Joelle Thomson

Wine writer and award winning wine author

What I am drinking, reading and savouring each week


Wine of the week – Giesen The August Sauvignon Blanc

It’s easy to understand why people question the value of products that cost significantly more than most comparable ones, especially when feeling the post Xmas pinch and other global uncertainties right now. And it’s with just that understanding in mind that I chose to begin this year’s indepth notes about wines on this site. It’s not that my budget is unlimited (far from it) but rather that this Sauvignon Blanc is created with the long term in mind, as much as it is about instant delicious gratification right now. It is the top Sauvignon Blanc from Giesen Wines; a high volume winery which also makes smaller quantities of high quality wines. That’s where The August fits in and at a time when so much is uncertain in global terms, this wine is a reminder of things that matter to us all – family and where we come from. The August is named after the man who inspired the three Giesen brothers to start making their own wine; their late grandfather, August Giesen, whose picture appears on the front label of each bottle of this wine. If it seems slightly unconventional for three German born brothers to move to New Zealand and make their living mostly from Sauvignon Blanc, then this wine pushes the maverick theme even further, which is why it’s my first wine of the week for 2021 – a year that I hope turns out to be a new and improved 12 months than the year that was 2020.

2018 Giesen The August Sauvignon Blanc
Two great Marlborough vineyards were home to the grapes that went into this dry, full bodied and creamy Sauvignon Blanc; Dillon’s Point and Matthew’s Lane are both in the Wairau Valley and home to some of the oldest Sauvignon grapes in the region. All of which were hand picked and whole bunch pressed to preserve fruit purity and retain fresh acidity; 80% of the free run juice was fermented in tanks with the remainder fermented with wild yeasts in used 1000 litre German oak fuder barrels and older French oak barriques. The finished wines were blended and lightly filtered before bottling, without fining. The result is a multi layered, flavoursome Sauvignon that highlights the benefits that older oak can bring to flinty young dry white wines. This is a stunning match with creamy white cheese or roast chicken.

The August drinks well now and can undoubtedly evolve positively for at least another four to five years.