Colours for cancer… wine fundraiser from Greywacke

Colours of Marlborough is a series by photographer-winemaker Kevin Judd, who took 31 images on canvas and paper, the cost of which was covered by the Marlborough Cancer Society, which has raised over $25,000 over the past two years from selling these prints.

Wellingtonians can buy a selection of the prints tonight at a dinner at Noble Rot in Cuba Street, Wellington, where Kevin is hosting a dinner and tasting.

Find out more about the Colours of Marlborough images. here:

And onto the wine… the Wild child… Greywacke Wild Sauvignon 

Kevin Judd is a quietly spoken man of foresight. He trademarked the name Greywacke in 1993 when he was still working at Cloudy Bay Wines.  He later trademarked the name Wild Sauvignon, which is the flagship wine for his Greywacke brand – “It’s our interpretation of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc out of left field and it’s a style of wine that I personally think is pretty tasty and I like it myself,” says Kevin, who was in Wellington today to taste through his Wild Sauvignons right back to the start.

The first vintage was 2009 and the current wine is 2015. All of them were pale to medium lemon in colour, sealed with screw caps and built to last. It seems Kevin learnt a thing or three about Sauvignon Blanc when working at Cloudy Bay (he was the first winemaker there and remained at the iconic winery for 25 years, prior to establishing his own brand).

The Greywacke Wild Sauvignon is made from a blend of grapes grown on different vineyards around Marlborough, initially it was 100% Wairau Valley but for the past four years, Kevin has also bought grapes from the Awatere Valley to include in the wine.

How it’s made

The first year it was made was in 2009 and the winemaking has remained consistent to a formula, which Kevin tweaks in response to the years, in terms of the level of and how long it takes to get through malolactic fermentation.

All of the wines are 100% barrel fermented, 100% wild yeast fermented and  about two thirds of the wine goes through malolactic fermentation to soften the acidity. They then spend about 11 months in barrel and remain in tank for another six months where they go through battonage (the French name for stirring the lees – the decomposing yeast cells, which release flavour as they break down in the wine). The oak is mostly old with a maximum of 10% new oak, which adds a slightly detectable note of aroma and flavour, but allows the wine to soften.

The history of wild Sauvignon…

It was James Healy – fellow winemaker at Cloudy Bay – who steered Kevin in the wild yeast fermentation direction when he started in 1991 at Cloudy Bay. “He started pestering me to make some wild yeast fermented Chardonnay and he eventually got under my skin and I agreed to do about eight barrels which I thought it was going to be a write-off, so we put the juice in the barrels and the whole winery stunk of sulphides and I can still remember thinking ‘This is just a waste of time’ but about nine months later we were looking at these barrels and thinking ‘This is quite good’,” says Kevin today.


The wines

2015 Greywacke Wild Sauvignon Marlborough, 14% ABV    4.5 stars

Clean, clear, fresh and pale lemon in colour, intensely citrus on the nose and palate with vibrant lemon zest flavours with a full body and long, succulent, juicy finish. This is an outstanding wine which definitely shines a new light on Sauvignon Blanc.

2014 Greywacke Wild Sauvignon Marlborough 13.5% ABV    4 stars

Clean, pale in colour with a little development in flavour compared to the 2015, which is incredibly vibrant by contrast. The flavours here remain relatively youthful with a hallmark citrus driven, zesty flavour stamp.

2013 Greywacke Wild Sauvignon Marlborough, 14% ABV    4 stars

A warmer vintage has provided riper tropical notes in this wine, which retains intense freshness and high acidity, which is beautifully balanced. The zesty lemon flavours are all present and counter and the finish is long.

2012 Greywacke Wild Sauvignon Marlborough 13.5% ABV – 3.5 stars

This is from a cooler vintage; 2012, and its marked green herb and asparagus flavours are not necessarily the direction that Kevin wants to take the wine in, but it is what it is – a product of a cool vintage. It’s also full bodied, citrusy and long on flavour. This makes it a nostalgic wine for me, thanks to the cool weather conditions that year, the green flavours, the full body; it all reminds me, fondly, of a Marlborough fumé blanc from the 1990s.

2011 Greywacke Wild Sauvignon Marlborough 14% ABV    4 stars

Pale in colour, intense in flavour, with acidity driving the zesty flavours, balancing the creamy notes and full body, adding length of flavour. This is rich, broad, beautiful and lingering. A delicious wine that drinks very well now – would be great with anything salty – and is equally gorgeous on its own. I can see a long life ahead for this wine.

2010 Greywacke Wild Sauvignon Marlborough 14% ABV    4.5 stars

A classic. This is one of Kevin’s favourite vintages and this is an outrageously good Sauvignon Blanc – it’s full bodied, dry, high in acidity so it tastes succulent, juicy, mouthwateringly delicious with a complex combo of flavours ranging from citrusy to tropical. Its finish is long, it drinks beautifully now and has more time to age up its sleeve.

2009 Greywacke Wild Sauvignon Marlborough 13% ABV     3.5 stars

Tropical fruit flavours, full body, high acidity and gorgeous crisp long finish; a very good wine for now but this one has more time up its sleeve too – like them all.


“We do celebrate some vintage variation, as long as there’s a family thread.”

There certainly is a family thread showing through in these wines, which drink beautifully, have more time up their

Author: Joelle Thomson

I am a wine writer, author and educator... first bitten by a big buttery Chardonnay on a dark and stormy night in the 1980s and there was no turning back... Follow my tastings and join some too on this new site.

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