In New Zealand’s largest wine-producing region, surrounded by a sea of Sauvignon Blanc vineyards owned by corporate wineries, Astrolabe stands strong as an independent, family-owned producer of stunning wines. The Waghorn family should be proud of their success: five consecutive vintages of 90+ scores from Wine Spectator earned through perseverance and skill. This wine is made solely from Sauvignon Blanc and comes from growers in Marlborough’s Awatere, Waihopai, Wairau, and Brancott Valleys. The fruit was lightly pressed with minimal skin contact. The clear, cold-settled juice was fermented in stainless steel vats at low temperature allow the powerful fruit flavours to dominate.
This is a stunning example of the modern Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc style. It is impressively balanced with a ripe bouquet of elderflower, gooseberry, and passionfruit. The palate is broad and lush; those elderflower and gooseberry notes are perfectly matched by an almost Loire-like flinty acidity.
“Vibrant, intense and effusive, showing aromas of honeysuckle, lemon verbena and makrut lime that mingle with ruby grapefruit and tangerine notes. The acidity is forward and lip-smacking.”
90 points, Wine Spectator, June 2018
“I first met winemaker Simon Waghorn over a decade ago when I was judging wines in New Zealand. A quietly spoken yet impressive figure, I had yet to come across his wines, so I decided to look them up while on tour – and I was moved by every single bottle. Astrolabe has been […] stealthily infiltrating our palates with measured, mineral-soaked wines. This is not a high street Kiwi savvy. Far from it, because Simon’s wines are all about restraint and composure. This wine does not bash you over the proboscis with a bowl of tropical fruit, nor does it deliver more sugar than a bag of pick ‘n’ mix. This respectful style of Sauvignon Blanc harks back to the old-style, fine wines of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé and it does it with a degree of flair and considerable understanding. The 2016-2017 growing season was relatively warm for Marlborough, with heavy rainfall that increased the size of the grapes. This led to more thiol aromas and minimised methoxypyrazines. In common parlance, this means there is more grapefruit and gooseberry, and less sweat or green pepper notes. Subtle and controlled, with peashoot, citrus and jasmine, this is a stunning wine. My SB-hating neighbour popped by when I was tasting this wine and I poured him a sip – “Glorious” was his very first word!”
Matthew Jukes, Sept 2018
The 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017 vintages have earned 90+ point scores from Wine Spectator.