St. Lukes Estates

2006 Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough

July, 2008
135 Buyers
77+ cases
Sold Out
in 5 days

Customer Feedback
"My experience has made me a skeptic when buying wine from internet locations. Much of what they sell are over-hyped and do not come close to their claims. --The St. Luke's SauvBlanc was a real surprise and matched your unusual claims."
--David of Harrisburg, PA

"Gorgeous pear and melon flavors with a refreshing mineral note that keeps it nice and crisp. Definitely one of the best Sauv Blancs to come out of the overexposed Marlborough region."
--Carolyn of Portland, OR

"The wife's favorites are New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs and she gave it two big thumbs up. Make sure not to serve it too cold though. While it was chilly, the sour apple was a little over powering, but as it came up to temperature and opened up in the glass, everything became perfectly balanced. I highly recommend."
--Jace of Charlotte, NC
Flavor Farming
The 2006 St. Lukes Sauvignon Blanc raised lots of eyebrows last year. We went back to Andrea McBride, who as a child, planted a brilliant vineyard with her uncle, while implementing viticultural practices that they call 'flavor farming.' She came up with 100 cases of the best Kiwi Sauvignon we've tasted in the last 12 months. Why did this Sauvignon Blanc almost steal the show at our cellar tasting in Sancerre a year ago? The answer, as always, lies in the ground. Unlike other New Zealanders, McBride's family 'stress-farms' these grapes, planting to greater density, forcing grapes to compete for nutrients. Roots burrow deeply searching out groundwater. Yields are tiny. Concentration is superb. This is New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc as it should be -- but rarely is.

Why We Chose It
We were in a winemaker's cellar in Sancerre when we first tasted St. Lukes. Ten of us were participating in a blind tasting featuring 15 Sauvignon Blancs, mostly from top producers of Sancerre and Pouilly Fume. The wines were all neatly robed in linen. The glassware was Riedel (big ones). We tried to stay away from the fresh goat cheese, but it was no use. That stuff is just too good with world class Sauvignon Blanc.

Each wine was from the 2006 vintage, an excellent one in the eastern part of the Loire Valley. Lots of rich, sinewed Sauvignon Blanc with terrific minerality and endless length. Each of us made two lists. The first was our guesses as to which wines were from the New World. The second was our ranking, one to fifteen.

We correctly identified two New World ringers (as did most of the other tasters); Cakebread and Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc. Both wines were rich and intense, but they seemed out of place and out of balance compared to others. The composite rankings were as follows:
  1. Didier Dageuneau "Silex" 2006
  2. Domaine de Carrou Sancerre "La Jouline" 2006
  3. Domaine Ricard "?" 2006
  4. St. Lukes Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2006
  5. Domaine Vacheron Sancerre "Les Romains" 2006
(Cloudy Bay finished 8th, Cakebread, 12th).

St. Lukes? -- a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc that not only finished in the top 5, but completely fooled a tasting panel largely made up of Loire Valley winemakers? "Silex" might have finished on top, but St. Lukes was the wine that raised all the eyebrows. We wrote down the name, went online back at the hotel, and found the winery's boutique import arm in LA. After a few hours on the phone with co-owner Andrea McBride, we came to understand why St. Lukes 2006, really a remarkable and ingenious New Zealand experiment, finished #4.

We convinced Andrea to set aside one-fourth of the US allocation of the best New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc of 2006 for Wineaccess Direct customers. Only 100 cases available. Just $24/bottle with free shipping on 6.

St Lukes Label Tasting Notes from the WineAccess Travel Log
2006 St. Lukes Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough
"Pale greenish color. Vibrant aromas of passion fruit and ripe citrus fruits. Wonderful attack on the palate with layers of tightly knit tropical fruit flavors. Excellent length with great crispness and vibrancy. Fine minerality and balance. Just a hint of residual sugar balances firm acidity. Drink now-2010."

Three Tons Per Acre
St. Lukes is drawn from several of the oldest vine parcels from this family-owned Marlborough estate that has fast become one of the most coveted grape sources in New Zealand. Located in Spring Creek, close to the ocean, summer temperatures in this unusual microclimate vary up to 35 degrees per day. Most interesting is the ingenious natural irrigation system conceived of, and implemented by founders Graeme Gilles and Graeme McLean. Pure natural springs slither beneath the topsoil, rising to the surface in different spots. By installing a pump house on the river, a storage dam, and over 30 miles of irrigation pipe, the vineyards are irrigated naturally, with pure water bubbling up to the surface, retained by a layer of mulch spread along the topsoil.

The top wines of Sancerre are farmed to about 4 tons per acre. Most of the New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc imported to the US is farmed to 7 or 8 tons per acre. For St. Lukes, the vines are farmed to just 3 tons per acre (less than most Sancerre), dramatically spiking natural concentration. One low yielding, dry-farmed vineyard site is primarily responsible for the wonderfully vibrant passion fruit and ripe citrus aromas and flavors that distinguish this captivating Sauvignon Blanc.

*Important: Summer Shipping Policy
  • Weather permitting, shipping will begin the last week of September 2008.
  • All sales are final. Your credit card will be charged at the time of purchase to guarantee allocation of the wine.

WineAccess Direct purchases being shipped to CA will include sales tax.

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