Perched high in the hills overlooking Marlborough's Awatere Valley, Loveblock feels a world away from the agricultural hustle & bustle below. Kim and Erica Crawford acquired this wild and untamed patch of land in 2004 and have turned their organic Loveblock farm into a haven of biodiversity. It is here they make a Sauvignon Blanc of constrained elegance and an emphasis on texture. Meanwhile in Central Otago, Kim and Erica farm five different clones of Pinot Noir on their 9-hectare Someone's Darling vineyard, planted on sand over schist close to Bendigo, in the warmer climes of this most southerly wine region.
Their Tee Sauvignon Blanc is pretty revolutionary. Here's the story. For the first time in 2018, a small parcel of vines on the Woolshed vineyard on Loveblock farm was selected for a winemaking trial whereby green tea extract replaced sulphur dioxide as a preservative (in tiny quantities, about a teaspoon per 13,000 litres, this doesn't taste of green tea!). South Africans have been trialling a similar process with rooibos tea. This is therefore a wine that's been stabilised with an antioxidant but zero added sulphites, just the green tea. It's called Tee - Afrikaans for tea - as a nod to Erica's South African heritage.
Like Kim & Erica's more conventional Sauvignon Blanc, this is a cracker. Pale straw colour with hints of green and gold, heady aroma of lemongrass, white peach, orange and citrus, the wine is layered, textured, notes of saffron and fennel and spices, a hint of tannin and lingering minerality.