There is ordinary New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, good New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, and then New Zealand’s best Sauvignon Blanc: James Healy and Ivan Sutherland’s Dog Point Section 94. Dog Point’s 2012 Section 94 may be the most intense interpretation of the varietal we have ever tasted. In short, there is absolutely no wimp in this wine. No surprise then that Section 94 is Dog Point’s flagship offering. This outstanding Sauvignon Blanc offers up a sensual, complex cachet of spring grass, fresh herbs, melon and fig, along with a heady minerality and plenty of zip. On the palate, the wine comes across as massive, highly flavored, and in your face. It completely fills the senses, before exiting with real power and vibrancy that leave a long, flavorful and persistent finish that lingers long after the wine has disappeared down the thirsty throat. Although bold and beautiful now, Dog Point’s 2012 Section 94 Sauvignon Blanc will continue to improve in bottle for at least another four or five years. We can attest to Dog Point Section 94’s ability to age and improve over time, as the 2007 Section 94 is still drinking beautifully now, with the bottle we recently tasted being the finest to date. Whether consumed in the next few months or several years down the road, we suggest allowing the exceptional 2012 Section 94 Sauvignon Blanc time to breathe (at least ten to fifteen minutes) before serving. Enjoy this super premium Sauvignon Blanc moderately chilled (about 40º F).
Dyed in the wool Sauvignon Blanc aficionados will want to enjoy Dog Point’s 2012 Section 94 all by itself. But why settle for half the pleasure? New Zealanders don’t. Dog Point’s Section 94 makes its appearance at nearly all the top restaurants in New Zealand. Why? New Zealanders love their seafood as well as their Sauvignon Blanc, and in that other land “down under” the two are nearly synonymous. We concur. 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 2012 Section 94 Sauvignon Blanc. Certainly, a bowl of New Zealand Green Tip Mussels are a perennial favorite as are clams and oysters, steamed, roasted or on the half shell. For those who prefer fish, a simple filet of cod or flounder, baked with white wine, garlic, herbs and mustard provides a fine accompaniment. For more adventuresome gourmands, we suggest spicy chorizo mussels, served with garlic bread. Herb crusted shrimp or prawns provide other tasty treats. Section 94 will more than do justice to a lobster dinner, too. For those who eschew seafood, Dog Point’s wonderful Sauvignon Blanc also pairs magnificently with hearty chicken salads and Indian vegetable specialties, even those with a touch of curry. The 2012 Section 94 Sauvignon Blanc is no wilting flower, so no need to worry about it being overpowered. Enjoy!
James Healy and Ivan Sutherland are the heart and soul of the Dog Point Vineyard. Both helped make Cloudy Bay a household name nearly two decades 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 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 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 pretty valleys of Marlborough. 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!
Enjoy Limited Production Estate
Discover limited production estate bottled wines such as Vergenoegd's internationally
acclaimed 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon, imported exclusively for our members.