now – rightly or wrongly –with Marlborough sauvignon, but there is so much more to seek out.

Greystone is situated in the Waipara Valley in North Canterbury and was only founded in 2004. It takes its name from the steep and unique limestone clay hills in the area.

Greystone has managed its 33 hectare vineyard organically, with the aim of making wines that truly express themselves from the unique soils.

While there are other organic wine producers in New Zealand, Greystone is the first organic producer whose entire range I have been able to taste.

Not only are they using biodynamic principles, they are also producing some really interesting wines fermented in the vineyard itself.

If you are growing tired of Marlborough-style sauvignon blanc then Greystone Barrel Fermented Sauvignon Blanc 2018, Waipara (Hermitage Cellars £14.25, waitrosecellar.com £15.99) may well be the wine to revitalise your interest in this grape variety.

It was fermented and then aged in old oak barrels for a further seven months leading to a very unique style of wine for New Zealand.

The nose shows plenty of ripe citrus, pear and stone fruit along with some beeswax notes from the oak, the palate has more stone fruit along with crisp acidity and a lovely creamy, textured feel before a long finish.

This is fascinating wine, with more than a nod to white Bordeaux.

Try this with scallops or smoked fish but it would also work with chicken in a cream sauce.

Greystone produce an amazing pinot noir that is actually fermented in the vineyard amongst the vines themselves, which is one of the most compelling and interesting wines I’ve ever tasted but sadly it is made in only minuscule quantities (Hermitage Cellars £36.95).

Made in larger quantities is Greystone ‘Omihi’ Pinot Noir 2016, Waipara (Hermitage Cellars introductory offer £14.95 before moving onto the 2017 vintage £19.95) which was aged in French oak for 10 months.

The nose shows dark berry fruits, some dried herbs and a little savoury spice, before a medium to full bodied palate with more dark fruits and spice and supple tannins, with a long, very satisfying finish.

This would be perfect with duck breast or a seasonal pheasant casserole.

There is no doubt in my mind that Greystone is one of New Zealand’s most exciting producers, but don’t just take my word for it.

The winery has now twice won Decanter Wine Magazine trophies for Best Pinot Noir, as well as earning the ranking of Top New Zealand Chardonnay in 2018.

More recently, Greystone was Raymond Chan’s 2018 Winery of the Year and winemaker, Dom Maxwell, was named 2018 New Zealand Winemaker of the Year by Gourmet Traveller Wine.

All fairly impressive for a relatively young wine company and I am delighted that Dom Maxwell is joining me to host a dinner and tasting of his wines Wednesday, November 13 at 36 on the Quay,  in Emsworth.

For further details call 01243 375592.