In order to stand out from the pack, a handful of producers are making more complex (and expensive) versions of Sauvignon Blanc. In the vineyard, this means being more selective by reducing yields and hand-picking the fruit-instead of machine-picking, the more common practice. At the winery, it involves the use of wild yeast and/or barrel fermentation, extended lees contact and gentler extractions.
The wines show the extra attention, with more concentration and complexity, as well as richer textures. They also have the ability to age. "We're trying to destroy the myth that Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough has to be consumed immediately," says Ivan Sutherland of Dog Point, which is among the top-scorers this year with its Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough Section 94 2013 (93, $35) and regular Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2014 (92, $22).