2012 Te Mania Estate Sauvignon Blanc Nelson
 
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Te Mania Estate Vineyards
2011 Vintage Member Reviews:

***** So much for Cloudy Bay!!
Just as good -- maybe better, as CB. I've tried a ton of these and this smokes any New Zealand S.B. at this price point. Glad I bought a case, wish there was more.
-- John from Rosemont, PA

*****
Pure grapefruit, lemon, and cut grass. Springtime in a glass. Delicious.
-- Joe from Alexandria, VA

*****
Very nice all around. Good finish and as dry as I like it. Would purchase again
-- Carl from Knoxville, TN

***** Citrus, Citrus, Citrus
Almost like biting into a grapefruit, with a peach chaser. Very refreshing.
-- Charles from Chicago, IL


So Much for Cloudy Bay

Thousands visit Nelson each year. Situated at the top northwest corner of the South Island, it's the sunniest spot in New Zealand. Some come for the five-day trek through Abel Tasman National Park. Some for Nelson's clear blue coastline -- the kayaking and snorkeling. But we came to Nelson just to see Steve Gill and his amazing Te Mania.

The vast majority of the New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc that makes it stateside is dreck. Drawn from overly fertile vineyards farmed to 7-10 tons per acre, most examples are lackluster and dilute. But the best whites of New Zealand are rarely seen in the U.S. With the dollar still weak, and the Kiwi economy strong, those Kiwi Sauvignon Blancs that give Sancerre a run for its money largely make a beeline for Beijing, Tokyo or Singapore. Otherwise, they're quickly sucked up by the locals. Except for a precious few.

This is one that got away.

If you come to Nelson, get ready to lather on the sunscreen. Summer highs climb into the mid-80s, but it's the nighttime dip that tells much of the Sauvignon Blanc story at Te Mania. "The nights are cold," winemaker Steve Gill told us. "It's that diurnal temperature shift that gives Te Mania its crispness. But it's really the work in the vines that accounts for all the richness."

While most in New Zealand were sucked in by the promise of quick US dollars in the 1990s -- driving production cost down by pushing yields to the max -- Te Mania stuck to its guns. Gill's vines are farmed to just two shoots per plant and just three or four clusters per shoot, following strictest Sancerre protocol. The harvest is done by hand, each bunch gently dropped into small bins, en route to Steve's crusher. The vinification here is long and cool, magnifying extraction and apple/pear concentration -- all that juiciness bracketed by cold night zest.

The 2012 Te Mania Sauvignon Blanc is pale golden in color with piercing mineral aromas of green apple and Anjou pear, lightly laced with anise. The attack is rich, juicy and mouthwatering, filled with apple compote, buttressed by bracing acidity. A strong contender in a top-shelf Sancerre lineup, no more than one or two Kiwi Sauvignons on the US market hold a candle to this brilliant new release from Te Mania.

Last year, we squirreled out 960 bottles of the 2011 Te Mania. That one garnered thirty-three 5-star ratings and a cascade of jaw dropping reviews. The one that put the broadest smiles on our faces came from 'John' in Rosemont, PA. The subject of that review kind of says it all: "So much for Cloudy Bay!!"

With the entire American allocation at just 250 cases, only 72 cases of Steve Gill's brilliant 2012 have been earmarked for WineAccess.

Tasting Notes

2012 Te Mania Estate Sauvignon Blanc Nelson
"Pale golden in color with piercing mineral aromas of green apple and Anjou pear, lightly laced with anise. The attack is rich, juicy and mouthwatering, filled with apple compote, buttressed by bracing acidity. Sancerre-like in weight and structure, with a touch more New World opulence at its core. Drink now for its primary fruit liveliness or age for up to 4 years in a cool cellar."
-- WineAccess Travel Log

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