Wither Hills Sauvignon 2007

At work, we’ve just recruited a new Director of Professional Services. Bringing new personnel into a business is always risky. Appointing someone to a key management position is even riskier. Will they fit in to the culture? Do they really have the skills? Do they have the bottle? In short, will they deliver the goods?

In this case, I am more confident than usual because I have known Neil for many years, and have worked with him before. I think he is ideally suited to the role and fully expect him to fit in and start adding value immediately. That’s the thing about good people – they add value immediately. So once you find them, you need to focus on keeping them on your side. Losing a key person to a competitor or, perhaps worse* to leave the industry, is a big threat to any business.

When I last tried Wither Hills (the 2006), I didn’t give it enough attention, although I liked the wine very much. So tonight I am trying the 2007 and hope to make up for that by giving it due consideration. But the first thing I noticed was a minor omission on the label. It no longer says “Brent Marris, winemaker”.

Wither or not to bother?

It seems that there was a cloud hanging over Mr Marris, although having searched the internet extensively, and consulted my lawyer, I can’t find a shred of evidence to support the allegations. Nonetheless, to lose a strategic employee (former owner) must have been a threat to short term quality. As far as I know he stayed to complete the 2007 vintage so who knows? Let’s wait for the 2008 before we pass judgement.

Back to the 2007. Certainly the wine tastes similar to 2006. The overwhelming smell and flavour is of peaches and gooseberries, and surely some grapefruit. At first, that might be considered a bit one dimensional, but the pure zing and spice in the wine kept my interest for a while. Like the 2006, there is a slight burning in the back of the throat after a couple of glasses. Sulphuric acid perhaps? Hardly…. It’s a nice wine! Not the best NZ Sauvignon I have ever tasted but enough for me to have invested in a couple of bottles of The Ned 2007 which is one of Brent Marris’ new projects. I’ll be reviewing that later this year.

So do I recommend the Wither Hills 2007 Sauvignon Blanc? Yes, of course. Whether you take the retail version, or the exhibition sample! 🙂

This wine is currently available from Waitrose for £8.54 or the Wine Society for £7.95.

* I think if someone leaves the industry then they are not enthused…..or more likely, you have failed to enthuse them. Competition is what makes a market and there is room for many competitors, so it is not necessarily the worst thing in the world if an employee leaves for this reason. At least they are putting the skills and experiences they have worked hard for, to the good of mankind (well, maybe not if the business is manufacturing nuclear warheads, or politics).

Leave a Reply