Tom Eddy Wines
2007 TENZ Sauvignon Blanc
New Zealand: Marlborough
What We Say
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Mission Codename: A box of Budgies
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Infiltrate Tom Eddy Wines of Napa Valley, and secure an ample quantity of their 2007 New Zealand TENZ Suavignon Blanc
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Tom Eddy Wines
Wine Subject: 2007 TENZ New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc
Winemaker: Tom Eddy
Backgrounder: Sauvignon Blanc, grown all over the world, is most notably known for its great wines from Sancerre in the Loire Valley, France and Marlborough in New Zealand. Those premium Sauvignon Blancs that come from New Zealand are especially prized by those that love fresh and crisp examples of the wine. One wine writer said of New Zealand Sauv Blanc, “New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is like a child who inherits the best of both parents—exotic aromas found in certain Sauvignon Blancs from the New World and the pungency and limy acidity of an Old World Sauvignon Blanc like Sancerre from the Loire Valley”. Today’s wine, made from New Zealand grapes by American winemaker, Tom Eddy, combines brilliant fruit with a depth of California winemaking technique and experience. The result is a wine that is a perfect fusion of multi-hemispheric goodness. Read Agent White’s tasting notes below.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Brilliant straw yellow with just the softest hint of grass-green, with perfect clarity, glittering edges and a speedy, springy surface that, when swirled, leaves behind tight clusters of chubby legs that emerge quickly and then streak down the glass
Smell – Bold intensity, leading off with fresh-mown hay, asparagus, citrus, fig, grapefruit and minerals. These are followed by fresh green mixed herbs
Feel – Round and smooth on the entry, then the wines medium body takes shape on the mid-palate where it grows in complexity and feel as balanced acids and an overall roundness settles on to the tongue
Taste – Bold flavors of lemon and grapefruit lead the charge, softening to allow additional flavors of green herbs, lime, subtle green apple and fresh cut green grass with soft minerals
Finish – Long with with deep flavor complexity that linger with green and yellow flavors
Conclusion – An impressive and robust wine that is not strictly typical of either New Zealand or California. Chalk up this great difference to the unique blending of brilliant Marlborough fruit with the depth of experience and finesse of California winemaker, Tom Eddy. With original flavors and aromas to delight and even challenge your notion of Marlborough Sauv Blanc, this is a great wine to sip and discuss – or simply sip to enjoy! With a balance and acid profile that makes it a food-friendly wine, I also enjoyed sipping it on its own on a hot pre-Summer day. If you love more robust examples Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, then you should find this wine delightful. While certainly fresh and crisp, as one would expect from a Marlborough SB, this wine delivers a little something extra!
WINE SPIES WINEMAKER INTERVIEW
AGENT RED: Greetings, Tom. We are thrilled to be showing your TENZ today. The wine is unique and delicious. All of us here at Wine Spies H.Q. were very impressed with it. Thanks so much for the wine, and for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today. Tell me, first, is it difficult to make a wine in New Zealand and then bring it to the U.S. market?
TOM EDDY: It was a huge struggle…not just to make the wine, bottle it and ship, but all the paperwork that was required for the governmental agencies. It was well worth it though. I may be the only California winemaker doing this. Guess what, I’m now considered a New Zealand Wine Grower!!
RED: You may be the only Californian with that distinction! Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
TOM: I discovered “wine” in high school when I fermented apples in my bedroom closet. And from there, I was blessed that my folks lived in Davis, CA, where I ultimately attended the University of California, Davis, to get my degree in winemaking.
RED: And where did you learn the most about winemaking?
TOM: At UC Davis during the ‘70’s, some of the finest professors in the industry were teaching. I guess it’s no wonder that my graduating class (class of ‘74), along with Fresno State’s, often is accredited for the meteoric rise in California wine quality within the last 35 years. That was the technical part, but most of my winemaking knowledge comes from all these years of practical and professional winemaking experience.
RED: What is your winemaking style or philosophy?
TOM: To make rich, concentrated wines that are elegant, balanced and long-lived. Currently the fad is for over the top, high alcohol red wines that are imbalanced and sweet. Forget it. It’s time to re-educate the public. Take Back the Cab, baby!
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
TOM: I remember having one of those ‘ah ha!” moments early on in my career. A colleague and I decided to have dinner and do a taste off. We each brought a well-known, expensive wine of the agreed upon vintage (1976). At the end of the meal, after talking, laughing and not paying much attention to the wine we were drinking, I noticed his bottle was empty and mine was half full. The result was that I fully understood that wine must be made to be enjoyed with a meal, and regardless of scores or accolades, the wine must taste good! (The wines were Petrus and Heitz).
RED: How long have you been making wine?
TOM: Thirty-five glorious years (not counting school days).
RED: Who do you make wine for?
TOM: I make wine for those who want to experience classic, state of the art fine wine. I guess you could consider me an educator of sorts. I try to use my expertise to deliver the finest example of each wine type I make. I believe the extra time in the barrel (2 years) and in the bottle (another 2 years), before I even release it, makes my Cabernet perfect for the consumer. I do not make wine for the wine reviewer.
RED: Tell me, what makes the Napa Valley so special?
TOM: Napa Valley is unique in the world! Much has to do with the soil and climate. It’s the only place on the globe where 30 of 33 soil series exist (great for most grape varieties), where it has perfect Mediterranean climate (1% of the land surface), it’s beautiful, and it just has all the elements we need to make great wine. Why would anyone want to live any place else?
RED: To me, Napa and Sonoma are my Mecca. What is one piece of advice that you would give to someone that is considering a career as a winemaker?
TOM: Be prepared to work damn hard!
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
TOM: Working on our new estate vineyard to make sure it will produce the best grapes on the planet.
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today
TOM: The TENZ Sauvignon Blanc is the culmination of two goals, making a zesty, tasty SB wine that I enjoy immensely and that I think other folks will feel the same way about, and also to create a special wine from across the ocean which initially presented outrageous challenges and logistical obstacles. I’m always up for a challenge, and this project is so wonderful because I had to research and discover the single vineyard source and I also had to develop a winemaking plan that ended up being novel and exciting. Of course, the “challenge” of the entire project gets my juices going… no pun intended.
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
TOM: I think Sushi, lots of fresh fruit, and even raw vegetables with dipping sauces. The wine really goes with many spicy dishes where the flavors merge and complement. It’s also a superb sipping wine for a warm afternoon.
RED: Please share one thing about yourself that few people know
TOM: I’m a great barbequer but in my younger days, I would start the grilling, leave it to visit my guests, only to come back and find it flaming. My friends called me ‘Napalm Eddy’. I’ve improved since then (laughter).
RED: Nice! What is your favorite ‘everyday’ or table wine?
TOM: During the summer, my wife and I really enjoy drinking the TENZ. I also love dry, Alsatian wine types, especially Dry Gewürztraminers. It’s hard to believe since my main focus is Napa Cabernet!!
RED: How would you recommend that people approach your wines, or wine in general?
TOM: Don’t be swayed by high scores and/or over inflated prices. Find a winemaker whose style you like and just enjoy the wine and think about all the time and love of creation, and hard work that went into each bottle. By the way, I’ve never had a wine I didn’t like when backpacking in the mountains.
RED: Great advice. If you could choose any one wine to drink (regardless of price or availability), what would it be?
TOM: I once had a 1949 Chateau Lafitte. I’d like to do that again.
RED: What is the one question that I should have asked you, and what is your answer to that question?
TOM: You should have asked me what I would be doing if I wasn’t making wine… the answer is that I don’t know!! Wine flows through my veins like blood, I guess.
RED: Some people are just born for it, I guess. Thank you so much for your time, Tom. We learned a lot about you – and about your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans!
TOM: Cheers, and remember, ”if it’s an Eddy, it’s ready!” (laughter again)
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of town of Renwick, in Marlborough, New Zealand, where today’s wine was born, can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
Tom Eddy Wines, Member, Napa Valley Vintners
About This Wine:
Wonderful notes of grapefruit, kiwi, fig, litchi, and hay greet us in the aroma. The classic Marlborough racy green and herbal qualities are kept in check, but linger with solid background complexity. The middle mouth is very round and full, yet is perfectly balanced with the acid on the finish. The wine speaks delicious with mouth-watering flavors of crisp lemon and pink grapefruit. The finish is rich and lingering, and the aftertaste begs for just another sip and swirl.
About TENZ – Tom Eddy New Zealand
TENZ is a winegrowing partnership between the Eddy Family and grower friends in Marlborough, including our primary grape grower Chris Simmonds. The Sauvignon Blanc grapes thrive luxuriously in the cool Marlborough region, near the village of Renwick, just miles from Cloudy Bay. Winters are cold, but moderate summer breezes coupled with occasional rains temper the heat, allowing for fruit flavor concentration, and juicy, mouth-filling zestiness. The New Zealand Sauvignon blancs are classical and unique in their pink grapefruit and racy herbal aromas.
Tom’s goal was to add his own stylistic preference of lightness and drinkability to the fruit forward Kiwi Sauvignon which would complement a wonderful array of food. Careful changes in winemaking and viticulture methods more typical for Napa Valley, but in the New Zealand south island climate, created slight differences in flavor nuances, including lees contact.
About The Winery:
Success in handcrafting wines can only come from using the finest grapes and the best techniques in the artful hands of a skilled winemaker. There are no shortcuts. And when your name is on every bottle, every bottle is your baby. It’s no wonder that quality and attention to detail are our mantras, from the vineyard to the barrel right down to the hand-applied label on the bottle.
Producing less than 1500 cases annually of hillside Cabernet Sauvignon, we strive for elegance, structure and balance to create wines that are approachable now but beg for cellaring. Aging our Cabs two years in French oak plus an additional year in the bottle we believe is an integral part of what makes beautiful wines that are classically balanced and delicious with food.
Making wine has been, and always will be, our passion, our work and our play. But as we dedicate ourselves to quality in our wines, we are acutely cognizant that it’s also about the journey: relationships created, wines shared, concern for our community and the environment; sprinkled with lots of laughter. Our goal is a life well lived, with honesty, humility and integrity, all of which we hope translates into our wine.