New Zealand does not have a designated national rock, but if one was ever chosen it would have to be greywacke (pron: grey-wacky). This drab grey stone is found everywhere in New Zealand – on the mountains, in the rivers, on the beaches. It consists of layers of hard, muddy grey sandstone alternating with thinner layers of darker mudstone (argillite). Technically the term greywacke refers to the sandstone (wacke is a German name for a type of sandstone), but it is also used as a general term for the entire rock.
Greywacke is the Marlborough wine label of Kevin Judd, and the fulfilment of a long held dream. The name Greywacke was adopted by Kevin and his wife Kimberley for their first Marlborough vineyard located in Rapaura, named in recognition of the high prevalence of rounded greywacke river stones in the soils of the vineyard. Kevin registered the name back in 1993 with the vague notion that he might one day want to use it on a wine label of his own.
Kevin Judd is one of Marlborough’s pioneer winemakers whose career is intrinsically linked with the global profile of New Zealand wine. Kevin was born in England and grew up in Australia, where he studied winemaking at Roseworthy College and first made wine at Reynella in South Australia. He moved to New Zealand in 1983 and joined Selaks Wines. Subsequently, he became the founding winemaker at Cloudy Bay, a pivotal role during which he directed the company’s first 25 vintages. In 2009 he established his own label, Greywacke, named after New Zealand’s prolific bedrock. Alongside winemaking, Kevin has developed a parallel career in photography. For over two decades his evocative images have appeared in countless publications worldwide. His first book was the The Colour of Wine, a photographic essay on the vineyards of Marlborough. His second book The Landscape of New Zealand Wine was published in 2009 to considerable acclaim
Sauvignon Blanc, thanks in large part to Kevin’s huge success at Cloudy Bay, had become synonymous with New Zealand wine. More so than anywhere else in the world, including France. When founding his own wine business, Kevin was keen to demonstrate that there is more to the grape than the commoditised typical Kiwi Savvy widely recognised the world-over, by then. Fast-forward over a decade to today and Kevin, in his second major career impact on the Marlborough Region, has successfully championed a more introverted and complex facet of this grape and has achieved great success with his Wild Sauvignon. Sourced from vines grown on greywacke and clay-loam soils, this wine is made entirely through natural fermentation (lasting up to six months), in old French oak barrels, with regular lease stirring and 2/3 malolactic fermentation. A total departure from the most prevalent cash-cow Sauvignon Blanc, from high-yielding grapes, picked up-ripe, clinically inoculated artificially, fermented in stainless steel and bottled within months of harvest. Kevin’s Wild Sauvignon focuses on flavours and textures which reveal a far less contrived side of the grape and unfold layers of character and flavours unique to the Region’s geology and cool, maritime climate. Aspects which very rarely found their way through the chemistry of commercial winemaking and the sterile filter pads of the high-volume wine express… This wine marks a key new direction in the premumisation of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, in its second generation of international exposure, giving preference to nature and reflecting the serenity of the surest old-hand in the land, in the twilight of his winemaking career. Wild Sauvignon is a wine capable of ageing and of gaining in complexity and appeal over quite a number of years, up to a decade in the good vintages. It is not a wine to be grown, drunk and urinated in the same calendar year -unlike so many commodity Savvies which litter the wine shelves today.