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The wines of  Cloudy Bay Vineyards, Marlborough, New Zealand

see a more recent review of these wines (January 2007)

Iíve already written at some length about this semi-iconic Marlborough producer (here), so Iíll confine my notes here largely to the wines. An impressive set of wines are made from 60 hectares of estate vineyards surrounding the winery, plus some more vines in the southern foothills. This vineyard area is supplemented by long-term agreements with six Wairau Valley growers. My regular favourites are the full-flavoured Pelorus sparkling wines (both vintage and non-vintage are impressive), the sought-after Sauvignon and the well-made Pinot Noir. I wasnít keen on the Chardonnay this time and I was undecided about the much-lauded Te Koku.

Cloudy Bay Pelorus NV Marlborough
This fizz is made in a distinctive, accessible full flavoured style. Thereís a yeasty, bready richness to the palate, together with a hint of caramel. Very attractive stuff with good balance. Very good/excellent

Cloudy Bay Pelorus Vintage 1996, Marlborough
Pronounced smoky, toasty, bready nose. Thereís a meaty, yeasty edge to the rich, toasty palate. Full flavoured and quite delicious. Very good/excellent

Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2001, Marlborough
50 000 cases are made of this each year, but its so highly sought after in the UK that retailers have to allocate or bundle it. Great intensity on the nose, with lots of trademark grassy, gooseberry character. Not overblown though. The rich, rounded full-flavoured palate is very appealing with lots of flavour and some substance. Very good/excellent

Cloudy Bay Chardonnay 2000, Marlborough
Striking nose: very intense and herbal with some savoury, nutty character. Very unusual palate is intense and concentrated with a bizarrely herbal character. This isnít quite together yet. Very good

Cloudy Bay Te Koku 1999, Marlborough
This partly oak aged Sauvignon Blanc is unusual. Pronounced savoury nose with an intense herbal character and some smokiness. The concentrated, full flavoured herbal palate is savoury and shows tight herbal fruit. Very good+

Cloudy Bay Pinot Noir 2000, Marlborough
Intense, bright cherry fruit on the nose with a savoury edge. Good concentration on the bright juicy palate with some herby, spicy complexity. Quite tight at the moment, but it may develop. Very good/excellent (c. £18)

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