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6 October 2014 News

An article on Dog Point’s “magical  Sauvignon Blanc,” Section 94, appeared in the Australian Financial Review this past weekend. See below for an excerpt, in which James Healy discusses the unique winemaking process for Section 94. The full article can be found here.

“I asked James Healy about Section 94 and he told me: “Section 94 is a block of sauvignon blanc established in 1992 and is named after the original 1800s survey of where the vineyard is planted. That wine is, and has always been, from that vineyard.” Section 94, like the other 150 hectares of Dog Point vineyard, is certified by New Zealand organic farming organisation, Bio-Gro. Healy continues: “Crop level is most important and we manage that at about 7.5 to 8 tons per hectare.” Which is extremely modest yields for sauvignon blanc.

What fascinates me though as much as the quality of the fruit the wine contains is how the wine was “made”, or really “not made”, in this particular case. Healy explains: “Generally (the sauvignon grapes) are pressed straight to barrel without seeing stainless steel. All older Francois Freres barrels, as new oak flavour is not sought, and fermentation is by natural yeast [with] a little battonage (lees stirring) but only three or four times, over time, in-barrel, enough to complete fermentation and retain freshness. It’s in barrel for about 18 months prior to racking and bottling so the initial light pressing is essential for this sort of winemaking. No fining, just a light filtration.” So all pretty simple really, and extremely hands-off.

The surprising thing about tasting this wine in the context of the AWAC tasting this time around is that in many previous years this style of sauvignon blanc has not generally been appreciated. Yet now, with a group of young winemaker tasters, this wild style of sauvignon, has found a much more appreciative audience.”