Visiting Marlborough, New Zealand's largest wine region


So, some more interesting Marlborough. Nautilus, like many Marlborough wineries, has vineyards across the region: four are in the Wairau Valley, but they’ve also got one in the Southern Valleys and one in the Awatere. They also source from six growers. Nautilus, who are family owned, date back to 1985, which is ancient history in Marlborough terms.

I visited Nautilus with winemaker Clive Jones and marketing manager Katy Prescott, who were in good spirits (above). We had a look at the Clay Hills vineyard in the Southern Valleys. Based in the Omaka Valley, as the name suggests, the soils are clay, and are ideal for Pinot Noir. There are 5.5 hectares of mature Pinot here, and it forms a large part of Nautilus’ Pinot.  

Nautilus have specialized in Pinot and in 2000 they opened a new, dedicated gravity flow winery for this variety. They are also fizz specialists, and their sparkling wine has proved very successful.

We also had a look at the oldest vineyard, in Renwick. There’s a lot of work going on here looking at new spacings (narrower than the traditional wide row spacings of the region) as well as new varieties such as Albarino and Gruner Veltliner. In addition, there’s work ongoing trying new vineyard posts.

The traditional CCA (chromated copper arsenate)-treated wooden posts aren’t allowed under organic rules, and so new plantings must have posts made either of stainless steel or plastic-coated timber. Although Nautilus are sustainable rather than organic at the moment, this is a concern.


Nautilus Cuvée Marlborough Brut NV New Zealand
The base here is 2008 with Pinot the dominant variety. It spends 3 months on lees. Very fine, toasty and expressive with fresh fruity characters and some citrus and white peach. An elegant style with nice precision. 90/100

Nautilus Pinot Gris 2012 Marlborough, New Zealand
Fine, fresh, expressive nose. Crisp and citrussy with bright, forward fruit and some sweet apple and pear notes. 88/100

Nautilus Gruner Veltliner 2012 Marlborough, New Zealand
This is the second vintage. Nice fresh apple and citrus with good structure, some chalkiness and a bit of white pepper. Fresh and showing some varietal character. 89/100

Nautilus Sauvignon Blanc 2012 Marlborough, New Zealand
Very fine, fresh and aromatic with citrus, some pith and a hint of green pepper. Lovely textured palate with nice weight and pear, apple and peach fruit, finishing lemony. 90/100

Nautilus Winemaker's Selection Sauvignon Blanc 2012 Marlborough, New Zealand
Refined and precise with grapefruit aromatics. The palate is zippy, complex and alive with nice grapefruit and citrus fruit. Nice purity and freshness. So lively and mineral. 92/100

Nautilus Chardonnay 2011 Marlborough, New Zealand
Complex and taut with minerals, spice and toast, as well as some figgy notes. Nice peach and citrus fruit. Stylish. 91/100

Nautilus Pinot Noir 2010 Marlborough, New Zealand
Pale in colour. Supple, smooth and elegant with styish red cherry and plum fruit. Textured, soft and quite sweet, with a bit of bitter plum bite. Stylish. 93/100

Nautilus Pinot Noir 2007 Marlborough, New Zealand
Fine, expressive cherry and plum fruit. Pure with lovely supple cherry fruit here. This is supple, stylish and pretty elegant. 93/100

Nautilus Four Barriques Pinot Noir 2009 Marlborough, New Zealand
Liqueur-like cherry fruit nose with some fine, herby spiciness and a hint of leather. The palate shows supple, warm fruit. Stylish, bright and with some sweetness, as well as a bit of spicy structure. 92/100 

Nautilus Four Barriques Pinot Noir 2010 Marlborough, New Zealand
Taut, structured and fresh with nice cherry and plum fruit as well as some savoury notes. Nice structure here with some non-fruit complexity. Nice weight and balance: needs time. 93/100

Lawson's Dry Hills
Villa Maria
Staete Landt
Spy Valley
Cloudy Bay
Te Whare Ra
Dog Point

See also:

Gibbston Valley
Chard Farm
Wooing Tree
Folding Hill
Mount Difficulty
Lowburn Ferry
Grasshopper Rock
Doctors Flat
Two Paddocks
Surveyor Thomson

Wines tasted 01/13  
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