Tuesday, October 3, 2017


Peter Yealands Sauvignon Blanc was one of a dozen open sample bottles dropped off here a few weeks ago and it turned out to be the best thing in the box.  Most of the wines (including Yealands) were priced in the sweet spot (about $12.99) but that box also included a $65 French Champagne and a $50 centerpiece white from Napa.  While both of those were great, without hesitation the Yealands was the one to buy.

The reviewers say the Yealands should display "passionfruit, guava, fresh herbs, and black currant".  New Zealand typically features gooseberry and citrus in spades in the textbook flavor profile but the Yealands seemed to be more passionfruit and guava-centered with complementary stone fruit and minerality completing the picture.  All considered, this one is a real charmer.

Peter Yealands is the man behind the eponymous label and as we all know, it's always nice to have a story to tell when selling the wine.  With a motto like "Think boldly, tread lightly, and never say it can't be done", Yealands' story is one of naked business ambition while still maintaining ecological concerns at its center.  The Yealands wine endeavor began in 2008 and immediately assured its place in wine industry history by becoming the first winery ever to receive its carbon-zero certification at its onset.

Yealands had purchased his land in 2002, built his winery in '08, and assembled his sales team in '10.  In '11 he merged his winery with Ager Sectus, marketer of The Crossings label, another high quality/low priced Sauvignon Blanc.  In 2012 Yealands won the "Best Sauvignon Blanc in the World"  trophy at the International Wine Challenge and in 2014 he won the New Zealand Wine Producer of the Year at the International Wine and Spirits Competition.  In the 2013 interim he doubled the size of his winery.  Then in 2015 the Marlborough Lines power company acquired an 80% share of the company fundamentally altering Yealands' personal business ambitions.

Also at about this time Yealands ran afoul of the local environmental laws.  "Marc" is the residual skins, stems and pulp left in the fermentation tanks and elsewhere after the wine is drawn off and filtered.  This byproduct could be used to make brandy as they do in Europe or it could be worked into the soil as fertilizer or it can be fed to farm animals.  What the local New Zealand authorities do not want to see is marc running off into streams creating a chemical balance from its high levels of nitrates, sodium, and chlorine and that's what was happening in Marlborough.  An industry-wide problem complicated by the topography of New Zealand, the situation bears a resemblance to the much worse poultry industry problem here in Gainesville with its runoff into Lake Lanier.  In Yealands' case the runoff problem was complicated by his usage of his son's corporate lands for a containment pit which ultimately failed leaving the appearance of a criminal conspiracy.

Please join us this Thursday the 5th of October between 5 and 7pm when Bob Reynolds presents two from Willamette Valley Vineyards of Oregon, Cesari Mara Ripasso Valpolicella, and Baron de Ley Spanish Tempranillo at the weekly tasting.


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