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  • Writer's pictureSalveto Wine

Mokoroa Sauvignon Blanc NZ


Mokoroa Sauvignon Blanc is one of the cornerstones of Salveto Imports’ entire portfolio of, some, 700 wines. Mokoroa is the second label of Puriri Hills. This winery is owned, and run by Judith Fowler, an absolute heavyweight in New Zealand wine. She is a native of Lynchburg, VA and the mother to one of our owners, Gray Mosby.

Judy moved to New Zealand in

her early 50’s, some 25 years ago, and has become the Grande Dame of Kiwi artisan wine. Judy’s Puriri Hills wines are absolutely world class in every sense. The Mokoroa Sauvignon Blanc is the ONLY white wine she makes, and indeed the only wine not from her estate on the North Island in Clevedon.

Mokoroa Sauvignon comes from Awatere Valley, on a hilly, and apparently sustainable vineyard site she selected, and then contracted herself. She never wanted to do a white, her son talked her into it, as it was a no-brainer. Therefore, she said what she did and did not want in the wine’s characteristics, and indeed that is what she gets; balanced grapefruit, balanced grass, soft green pepper, soft poblano pepper, very little gooseberry, a wee bit of passion fruit, decent minerality for NZ. She’s nailed it year after year, and for a retail price around $16, this wine over-delivers.

However, in 2019, she decided to add 6% Viognier. When I heard about this months ago, I was very concerned. “Why,” thought I, “would one deface the perfection that is a good Sauvignon, with that grape?” Why do I have a beef with Viognier? Because it is the McMansion of grapes, the nouveau riche, the gawdy, loud, and thick American in the opera house. What do I love about most Sauvignon? I love that no matter what flavors, aromas, grasses, exotic fruits, animal excrement it might have, the searing acidity keeps it all fresh and moving along nicely.

There are moments when it is almost too gorgeous, too opulent, but just when you start to go there, it pulls back. The acid kicks in, the palate is cleansed, and then before you wonder what just happened, you go back for more, and realize you can keep this up for a while. There are brief moments where a bit of that almost tannic dryness from the Viognier asserts itself, you worry a bit, and then that, too, passes. This wine is now dominated by stone fruits; apricots, ripe peaches of all kinds, and white flowers, then the citrus layer, and something almost like the lovechild of a green melon and a lime, hits in the mid-palate.

- Matty McGuigian Central VA Territory Manager

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