Abstract | Three Rows Sauvignon Blanc 2020

Abstract | Three Rows Sauvignon Blanc 2020
Abstract | Three Rows Sauvignon Blanc 2020
Abstract | Three Rows Sauvignon Blanc 2020
Abstract | Three Rows Sauvignon Blanc 2020
- Dillons Point | Marlborough - Our alternative take on the classic style, our Abstract Sauvignon Blanc is about savoury complexity and seamless texture that we think draws parallels with the best white Bordeaux wines.
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Vineyard: Holdaway Vineyard
Subregion: Dillons Point
Region: Marlborough 
Vintage: 2020
Soil Type: 
Young alluvial silts over sand
Clone: Mass selection
Viticulture: Dry-farmed and regeneratively managed | Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand Certified (SWNZ)
Growers: The Holdaway family 

Appellation Marlborough Wine Certified. 

Winemaker's Notes: 

If classic Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc is all fruit and zing, Abstract exists in another dimension altogether. It’s our ‘Savoury Blanc’, where texture and aromatic complexity bedazzle, and where vineyard and winemaking contribute equally. Just three rows of a dry-farmed parcel are handpicked from the Holdaway Vineyard in Dillons Point. There’s an intense and seductive perfume of blackcurrant and white florals, while winemaking lends savouriness and flinty minerality. Wild fermented in seasoned French oak puncheons and lees-aged for 15 months, this is a wine rich in texture. With elegance and beautiful balance, it is for enjoyment now but will age with grace and dignity.


2020 Vintage:

95 Points - Top Wines of NZ 2023 List "Distinctive, complex, youthful, layered and intriguing bouquet. Aromas of white peach and soft-curve grapefruit pith, white fleshed orchard fruits, a distinctive lees complexity and a whisper of bottle ageing create a harmonious and alluring bouquet. There’s a touch of sage too. On the palate a delicious wine with synergies of texture and flavour, grapefruit and lees, white flowers and black currant, other flavours from barrel ageing and a purity of fruit all build up to a wine of complexity and subtle bottle-development. A wine to watch, a modern expression with a lengthy and intriguing finish. Best drinking from late 2023 through 2029. Outstanding. Cameron Douglas MS

***** 5 STARS "Designed as an ageworthy 'Savoury Blanc', the distinctive, weighty 2020 vintage (5*) was hand-picked in the Holdaway Vineyard, at Dillons Point, and fermented and matured on its yeast lees for 15 months in seasoned French oak puncheons. Bright, light yellow/green, it is full-bodied and complex, with strong, energetic, tropical fruit flavours, a subtle oak influence, balanced acidity and a long, dry finish. Best drinking mid-2024+." Michael Cooper

94 Points - This wine is as much about texture as it is about taste. Bone-dry and mouth-filling with peppery phenolics that offer support while pushing a lingering finish. Quite Sancerre-like with a savoury, stemmy character. Good food wine 27 SEP 2023 Bob Campbell MW 

17 Points (Top Equal Scoring 2020 NZ Sauvignon Blanc) "Intense aromas of Sauvignon Blanc with some reduction: smoky, mineral/flinty, struck match and complex but with no lack of fruit – mostly blackcurrant, fruit and leaf, grapefruit, but also clementine, plus a suggestion of lapsang tea. Full in the mouth, all that lovely smoky flintiness. Firmly textured, deep, immensely fresh and very long. A classic in this style with fruit sweetness on the finish. The effects of reduction fade back to a certain extent on the day after opening to show more fruit. Salty/smoky/flinty aftertaste. Seems to be ageing very slowly, rather like a ripe Bordeaux white than classic NZ Sauvignon. I wonder what a percentage of Sémillon might add? (JH)" Julia Harding MW | JancisRobinson.com April 2024

94 Points - "The 2020 Sauvignon Blanc Abstract Three Rows has a lot to live up to after making quite the impression in 2019. It has certainly not taken a shy and retiring approach. This puncheon-fermented, dry-farmed cuvée is aged on lees for a lengthy 15 months, resulting in a wine that is intense, aromatic and structured. Punchy blackcurrant, nectarine, lemon and almond meal flavors combine with a green-toned edge. While its component parts don't feel united as yet – there's a lot going on here and the fruit seems more overt in this vintage – there's a sense that this will outlive the already-mellowing 2019, such is its youth and force. The 2020 is impressive but a little edgy right now. Rebecca Gibb MW - Vinous April 2024

2019 Vintage: 

96 Points - Top NZ Sauvignon Blanc "The 2019 Sauvignon Blanc Abstract Three Rows is a pure and sophisticated wine from, true to its name, three rows of a dry farmed parcel. It is bright and tangy yet savory. The fruit is pure and delicate, like a cloud. It is transparent and yet expansive in the mouth, having no heaviness. Light honey, nectarine, musky boxwood and oatmeal flavours abound with a light creamy character. Sensitive Sauvignon." Rebecca Gibb MW - Vinous April 2023

95 Points - "From the Dillons Point sub-region. Fermented and aged for 14 months in five-year-old French oak puncheons. This wine stands out in a crowd ... of sauvignons. For a start it has a rich, mouth-filling texture and real depth of fruit with a mouth-watering savouriness. Don't quaff it, savour it. This is serious sauvignon 22/6/2022" Bob Campbell MW 

95 Points 'Outstanding' - "Complex and new, modern and enticing bouquet of lemon curd and lees spices, fresh peach and quince, there’s a natural soil smoky quality with a fine dried herb and natural varietal lift. Delicious with flavours of yellow apple and lemon, quince and peach stone, an orange barley sugar quality with mineral and floral herb tones. Acidity and soft saline qualities add crunch and texture while the core fruit flavours fill the mid palate and add lengthy as well as complexity. Delicious, fresh and complex. Best drinking from 2022 through 2029." Cameron Douglas MS, July 2022. 

5 Stars "The distinctive, delicious, very harmonious 2019 vintage (5*) was designed to be a 'cellar-worthy' and 'savoury' Sauvignon Blanc. Hand-harvested in the Holdaway Vineyard, at Dillons Point, it was fermented and lees-aged for over a year in seasoned French oak puncheons. Bright, light lemon/green, it is mouthfilling, with fresh, rich, tropical fruit flavours, nutty notes adding complexity, and a finely textured, long finish. Drink now or cellar." Michael Cooper, August 2022. 

17 Points "Sleek and fresh and great balance with just a tiny coconut note. Really interesting wine!" Jancis Robinson MW, 14 February 2023 

17 Points "Subtle flinty notes, creamy, savoury, but no lack of fruit – it's just that the fruit is not the diva here. Lovely depth of citrus and blackcurrant leaf. Bone dry (hurray!), deeply textured, intense and mouth-wateringly fresh with a marked saltiness on the finish. Ageing well and slowly – the age is showing in a slight cedary character not in SB's often rather unpleasant sweetcorn phase. This has complexity, no excess, but masses of personality. At last, a bone-dry Sauvignon." Julia Harding MW, 7 February 2023

2018 Vintage: 

18 Points (#1 NZ Sauvignon Blanc 2018) - "If the Holdaway Sauvignon was all about the fruit, with a little bit of winemaking, this is more about the winemaking but could not be built like this without that same fruit quality and intensity – as it opens there’s blackcurrant leaf and an almost hidden note of tropical fruit and richness. Marked struck-match, smoky, cordite first impression, but not excessive unless you don’t like this style. This is bold, fresh, with the start of some cedary development of bottle age. On the palate, the texture is rounded and deep, filling the mouth but still incredibly fresh. Long, mouth-watering, salty finish, and a promise of more bottle-aged complexity to come. Delicious now but no rush. Classy, complex, distinctive. For lovers of Sauvignon in the style of Dogpoint Section 94." Julia Harding MW JancisRobinson.com  

96 Points - Outstanding "Immediately complex and enticing bouquet with aromas of the variety with a deep core of savoury complexity, lees and barrel ferment derived scents. Aromas of honeysuckle and grapefruit, some tropical fruit, wild flowers, sage and fresh herbs, hay and silty soil minerality. Fantastic on the palate with textures and flavours of complexity, variety, soil and palate tension - with amazing salty acidity, hold, release and finish. What’s not to like! Best drinking upon purchase and through 2028+." Cameron Douglas MS June 2021 

95 Points & Wine of the Week / Top-Rank Wine “Made with 100% wild yeast fermentation in seasoned French oak puncheons followed by maturation in oak for 15 months. The wine retains its capsicum, passionfruit varietal identity that contrasts with nutty, ginger yeast lees character and subtle oyster-shell mineral flavour. A complex wine with a pleasing texture.Bob Campbell MW, Real Review. 04/11/2020

93 Points "The 2018 Sauvignon Blanc Abstract is a structured and pure expression. Only the free-run juice of these dry-farmed grapes is sent to puncheons, where natural fermentation takes place. Compared with the 2017, it's a little more flinty; the high-solids ferment has also imbued an almond meal note to the black currant fruit and grapefruit-like acidity. Ready for drinking, but there's no hurry. I found it also benefited from some aeration, so maybe pop it in a decanter before you get involved." Vinous | Rebecca Gibb MW "Desperately Seeking Sauvignon" March 2022

94 Points "From the Holdaway vineyard in Dillons Point, Marlborough, a Sauvignon Blanc in the fumé style – wild yeast, barrel ferment in seasoned oak – owing much to good white Bordeaux, and lots to like here for an ardent Chardonnay fan.

Pale, translucent lemon-green in the glass, with gorgeous almond, nectarine, pink grapefruit, blackcurrant and elderflower aromas. Mineral, saline and wet-stone, flinty characters precede a fine, taut palate of red apple, guava, greengage and preserved lemon. As much about a delicious savouriness as fruit; it is layered and balanced, whilst retaining a bright freshness and acidity.

Not typical for this varietal, there’s good weight, silken texture and a little toasty oak influence, that adds to the complexity and sets it in the top tier of NZ Sauvignons made in this style. To be a classic varietal, it has to age well, and this seems to have the structure and power to go a good distance. Character and flavour-packed, with a lengthy, drying finish." David Walker-Bell, WineFolio (NZ)

"Crafted from fruit dry-farmed by the Holdaway family in Marlborough’s Dillons Point sub-region, the ‘Abstract’ is about as far-removed from still-life sauvignon blanc as you can get. It’s like Rothko, Kandinsky, Mondrian and Miro all in one. 100% wild yeast fermented in old, French oak and aged for 14 months, it’s scented with bruised lemongrass, marzipan, dandelion and smoked passionfruit, and those characters then wash across the palate leaving a comet’s tail of quartzy, salty, minerality to finish. New Zealand’s newest Master of Wine Sophie Parker-Thomson and her husband Matt Thomson have created a stunning, super-complex sauvignon that screams out for steamed, garlicky Storm Shell clams drizzled with lemon. Drink now – 2026" Yvonne Lorkin (Sept 2021) 

View Tasting Notes - 2020 | 2019201820172016

View the 'Holdaway' Vineyard

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