A little more than half a year ago, we were visited by two representatives of Dog Point, Murray Cook and Matthew Sutherland. They are in charge of the winemaking decisions at the winery, and while they are professional at their jobs, they don’t make exaggerated statements.
They placidly respond to any kind of question and are not bothered to admit if they still searching for direction in any subject.
Spending three days with them was an amazing experience. They are nice, laid-back and open-minded, we were happy to get to know them personally. Luckily, we had time for sightseeing in the city, and since they preferred not to use public transport or cars, we walked 10-12 kilometres a day. They enjoyed the ruin bars just as much as the fine dining restaurants. Although, they love wind surfing, diving, climbing and fishing for swordfish, we were primarily interested in their Sauvignon Blanc.
The Dog Point name goes back to the first settlers who reared sheep in New Zealand. The herds were looked after by sheep dogs but with time the strayed, feral dogs grouped in packs and dined off the sheep they originally protected. The bushy, shrubby place from where they headed off hunting was called the Dog Point by the locals.
“Until recently, one of Marlborough’s great advantages had been its predictable weather,” they say. “However, what we’ve experienced in the last five years is that there are a lot more extreme conditions we have to fight with. This is going to be an exciting challenge in the long run.”
Altogether, 2018 is a balanced, calm vintage and from the Sauvignon Blanc’s point of view, it’s outstanding in the wine region. The growing period started with warm and dry weather in the spring and early summer, which gave a beautiful basis for the ripening of the grapes. As a late-ripening variety, Sauvignon Blanc can be a challenge in a cool climate, but in 2018 it ripened perfectly, exactly at the right time, at the end of the harvesting period.
With the basic Sauvignon Blanc, we can also say that it’s made with hand picking, whole bunch pressing, keeping on fine lees, yet still it’s the odd one out in the portfolio because only part of it is spontaneously fermented and it’s 100% tank-made. Those who are looking for the variety’s New Zealand intensity in it will not be disappointed but we can also expect this Sauvignon to show more and more layers in the glass.