Address: Jacksons Rd., PO Box 376, Blenheim
First Vintage: 1985
2004 CQI: 4.42 out of 5 (19 reviews)-.2
Exported to US: Yes, widely available.
Cloudy Bay is the flagship winery of New Zealand, plain and simple. Starting in the late 80's with its brilliant Sauvignon Blancs, Cloudy Bay by the mid-nineties forever elevated New Zealand from just another country that produces wine to top-rank status in the world market. Lord of the Rings aside, Cloudy Bay is the pilgrimage destination for wine fanatics like that guy on the right. Unfortunately, fame has its price which means that Cloudy Bay is somewhat more costly than other NZ Sauvignon Blancs. Several dollars of that retail price are due to the name on the label.
Cloudy Bay was started and owned by the Cape Mentelle winery in Western Australia. They are both now majority-owned by the French Champagne house Veuve Clicquot. That linkage gives them access to a major distibution system, ensuring that the wides are widely available.
One other comment. The chief winemaker and manager is Kevin Judd. In addition to being a brilliant vinter, Mr. Judd is also an outstanding photographer. He has documented the New Zealand wine scene for Cuisine magazine's Wine Annual and in his book "The Colour of Wine". I am awestruck by the depth of his talent in two different fields.
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