Auntsfield Estate was bought by the Cowley family in the early 1990s when it was still an unplanted cattle farm. However when they researched the property they discovered it had actually produced wine from 1873 through to 1925 which made it the first commercial winery in Marlborough planted some 100 years before anywhere else. They planted blocks of the property with Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir taking real care to select the best plots for each. They now have around 40 hectares planted on fantastic terroir which gives the wine a fine minerality with wonderful texture and definition.
Auntsfield Estate states that its aim Is "to produce a distinctive style of Sauvignon Blanc. The style is aimed towards texture, complexity and length, balancing the typical Marlborough fruit spectrum and aromatics with richness and mouth feel." and once again it has achieved its aim. Like the 2017 vintage, this is a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc but with with extra complexity and minerality than most others. The pungency bursts out of the bottle, intense fruit aromas of passionfruit, gooseberry and canteloupe melon with hints of lime and nectarine.
The aromas are replicated in the flavours - it is leaning towards tropical fruits but they are not at all overripe fruits, much more subtle and the long finish is predominantly gooseberries and lime. The wine has good acidity and will develop further in the next two to three years. It also has a lovely, really rounded mouthfeel.
Recommended with fish, shellfish, chicken, pork and roast ham. It will stand up to richer dishes better than some other white wines.
"COLOUR: Pale straw
AROMA: Intense and pure aromas of fresh passionfruit, ripe melon and lime. Notes of dried herbs, lemongrass, mandarin and blackcurrant add pungency and intensity to the aromatics.
PALATE: Powerful, tight and elegant. This wine displays intense ripe fruit flavours of passionfruit and white peach, with citrus notes of lime and mandarin pith. The palate has intense concentration and generous weight, balanced by an underlying minerality and tight structure to shape a wine with lively tension and textural balance."
90 points / One of Decanter magazine's top New Zealand white wines from 2018
"This is hugely youthful, and at this early stage in its life it's slightly taut aromatically. However, the richer soils of its Southern Valleys location - and the warm 2018 season - have yielded a Sauvignon Blanc with a fuller, more opulent mouthfeel than you'd experience on the alluvial Wairau Valley floor. There are ripe flavours of red apple and pineapple mingled with elderflower, blackcurrant and flint. It’s impeccably balanced, with a flush of mouthwatering acidity on the medium-length finish."
18/20 points Raymond Chan Oct 2018
"... The nose is full and softly voluminous with subtle aromas of passionfruit entwined with hints of nettles and fresh herbs. The aromatics form a fine and intense core. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has soft and elegantly packed flavours of vibrant passion fruit intermixed with fresh herbs, nettles and cut-grass. The fruit is finely concentrated and flows along a very fine-textured line, enlivened by lacy acidity. The flavours are restrained, but the palate has good presence and vinosity, and the wine carries to a lingering, nuanced finish. This is an elegant and softly restrained Sauvignon Blanc with cool-spectrum passionfruit, herb and nettle flavours on a finely concentrated core with fresh acidity."
89 points Wine Enthusiast
"The Southern Valleys subregion of Marlborough tends to house heavier, more clay dominant soils suited to Pinot Noir. This Sauvignon, however, is clearly a happy resident, showcasing a nose full of fruit—pineapple, green apple, melon and lychee—with a soft streak of green in the form of tomato leaf and nettle. It's the palate that sets this wine apart, though, balancing chalky texture with a mouthwatering acidity that glides rather than cuts like a knife on the tongue, make another sip an easy endeavor."