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Giesen pushes the boundaries with two new style sauvignon blanc
Giesen aims to prove sauvignon blanc is not a one-trick-pony and displays this beautifully with The Brothers and The August 1888 ranges.
Fruit from five outstanding Marlborough vineyard parcels and an unusual touch of oak are the foundations of Giesen’s newest release under the acclaimed ‘The Brothers’ label – the 2010 ‘The Brothers’ Sauvignon Blanc.
Born out of the Giesen boys’ desire to challenge their winemaking skills and put new and innovative techniques to the test, ‘The Brothers’ range boasts a selection of wines that are as distinctive as they are full of elegance and finesse.
According to Giesen co-owner and co-winemaker Marcel Giesen, the potential for an outstanding 2010 sauvignon blanc was identified early in the vineyard.
“While cruising the vineyards in the lead up to harvest we identified a few special pockets of fruit on several sites (including a low yielding vineyard in Dillon's Point) which we handpicked and whole bunch pressed to preserve the purity of flavour and acidity.”
“What really makes this wine interesting is the use of wild yeast and old French oak barrels during fermentation which not only added an extra dimension to the texture, but also an extra layer of complexity to the aroma and flavour.”
The 2010 vintage brings together parcels from five of our outstanding vineyards. The majority of fruit was sourced from two blocks in the Rapaura area. These parcels were machine-harvested and fermented in tank at relatively cool temperatures to preserve the punchy fruit intensity.
A small portion of fruit for this wine (approximately 5% of the total) was sourced from a low yielding vineyard in Dillon's Point. This was hand-picked, whole-bunch pressed and fermented using wild yeast in old French oak barrels. This component contributes an extra dimension to the texture of the wine, as well as adding to the aroma and flavour profile.
Bottled without fining, the 2010 ‘The Brothers’ Sauvignon Blanc offers aromas of sweet tropical fruits like guava, mango and passionfruit, with subtle exotic ginger and jasmine notes. Into that meld dried herbs such as oregano and sage combined with cut grass, snow peas and crushed nettles. A tight phenolic structure surrounds a luscious, succulent, zesty, gooseberry laced palate with a refined, enduring finish. Alc 14%.
The Brothers Sauvignon Blanc 2010
The August 1888 Traditionally Fermented Sauvignon Blanc 2010
In its second vintage of their traditionally fermented sauvignon blanc, The August 1888, reinforces Giesen’s exploration into delivering a more complex sauvignon blanc. The August is not your average easy-drinking, no thought required, sauvignon blanc. In fact it’s more like the thinking-wine-
With the inaugural 2009 vintage, winemakers Marcel Giesen and Andrew Blake set about creating a style of sauvignon blanc which challenged the recent track record of this variety which has become synonymous with Marlborough and for that matter, Giesen.
Tasting Notes and Early Development
Having learned from the first vintage, Andrew Blake believes the 2010 is an even more complex, rich wine. He says every care was taken from the vineyard to the vinification for this wine which will continue to develop for many years.
“With time this wine will evolve in the bottle giving us guidance on how we can adjust our decisions for future vintages. In the meantime it’s a delightfully complex, concentrated sauvignon blanc with a luscious, creamy fruit weight and flavours of mandarin and ripe gooseberry. The palate is well structured with a touch of phenolics and drying acidity ensuring a powerful, assertive wine that could be aged for 10 years or more.”
Learning about the potential for complex sauvignon blanc and its ability to age is part of the journey for Giesen. Giesen has also created several trial wines over the past three vintages, which will not be released. The purpose of this research was specifically to understand the impact of different yeasts, different grapes and different sites. Wines that were made include: 2009 Reserve Sauvignon Blanc; 2010 Wild Yeast Sauvignon Blanc; 2010 Tame Yeast Sauvignon Blanc, 2011 Wild Yeast Sauvignon Blanc and 2011 Tame Yeast Sauvignon Blanc.
Winemaking and Viticulture
To create this wine the winemaking and viticultural teams joined forces to identify aged, low yielding sauvignon blanc vines from three of Marcel’s own vineyards. Two blocks on Matthews Lane and one in the Alma Street vineyard all are on relatively stony soils, which promised moderate vine vigour and in the right vintage, elegant flavour. The vines were pruned to two canes, then after flowering and fruit set, crop level and canopy were managed to improve fruit exposure and promote even ripening.
After months of careful monitoring, the fruit was hand-harvested directly into small picking crates that were palletised and left in a low temperature storeroom overnight to cool the grapes ahead of processing. Harvest tonnages ranged from 5.7 to 8.8 tonnes per hectare.
After a night of cooling, whole bunches were pressed with minimal maceration to optimise the quality of the juice which was run off into tanks before gravity filling the barrels. A selection of French oak barrels from 8% new, through to five year old barrels encased the wine for the following months.
The juice had an indigenous yeast starter added which was prepared in the vineyard to ensure its origin. The ferment took anywhere from three weeks to three months to complete, such is the nature of indigenous ferments. After fermentation, the wine rested on yeast lees for five months with an occasional stir and partial spontaneous malolactic fermentation before blending in early October.
The August 1888 RRP $ 39.90
Harvest: 6 and 8 April 2010
Brix at harvest: 23.6 to 26 Brix
Alcohol: 14 %
TA at harvest: 8.44 to 8.56 g/L
TA in wine: 7.91g/
pH at harvest:
pH in wine: 3.70
Ageing potential: 10 years
There is strength of character and determination about the German-born Giesen brothers Theo, Alex and Marcel, who made the bold leap to make wine in New Zealand in 1981. Over the past 30 years, they have established 700 acres of vineyards in Marlborough’
As is the New Zealand way, Giesen is certified in SWNZ (Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand) practice. However, they have taken it a step further and are converting two vineyards to organics and have recently established an organic vineyard after leaving the land fallow for two vintages before replanting a wholly organic, close planted sauvignon blanc and pinot noir vineyard.
For further information or images, please contact:
Nola James, Dig Marketing Group, P: 03 8606 3700, E: email@example.com
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