Cloudy Bay: Fresh, Vibrant and Lively Wines

Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc
For those who have not been exposed to the wines of New Zealand’s Cloudy Bay, you are missing a real treat, especially for those white wine lovers. Cloudy Bay’s Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay are superb.

Last Thursday, at the time of writing this article, Cloudy Bay enamored Los Angeles with a launch party showing off the 2013 Sauvignon Blanc, which will be released on October 1, 2013. The event took place in the hills of Beverly Hills. The private, secluded setting surrounded by Palm trees offered magnificent views of the Los Angeles skyline, a perfect fit for showcasing the wines, especially the crisp, refreshing whites that seem befitting to a balmy Los Angeles day.

Sauvignon Blanc

In the United States, Cloudy Bay is known for its Sauvignon Blancs, and internationally, this happens to be their most popular wine. After sipping this wine, you will see why this wine is such a hit for Cloudy Bay.

The Sauvignon Blanc displayed a grassy aroma, yet the wine was crisp, and refreshing with flavors of citrus and a hint of spice. I did not detect any grassy aromas, typically in the flavors of a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.  Instead, I found a texture that really made the wine stand out.

The wine ferments primarily in stainless steel, with a small percentage fermenting in old oak barrels at a warmer temperature, giving it a unique flavor, specific to this vintage.

Cloudy Bay also produces a Sauvignon Blanc called Te Koko. The 2010 Te Koko is a fuller and creamier wine compared to the 2013 Sauvignon Blanc. The wine is also oakier. more typical of the Sauvignon Blancs you would find in the Santa Ynez Valley.

Cloudy Bay Te Koko Sauvignon Blanc
Te Koko Sauvignon Blanc


Cloudy Bay also produces Chardonnay and, soon to be released for the first time in the United States.

The 2011 Chardonnay is created in the Burgundian style, which I found very refreshing, with a nice balance of acid and minerality. One immediately tastes citrus, but it gives way to stonefruit. For a Chardonnay, this wine is very complex with an evident texture and body. Winemaker Tim Heath describes the wine as “ fresh and lively.” There is no disagreement from me about Heath’s description.

Pinot Noir

Cloudy Bay offers two Pinot Noirs. The 2011 Pinot Noir is a lighter, more delicate wine. It exudes red and black fruits, especially berries, with a slight hint of pepper on the finish. I consider this wine more feminine in quality. The 2010 Te Wahi delivers a more masculine, fuller-bodied Pinot Noir with hints of dark berries. This wine is more complex, with layers of spice as compared to the 2011 Pinot Noir.

Cloudy Bay Pinot Noir
Cloudy Bay Pinot Noir

Cloudy Bay

One cannot go wrong with any of the wines from Cloudy Bay. Your own palate will decide which wines are your favorites.

Cloudy Bay is an excellent representation of what New Zealand has to offer in wines.

Their website says, “ Naturally vibrant, preciously shared,” which is an accurate statement of what one has to look forward to when sipping the wines from Cloudy Bay.

Note: Common to the wine industry, this writer enjoyed a hosted wine event. While it has not influenced this review, the writer believes in full disclosure.