North Canterbury/Waipara Valley: a series on one of New Zealand's most interesting
wine regions, part 4
Black Estate was originally founded in
1993, when restaurateur Russell Black planted an 8 hectare Pinot
Noir/Chardonnay vineyard in Omihi, with assistance from Danny
Schuster. The estate was purchased in 2007 by the current owners,
the Naish family, and 2008 was the first vintage of the new regime.
The vineyard holdings have since grown to 24 hectares, across three
vineyard sites: the original estate, Netherwood and Damsteep.
Winemaker is Nicholas Brown (married to Pen Naish, who is general
manager), formerly with Danny Schuster.
Pen and Nick
All vineyards are now formed organically,
and winemaking is pretty natural, with just some SO2 additions at
bottling. Ferments are with native yeasts only. The winery, tasting
room, restaurant and Pen and Nick’s home are all combined in a very
stylish long black barn designed by Richard Naish, who is related to
the owners. Constructed of local pine, its modern lines seem to
blend in well with the landscape.
Black Estate Riesling 2013 Waipara,
12% alcohol. From a 2 hectare hillside vineyard in Omihi, North
Cantebury. Lovely focused wine with tangerine and grapefruit notes.
Dry but not austere with nice texture. There's a crystalline fruits
quality here. Complex, pretty and delicate with perfect balance.
Black Estate Chardonnay 2013 Waipara,
Fresh citrus, grapefruit and pear notes with a hint of herb and
toast character. Delicate yet full flavoured with nice acidity and
just a hint of reductive tension. 92/100 (11/14)
Netherwood Chardonnay 2013 Waipara, New Zealand
13.5% alcohol. From a vineyard planted in 1986. Subtle,
appealing nose of pear with a bit of peach. Hints of nuts and cream.
Very fine, fresh and nicely textured on the palate with pear and
citrus fruit. Tight and expressive. 92/100 (11/14)
Pinot Noir 2012 Waipara, New Zealand
13% alcohol. Perfumed and fresh with sweet black cherries and
some stewed plum notes, as well as a bit of fresh sappiness. The
palate is supple and silky with midweight cherry and plum fruit. An
elegant style with generosity and precision. A lovely wine with a
long future ahead of it. 93/100 (11/14)
Damsteep Pinot Noir 2012 Waipara, New Zealand
13% alcohol. 13 year old vines. There's a sweetness and richness
to this wine with a supple, warm character too the cherry and plum
fruit, with a bit of spicy bite. Showing a lovely combination of
nice texture, ripe silky fruit and hints of spice and undergrowth.
Layered with lovely depth, and a grippy note on the finish. Needs to
resolve a little and then this will be fantastic. 94/100 (11/14)
Black Estate Riesling 2012 Waipara,
Creamy, fresh and intense with nice savouriness. Textured and
slightly nutty. A grown up wine. 91/100 (02/14)
Black Estate Chardonnay 2012 Waipara,
Fine creamy, toasty nose. Nice open, smooth palate with nice
lemony acidity, as well as notes of toast and ripe pears, with some
creaminess. 91/100 (02/14)
Black Estate Pinot Noir 2011 Waipara,
Fresh, textured and fine with lovely subtle herbal notes and
black cherry fruit. There’s a bit of grip on the finish. Nice focus
here. 93/100 (02/14)
Black Estate Spy & Omihi Pinot Noir
2011 Waipara, New Zealand
very lively and focused with lovely purity. Fresh, fine red
cherries plus a lovely open texture. Stylish stuff with some
structure too. 94/100 (02/14)
Black Estate Pinot Noir 2010 Waipara,
Supple, fine and cherryish with nice texture. Very smooth and
ripe with nice depth. Good weight, too. 94/100 (02/13)
Black Estate Pinot Noir 2009 Waipara,
Supple, smooth, pure and silky with nice density and real
elegance. Ripe and structured, too. 93/100 (02/13)
Black Estate Pinot Noir 2008 Waipara,
Supple, bright, fresh and elegant with nice smooth cherry fruit.
Stylish and elegant with lovely texture. 92/100 (02/13)
CANTERBURY WINE REGION
A historical perspective
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