Selected for the 2020 Fine Wines of New Zealand List
Te Koko is an intriguing style of Sauvignon Blanc that has reached cult status around the world. Produced in very limited quantities this takes the famous Sauvignon Blanc fruit from the Cloudy Bay Vineyards that is gently pressed into mostly old French oak barrels and then left alone to do its thing. A long slow spontaneous fermentation with wild yeasts is followed by a partial malolactic and another year or so in barrel resulting in a very different but beguiling style of Sauvignon Blanc.
Winery notes (2016 Vintage)
"Aromas of grapefruit and white nectarine display a fresh counterpoint to the richer notes of lemon curd and beeswax. Tightly focussed with a taut entry.The finish is an amalgamation of nectarine, glacé fruit and a subtle smoky oak complexity. Floral characters linger in the background."
5 Stars Michael Cooper (2016 Vintage)
"Te Koko o Kupe ('The Oyster Dredge of Kupe') is the original name for Cloudy Bay; it is also the name of the Marlborough winery's intriguing oak-aged Sauvignon Blanc. Highly refined, the 2016 vintage was grown in the Wairau Valley, fermented in French oak barrels (only 8 per cent new, to ensure a subtle oak influence), and matured in wood on its yeast lees for 15 months. Retasted in mid-2020, it is a bright, light yellow/green, fleshy wine, with generous, ripe tropical-fruit flavours, a hint of nutty oak, and excellent complexity and harmony. Rich and savoury, it's delicious now, but also worth cellaring to 2022."
5 Stars & 96/100 Bob Campbell MW, The Real Review, March 2020 (2016 Vintage)
"Four parcels of grapes, whole-bunch pressed, barrel-fermented using wild yeasts, partial malolactic fermentation, 15-18 months on lees. Quite a rich, complex wine with toast, marmite, ginger, nectarine, citrus, lime and struck flint flavours. A good food wine that still retains varietal character and crisp acidity."
5 Stars & 95/100 Toni Paterson, The Real Review, April 2019 (2016 Vintage)
"A beautifully-structured and complex wine with excellent depth and harmony. As with many fine wines, no one flavour dominates. Nuances of fruit, oak, nettles, almonds and spice. I love the expansive flavours and the long grapefruity finish."
93/100 Vinous (2016 Vintage)
"In recent years, Cloudy Bay has curbed its enthusiasm when it comes to making Te Koko, and that's a good thing. New oak has fallen to around 10%, as has the ratio that undergoes malolactic conversion (between 1996 and 2009, this cuvée was 100% mlf). Round and supple, this offers tangy notes of fresh black currant, white flowers, nettles and subtle passion fruit. Balanced yet linear acidity provides length and purpose on the fragrant, drawn-out finish. A couple of years in bottle has allowed the components to harmonize; this is drinking beautifully now but will hold. Drinking window: 2020 – 2025"