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Astrolabe Awatere Valley
Sauvignon Blanc

RRP: $30.00

Astrolabe Awatere Valley
Sauvignon Blanc

I have been fascinated by the qualities of the Marlborough sub-regions ever since I arrived as a young winemaker in 1994. I first released my Awatere Valley Sauvignon Blanc in 2005. As my winemaking style has evolved, I have also moved towards an Awatere-dominant blend for my Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.

Most of Marlborough’s sauvignon blanc is planted in the northerly Wairau Valley, and the distinct sub-regional character of the southerly Awatere valley sauvignon blanc may surprise those who are more familiar with the Wairau fruit profile. The smaller Awatere valley was planted later and is distinguished by its clay soils, cooler, windier and drier climate and later harvest. We generally think of the Wairau as having more thiol-driven tropical passionfruit and ripe citrus flavours, while the Awatere is more focused around herbal, leafy methoxypyrazine flavours.

When I put this wine together, I really try to showcase parcels of fruit that I think are uber-Awatere, expressing the essence of the Awatere region. I always blend from Awatere valley vineyards on the north and south of the river to reflect the different soil fertility and flavour these sites contribute. Even though this wine is all about the Awatere, I am trying to show the Awatere as a whole, rather than just a single vineyard site.

The clay in the soils provides a nice mouth-coating texture. It has all those cedar and tobacco notes we get in the Awatere as well as all those green spectrum flavours we get across the board. This wine is a little more mineral than my Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc and a little more singular, because it’s blended from only two or three sites every year. It doesn’t have the vineyard complexity of our Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, but it has a lovely sense of place localised to the Awatere sub-region.

My Awatere Valley Sauvignon Blanc is dry and has an emphasis on aromatic herbs and fresh, green fruits, with a full and lingering mouthfeel, balanced acidity and a savoury, almost saline finish. The winemaking techniques are identical to my Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, and the differences entirely come from site selection and blending.

Simon Waghorn — Winemaker


Pale straw with green highlights.

Focused aromas of jalapeño, nettle, lime zest, lemongrass and fresh herbs.

A linear, pure wine with clean flavours of currants, gooseberry and citrus. Finishes savoury, crisp and dry.

Very enjoyable when young and fresh; will age gracefully with careful cellaring.

Green-lipped mussels, goat’s cheese, tabbouleh, fresh herbs and peppery leaves.


2022 vintage 

92 Points "Outstanding"
"Intense, showcasing fresh-grated ginger, lemongrass and dried lemon thyme on a smooth, plump and juicy frame. Offers notes of dried apricot and toasted green tea, along with a thread of minerality that gains momentum on the finish. Drink now. 500 cases imported."
MaryAnn Worobiec
Wine Spectator

94 Points "Outstanding"
"The 2022 Awatere Valley Sauvignon Blanc hails from (ok, obviously) the Awatere Valley, which is the neighboring valley to the Wairau. Undulating and rocky, this part of Marlborough yields wines of distinct character, and here, that is obvious in the glass. Far from the tropics of the Wairau, the Awatere is more mineral and more austere, and I love this wine for that attribute. With crushed shells, lemon pith and brine, this is leafy, and it’s thrumming with graphite acidity and tension in the phenolic structure. Really quite lovely wine. 13% alcohol, sealed under screw cap. Drink Date: 2023 - 2028." - DEC 23
Erin Larkin
The Wine Advocate


90 Points "Outstanding"
"Aromas of sage, elderflowers, peaches and dragon fruit. Medium-bodied with citrus acidity and silky texture. Poppy seed and jasmine tea on the palate. Fresh. Vegan. Sustainable. Drink now. Screw cap." -  OCT 22
James Suckling

"Showing clearcut Awatere Valley sub-regional characters, the 2022 vintage (5*) is mouthfilling and pungently varietal. Bright, light lemon/green, it is vigorous and youthful, with pure, penetrating, tropical fruit and green capsicum flavours, lees-aging complexity, a minerally streak and a crisp, dry, lingering finish. Best drinking mid-2023+." NOV 22
Michael Cooper
New Zealand Wines: Michael Coopers Buyer’s Guide 


"Creamy-textured sauvignon blanc with gooseberry, lime, lemongrass and fresh asparagus flavours. Quite Sancerre-like with refreshing acidity, good weight and varietal definition with spicy red capsicum characters. Drink 2022 to 2026." OCT 22
Bob Campbell, Master of Wine
The Real Review © The Real Review


"Pungent and savoury, distinctive aromas of the seaside and sand, a mix of apples and grapefruit, fresh herbs and aromatic white spices. Complex, youthful and enticing. Delicious on the palate, dry and savoury, flavours of citrus and apple skin, dried herbs and spice moments. Plenty of acidity and finely textured mouthfeel with a light saline quality. Best drinking from mid to late 2023 through 2027." NOV 22
Cameron Douglas, Master Sommelier

Appellation Marlborough Collection

Sustainably certified SWNZ

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