Dog Point Vineyard
Section 94 Sauvignon Blanc 2015
Section 94 is one of the world’s most distinct wines, and regularly named New Zealand’s greatest Sauvignon Blanc. It’s so tough to place, which is extraordinary given that Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc is one of the most defined and recognizable wine styles in the world. The exotic smoky and spicy flavors mingling with floral and ripe citrus notes, textural roundness playing against cool and fresh raciness; it’s not about generalities of the grape variety or the region, it’s a very specific wine made to emphasize the qualities of a very special place.
Section 94 is Dog Point’s signature wine, an update on James’ Healy’s Te Koko, the barrel-fermented Sauvignon he created while at Cloudy Bay. The names refers to the singular parcel of old vines where the grapes are sourced. Fruit is hand-picked at low yields (virtually unheard of in New Zealand), green harvested at times (totally crazy), and fermented entirely with native yeasts. The wine sees extended aging in barrel with virtually no intervention. High risk winemaking resulting in high reward individuality.
The single vineyard parcel called Section 94 was planted in 1992. The vineyard is managed to reduce yields, and as is the case with all Dog Point wines, fruit is hand-picked (only 5% of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is hand-picked).
The soils are free draining silty clay loams on the flats of the valley, as these express intense citrus and grapefruit flavors. Dog Point operates under what is called the “Biogro” program, an initiative to promote the production of premium quality wine utilizing environmentally friendly and responsible practices, details of which are further down.
The grapes were whole-cluster pressed, reducing the extraction of vegetative pyrazines and bitter anthocyanins, and fermented (with native yeasts) and aged in older french oak barrels for 18 months. Bottling is without fining.
The 2015 harvest began with an early start on the 3rd March after a warm and dry season, with only half of the usual annual rainfall (310mm). It was a small yielding year due to indifferent weather at flowering, followed by a dry summer, which led to concentrated wines that will age well.
Pale straw in color, with aromas that are vibrant and perfumed, characterized by freshly squeezed citrus and dried herbs. The wine’s juicy palate and fresh acidity upfront is followed by a soft, round texture.
A vibrant, perfumed Sauvignon Blanc characterised by freshly squeezed citrus and dried herbs. Wet flint and gravel notes compliment the primary fruit and illustrate the contribution of indigenous yeast. The wine’s juicy palate and fresh acidity upfront is followed by a soft, round texture. This weight and texture reflects the philosophies of employing low yielding, mature vines growing on the silty-clay loam soils of Marlborough’s Southern Valleys.
Pale Straw in color, with ripe aromas of grapefruit and lemons with overt white floral characters in the forefront. The hint of struck match aromas characteristic of this wine reflect the use of solids during fermentation and ageing, adding a dimension of complexity and interest. The palate displays vibrant, varietal Sauvignon qualities, with citrus, racy fresh acidity and after 18 months of ageing on lees, creamy textures and a toasty, nutty finish. Cellar easily 5 to 7 years.
Certified Organic & Sustainable. All vineyards were converted to organic farming in 2009. 2,000 sheep graze and fertilize in winter; prunings are composted and spread; 25 steer also graze the property.
Suggested Retail Price
James Suckling - "The trademark reductive complexity will surprise the regular sauvignon-blanc drinker and delight those who delve into great white Burgundy. Flinty lemon and grapefruit pith and really fresh, riverstone minerals, the palate has a gently creamy array of lime and green-mango flavors. Super wine.”
Wine Advocate - "The flavors are settling into a comfortable range of stone fruit, melon and pink grapefruit. It's medium to full-bodied, with a rich, almost creamy texture and a long, plush finish."
Other Wines by this Producer
Dog Point's Sauvignon Blanc has become the icon in its category, a stainless steel Sauvignon Blanc that pulsates with energy, expressiveness and complexity that push the boundaries of what you may expect from Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.
Several influential voices in the wine industry believe that in time Chardonnay may prove New Zealand's single highest achievement. All three of the Dog Point wines fermented in barrel are small in production, but the Chardonnay is the smallest, and and times indeed the most dazzling.
Dog Point's renown as a Sauvignon Blanc producers has done nothing to lessen the enthusiasm around their Pinot Noir, today considered one of the finest in New Zealand. What sets their wine apart is the generosity of the structure, which comes off as rich but not sweet, and the complex mingling of fruit and savory notes.