Black Estate
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, New Zealand
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. 93/100 (11/14)

Black Estate Chardonnay 2013 Waipara, New Zealand
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)

Black Estate 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)

Black Estate 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)

Black Estate 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, New Zealand
Creamy, fresh and intense with nice savouriness. Textured and slightly nutty. A grown up wine. 91/100 (02/14)

Black Estate Chardonnay 2012 Waipara, New Zealand
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, New Zealand
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, New Zealand
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, New Zealand
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, New Zealand
Supple, bright, fresh and elegant with nice smooth cherry fruit. Stylish and elegant with lovely texture. 92/100 (02/13)

A historical perspective
Physical features
Alan McCorkindale
Black Estate
Bellbird Spring
Pegasus Bay
Bell Hill
Pyramid Valley
Bishops Head
Casa Leopardi
Mount Brown
Muddy Water
Tongue in Groove
Terrace Edge
Waipara Springs
Waipara West
Waipara Hills

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