Stoneleigh Sauvignon Blanc 2013 (Marlborough, NZ)
13%, Screwcap, $20
In the scheme of Australian wine, admitting to liking this large production Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc is akin to signing up as a brand ambassador for Philip Morris. Or becoming the face of a genital warts advertising campaign (‘if it changes colour, see your doctor!’).
It is, according to many Australian producers/critics et al., reputation destroying.
Obviously I’m being dramatic, but the domestic anti Kiwi Sauv Blanc sentiment is rather palpable at present, to the point where anyone who gives a Stoneleigh Sauv Blanc a plug is automatically assumed by fellow wine critics to have sold out (or is clearly drunk at a junket).
Still, if I’m going to be accused of selling out than at least I can be confident I apparently sold out over a well-made wine, for this 2013 Stoneleigh is exactly what you’d want in a $20 Sauv. It smells of classic early noughties (the heyday for this label) Marlborough Sauv, with lifted passionfruit and broadbean aromatics in a supercharged style (some clever aromatic yeasts used here for sure).
That liveliness translates to the palate too, which is slightly sweet (4.8g/L apparently), juicy and driven by typically punchy acidity, a little short and rather tart perhaps but with no shortage of concentration.
Ultimately this is still generic Kiwi Sauv Blanc in style and shape, yet that is ultimately ignoring what is an intensely aromatic, mouth and nosefilling Kiwi Sauv Blanc in its most recognisable form.
Score: 17/20, 90/100
Would I buy it? On a shit pub wine list this could be a shining light.