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Unique Sauvignon Blanc release puts NZ winemaker in uncharted territory

Unique Sauvignon Blanc release puts NZ winemaker in uncharted territory

Celebrated New Zealand winemaker, Giesen Group has released its first Uncharted Sauvignon Blanc 2020 in Australia.

A tribute to Marlborough where Giesen has been growing and making wine for over three decades, this wine is crafted to reflect the unique sub-region of the Awatere Valley where it is grown and takes on the area’s individual characters and flavours.

The Uncharted Sauvignon Blanc fruit comes from two blocks in the Awatere Valley carefully selected for their heavier soils – key for showcasing a more defined and intense sub-regional flavour profile.

Each block displayed exceptional Awatere characters – one more tropical with green pineapple flavours while the other quite herbal.

Combining the two results in an aromatic, delicate sauvignon blanc with mouthfeel, notes of fresh herbs, green pineapple and kaffir lime, and subtle salt air characters.

Giesen Uncharted
Giesen Uncharted

Unique harvest

The fruit was harvested in April this year in the midst of a national lockdown, which presented a unique set of challenges for the Giesen team.

Once New Zealand’s wine industry was announced as an ‘essential service’, Giesen was one of the first to implement a raft of measures to ensure continuity in production.

This included splitting the wine production team into day and night shifts, relocating to nearby hotels, and developing completely new processes to adhere to the strict lockdown requirements.

The harvest went ahead under unprecedented safety standards including rigorous social distancing measures and significant additional work by the team.

The story of a vintage

“This will be a harvest and a wine we’ll never forget – overcoming the obstacles of a national lockdown was truly a team effort,” Duncan Shouler, Giesen Group’s newly appointed Chief Winemaker said.

“I’m passionate about producing wine that tells the story of vintage, its variety and the place it was grown and I believe the Uncharted Sauvignon Blanc is a terrific example of this approach.

“We set out to create an expression which lifts those herbal, green elements that famously put Marlborough sauvignon blanc on the map.

These two pockets of fruit in the Awatere Valley together provided that distinctive taste experience that can only come from this particular place, and we wanted to truly capture and elevate this in our Uncharted Sauvignon Blanc.”

Marlborough NZ

Ocean influence

The Awatere Valley lies south-east of the two other sub-regions within the South Island’s Marlborough district.

A slightly cooler, drier and windier location with higher elevation than its neighbours, it stretches inland from the sea and climbs towards the Kaikoura ranges.

Awatere Valley is a region heavily influenced by the ocean, which borders both the northern and eastern edges, with intense sunlight during the day that is cooled by salty ocean breeze in the evening.

“For me, this wine has an effortless charm to it – elegant and has concentration but is also extremely drinkable,” Shouler said.

“It’s lively but not designed to be showy, just a really great example of a sauvignon blanc from this sub-region of Marlborough.”

 “From that first sip, you immediately get a sense of place – Marlborough’s tropical notes and Awatere’s classic herbal characters.

“The elegance and subtle flavours of the wine is really important and what sets it apart from a more tropical and punchy Marlborough sauvignon blanc.”

New release

Aged on lees for four months to create a balanced mouthfeel, five percent of Uncharted Sauvignon Blanc is aged in French Oak and German Fuder barrels.

The Uncharted Sauvignon Blanc comes in a bottle which evokes the natural rugged beauty of Marlborough and is one of the first new releases to feature Giesen’s refreshed branding, including an updated Giesen crest.

The Giesen Uncharted Sauvignon Blanc 2020 is available from mid-February 2021 exclusively from Giesen online for delivery nationally.

RRP A$24.99 ABV 12.5%. The Uncharted range also includes a Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, which will be released in Australia later in 2021.

Tasting Notes

Expect aromas of fresh herbs with green pineapple and kaffir lime, with subtle salt characteristics.

Enjoy crispness on the palate, balanced by richness from the barrel fermented component. Savour the flavours of grilled pineapple with a mineral edge and subtle tomato stalk on the finish.


The fruit for this unique blend is sourced from heavy soil vineyards in the Awatere Valley, a premium sub-region in Marlborough. Awatere Valley is slightly cooler, drier and windier with higher elevation and is know for great minerality and texture.

How it’s made

The Sauvignon Blanc is aged on less for months to build a beautiful mouthful, using stainless steel and five per cent of the blend is aged in a mix of small 300ml French Oak barrels and 1000L German Funder Oak barrels.

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