Nobilo winemaker David Edmonds doesn't hesitate when asked what his biggest challenge is -- "It's letting people know that all Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc are not the same." Because Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand is so popular, many people mistakenly believe there's only one uniform style. Often described as grassy, zesty, and easygoing; that's only one facet of Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand and David is determined to showcase the diversity and elegance of his homeland's most famous wine.
By the age of 15, David was already certain that he wanted to be a winemaker but never imagined that he would hold this position at one of New Zealand's most iconic producers, Nobilo. The Nobilo story begins in 1943 when founder Nikola Nobilo arrived in New Zealand from his native Croatia. Armed with his family's 300 years of winemaking experience, Mr. Nobilo immediately saw the potential for Sauvignon Blanc to thrive in Marlborough's terroir and was truly a pioneer in the region. Nobilo's vineyards are spread throughout the sub-regions of Marlborough, the northeastern corner of New Zealand's South Island. One of New Zealand's sunniest and driest regions, Marlborough's combination of ideal temperature, topography, ocean breezes, and mineral rich soils combine to create a veritable utopia for Sauvignon Blanc grapes.
Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc 2017 ($13)
"Natural acidity is our secret weapon," said David. And he's right. Vivacious and lively acid is the wave that carries the wine's juicy fruit flavors of pineapple, mango, and peach along with a subtle hint of green herbs. The grapes were sourced from Nobilo's vineyards throughout Marlborough. Crisp and refreshing, this charming white wine is a great aperitif. Not just for summer, Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc is a perfect choice when it's cold outside but the indoor heat is blasting and you want something chilled and refreshing!
Nobilo Icon Sauvignon Blanc 2017 ($22)
If you think Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand is just about easygoing zest, Nobilo Icon's elegantly restrained intensity and flinty minerality show the varietal's capacity for sophistication. Nobilo's flagship wine, the grapes for Icon are sourced from three special vineyards in the Marlborough region. David poetically describes Nobilo Icon's aroma as "the smell of thunder on the breeze." On the palate, he describes an "explosion of flavor" -- citrus, tropical, flinty minerality, passionfruit, white flowers, and a tad herbaceous. Nobilo Icon has the structure needed to pair with more substantial seafood dishes like monkfish, steamed mussels, and sautéed prawns.
Nobilo Icon Pinot Noir 2016 ($22)
New Zealand has become one of my favorite regions for Pinot Noir and Nobilo Icon doesn't disappoint. The grapes are sourced exclusively from Nobilo's Castle Cliffs Vineyards in Marlborough's Awatere Valley. The 20-year old Pinot Noir vines produce small grapes with intense flavors and aromas. The wine was barrel aged for 10 months but retains impressive freshness and rich fruit flavors that are enhanced by a hint of warm toast. Exuberant and nuanced with gorgeous dark cherry, blackberry, strawberry, and rhubarb flavors, this wine has the capacity to age very well -- I tasted several older vintages with David and they were still fresh and vibrant after almost ten years. Pair Nobilo Icon Pinot Noir with some lovely New Zealand lamb -- heaven!!! Great recipes and wine pairings are available on the Nobilo website.
With 75 years of winemaking under their belt, vineyards in idyllic Marlborough, and the winemaker's passion for crafting Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir wines that authentically express the character of their special terroir; Nobilo wines are absolutely New Zealand yet display their own distinctive style.