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James Healy and Ivan Sutherland have created their finest Sauvignon Blanc to date in the super premium 2007 Dog Point Vineyard Section 94. Consequently, Dog Point’s flagship Section 94 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc appears on nearly every outstanding restaurant wine list in New Zealand, and if there were enough to go around Section 94 would be known the world over. For starters, this outstanding Sauvignon Blanc offers up a sensual, complex cachet of spring grass, fresh herbs, melon and fig. On the palate the wine is balanced, flavorful, long, and persistent as it combines the savor of its captivating bouquet with hints of tropical fruit flavors, pear, pineapple, gooseberry, and complex mineral tones. Suave and sophisticated, the 2007 Section 94 Sauvignon Blanc ranks among the finest New World Sauvignon Blancs. Moreover, it has the aristocratic charm of the noblest Sancerre and the finest White Graves. Dry, long, layered, and deep, the 2007 Dog Point Section 94 Sauvignon Blanc is the very finest Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc we have ever tasted. Enjoy this super premium offering moderately chilled (40º-45º F).
While it is true that there is more to food and wine pairings than seafood and Sauvignon Blanc, it may be hard to convince New Zealanders of that. Not only is the Sauvignon Blanc produced in that island nation first rate, the seafood is downright superb as well. However, one need not buy an expensive plane ticket to enjoy the 2007 Dog Point Section 94 with the fruits of the sea. Fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and just about anything edible that comes from the sea is sure to be elevated in the presence of Dog Point’s 2007 Section 94 Sauvignon Blanc. Certainly, a bowl of New Zealand Green Tip Mussels are a perennial favorite as are clams and oysters on the half shell. For those who prefer fish, we suggest a simple filet of cod or flounder, baked with white wine, garlic, herbs and mustard. For more adventuresome gourmands, we suggest Spicy Chorizo Mussels, served with garlic bread. Herb crusted shrimp or prawns provide another tasty treat. Section 94 will more than do justice to a lobster dinner, too. For those who eschew seafood, this wonderful Sauvignon Blanc also pairs magnificently with highly charged chicken salads and Indian vegetable specialties, even those with a touch of curry. The 2007 Section 94 Sauvignon Blanc is no wilting flower, so no need to be overly cautious. Enjoy!
James Healy and Ivan Sutherland are the heart and soul of the Dog Point Vineyard. Both helped make Cloudy Bay a household name more than a decade ago when Cloudy Bay was a Marlborough benchmark. They served as winemaker and vineyard manager respectively. They began Dog Point Vineyard to make their own style of wine and establish Dog Point as the non plus ultra of Marlborough And what wines they make! In less than a half dozen vintages, James, Ivan, and their wives Margaret and Wendy have created benchmark Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in addition to the finest New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc we have ever tasted.
Dog Point uses well-established old vines from which yields have been strictly limited. This practice results in an optimal flavor profile in each of the estate’s wines. In addition, only natural yeasts are employed, adding to the complexity of the wines. The results of Dog Point’s meticulous practices are clearly evident in the rich, flavorful, and highly textured products they send to our table.
Dog Point derives its name from the stark hills overlooking Marlborough’s Wairau Valley, where in times past packs of wild dogs would roam and attack the flocks of sheep that grazed on the hills. Dog Point is also home to one of New Zealand’s national treasures, the indigenous “ti kouka” or cabbage tree, whose image graces all of Dog Point’s labels.
Marlborough: New Zealand’s Mythical Land of Vines
Marlborough is situated on the northern tip of New Zealand’s mystical South Island, where it enjoys a unique dry maritime climate. High mountains isolate this enchanted land from the cold alpine interior of the rest of the South Island, while the spectacular Marlborough Sound to the north provides a conduit to the sea as well as the planet’s most majestic view of New Zealand’s North Island as it soars skyward across the swells of Wellington Straits – a sight that ranks as one of the world’s most stunning vistas. Moreover, Marlborough is about as close to viticultural paradise as one can find, especially for Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and increasingly Pinot Noir.
Marlborough’s long, sunny, but not excessively hot growing season provides nearly ideal conditions for grape growing. The average summer daytime temperature hovers between 24° C and 28° C (72° - 80° F) depending upon one’s altitude and proximity to the sea. The air is crystal clear and the light luminous; with nary an overcast day let alone much rain during the long growing season. Cool nights keep acid levels high in the grapes, even as sugar levels rise abruptly. Such conditions lend themselves to an extended growing season and provide slow, even, ripening and extended hang time for the grapes. The result is ripe healthy fruit, with fresh vibrant flavors and the ability to develop subtle complexity over time.
In addition to its superb summer climate, Marlborough also boasts excellent soil for grapes. Most of Marlborough consists of silt and free draining alluvial loams over gravelly sub-soils. In addition, river stones lie scattered throughout Marlborough, remnants of the many rivers that once coursed through the land. These river stones store heat from the warm sunny days and radiate that heat back into the vineyards at night, thereby providing a unique microclimate and terroir, much like that of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Moreover, most Marlborough growers are committed to sustainable agricultural practices in order to preserve the region’s noble terroir. And the French thought they had a monopoly on terroir; we think not!
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