Last night we enjoyed a Marlborough Masterclass at Bacco. Kevin Judd was the winemaker at Cloudy Bay throughout its ascent to fame, and has since set up Greywacke, and our mission was to compare, contrast and potentially choose between the wines of these two estates.
After a glass of Pelorus (Cloudy Bay’s fizz) we commenced our tasting with two Sauvignon Blancs, the iconic Cloudy Bay and a Greywacke from the same 2016 vintage. Very different styles – Cloudy Bay was altogether the bigger wine – pungent aromas of passion fruit, gooseberry, herbaceous and grass, and a palate to match. The Greywacke was by comparison much more restrained, with a more minerally nose and softer palate – that suggested a better experience with food.
These were followed by two more Sauvignon Blancs, this time fermented naturally from wild yeasts, in large barrels. Both were creamier and rather more characterful, though a couple of years’ bottle age may have helped. The Cloudy Bay Te Koko 2013 was very attractive, but again the Greywacke 2014 was rather more austere and food oriented.
With these wines and a 2015 Greywacke Pinot Gris we enjoyed Bacco’s aubergine tortilla and burrata, the Pinot Gris’s oiliness and residual sugar providing the best match.
Chardonnay was next. 2014 Cloudy Bay met 2013 Greywacke, both were fermented and aged in barrel and both were super – the Cloudy Bay was austere and restrained compared to the Sauvignons, and I thought it was lovely on the palate, a great balance of creaminess and acidity. The Greywacke had much more overt oak and felt very Burgundian.
Our last comparison was of two 2014 Pinot Noirs, which we thoroughly enjoyed with pan roasted pork chop. The Cloudy Bay had a lovely balanced elegant fragrant palate, while the Greywacke was much more robust, with more tannin, suggesting greater ageing potential.
While Tim had been at great pains to stress that this was not a competition, for the majority of the people in the room the Greywacke won hands down, preferred by a significant margin at each pairing. Most of the Greywacke wines were lower priced, perhaps because it lacks the Cloudy Bay marketing machine.
The evening concluded with two Greywacke lines – a 2014 Riesling which rather overpowered the taleggio we ate with it, and a botrytis affected 2013 Pinot Gris which was fresh, sweet and a lovely accompaniment to the fruit tarte.
A great evening, confirming the fantastic quality of wines from Marlborough, and revealing some interesting contrasts!