Downes Sanctuary Peak Sauvignon Blanc 2015
This expresses very distinctive and concentrated primary fruit aromas of asparagus, citrus, and some capsicum in a minerally and flinty style. The clay/shale soils however, provide the Sauvignon with flavours on the riper side of the fruit spectrum and with more structure for a broader palate. The blending in of naturally fermented Semillon, matured on the lees, provides a fuller mouth feel and adds to the complexity of the wine. This wine was vinified in a style that enhances the aging potential of Sauvignon Blanc.
90 pts Vinous/Tanzer
(fermented with wild yeasts and aged for three months in new French oak): Bright, light yellow. Pungent pepper and tarragon high notes to the ripe aromas of peach and lemon curd. Plush, velvety and nicely dry, with surprising acidity giving shape to its lemon and fresh herb flavors. Much richer and fatter on entry than some recent vintages, perhaps due to the inclusion of some Sémillon from this warm vintage, but finishes with surprising mineral firmness and lingering notes of grapefruit pith and white pepper. There’s no big hurry to drink this lively blend.
89 pts Robert Parker Jr.’s The Wine Advocate (NM)
The 2015 Sanctuary Peak Sauvignon Blanc has a crisp, fresh Granny Smith apple and nettle-scented bouquet that is nicely defined. The palate is nicely balanced, clean and fresh, and slightly more phenolic than I expected thanks to the 8% Semillon – though that is less than usual due to the quality of the Sauvignon. There is fine delineation on the finish with a dab of ginger on the finish. This comes as recommended.
The grapes are chilled to 3ºC. The bunches are sorted on a conveyor, destemmed and crushed. All transfers of grape must and juice in these early stages are attained using gravity. Selected parcels of the grapes undergo a period of skin contact, at 8ºC to encapture favourable skin flavours. After a gentle pressing, the juice left to settle for a period of 72 hours at 2ºC. Fermentation in stainless steel tanks continues at 12ºC until the wine is dry. The 11% blended Semillon is fermented on natural yeasts and matured for 3 months in 100% new French oak and bâtonnage (lees stirring) practised fortnightly.