Cloudy Bay – Clear Perfection

1985 was an important year in history, it was the year in which David Lange gave a masterful performance in the widely televised Oxford Union debate, arguing the proposition that ‘nuclear weapons are morally indefensible’, it was the year New Zealand’s first Sci-Fi, Quiet Earth was produced and it was year Madonna launched her first tour. But far more importantly it was the year that New Zealand first produced Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc.

It always inspires me when I meet someone with a real passion for the job that they do. It’s exciting to meet someone that loves their job so much that you’d have to question whether they would really consider what they do as work.


The last time I saw this passion was in a race trainer at Highland Park, an experienced racing driver given the job of instructing us on how throw a Bentley Flying Spur around the race track at break neck speeds – I mean what could be more thrilling than flying round the track in 3 tonnes of motorcar with 500 brake horse power and every imaginable element of luxury you could fit into a $300,000 motor vehicle. The passion that these guys had was immediately apparent in their demeanour and in the glint in their eyes.

I came across this type of passion again recently with two gentlemen from Cloudy Bay Wineries.


-Viticulturist, Jim White and Senior Winemaker, Tim Heath. They weren’t driving Bentleys – which would probably not be a good mix – even when this has to be one of the finest examples of NZ Sauvignon Blancs and one of the world’s finest automobiles.

The best in their field, they both live and breathe their passion for Sauvignon Blanc. Touring the vineyard with Jim we got to experience his incredible depth of understanding what goes into growing the finest Sauvignon grapes and tasting the wines that Tim has then hand crafted from these grapes we began to truly appreciate what it takes to produce a world leader in Sauvignon Blancs. But then these guys need to be the best since they are among a very select group of wineries owned by the Moet Hennessy/Louis Vuitton Group. – LVMH – the home of a large number of the world’s leading luxury brands like Dior, Bvlgari, Dom Pérignon and of course Louis Vuitton.


Learning from these guys gave me a lot greater understanding of the differences that every little detail; right down to the differences in soil within just a few meters, the changing weather patterns, the blending and just a few weeks in the ageing can make. After spending a few hours with them and then ultimately tasting the fruit of their labour, I had a whole new respect for Sauvignon Blancs.

This is a team that are not driven by volume and have only a mandate of perfection. They have been given the scope to produce only the best and they have certainly managed that.


Today (1st of October) is the launch of their 2015 Sauvignon Blanc and marks 30 years from the day the first Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc was produced back in 1985. It is an exciting milestone in more ways than one too, in that this also follows one of the best growing seasons they have had. With one of the driest summers on record they have succeeded in producing a fresh and vibrant 2015 Sauvignon Blanc of exceptional quality “another excellent example of our 30-year history of premium wine’’ says Heath, “The 2015 Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc is intense, concentrated and focused with mouth-watering acidity that gives structure and textural intrigue to the palate, it is a hallmark expression of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.”

Tasting notes for the 2015 vintage are bright, focused citrus aromatics where grapefruit and kaffir lime abound. A silky, concentrated palate reveals ripe, juicy stone fruit and lemongrass, supported by a subtle minerality. Its racy acidity leads toward a mouth-watering, persistent finish, suggesting a Sauvignon Blanc with ageability.