The wines of Te Pā, Marlborough, New Zealand

An aerial view showing the Wairau Bar, home to Te Pã

The MacDonald family were Maori farmers in the Wairau Bar area. Haysley MacDonald began planting grapes here in 2003, and were a major grower selling to large companies. But since 2011 they have been making their own wines, and production has grown as they’ve […]

Zephyr Wines, Marlborough, New Zealand

Ben Glover

I remember meeting Ben Glover years ago (in 2006), when he was working for Brent Marris at Wither Hills. This is where he established his reputation, and later he developed this as winemaker for Mud House. He left fairly recently and is now busy developing his family business, Zephyr.

The Glover family come from […]

Marlborough, where big can be good: Villa Maria

Villa Maria describe themselves as New Zealand’s most awarded winery. They became this through the clever strategy of making lots of small production high-end wines and then entering all the competitions. Back in 1962 founder George Fistonich entered a couple of his reds in the Royal Easter Show and won second and third prize, so […]

Dinner at Arbour with lovely wines: Felton Road, Vieux Telegraphe, Kumeu River and Quartz Reef

Arbour is widely regarded to be the best fine dining option in the Marlborough region. I visited with friends yesterday evening and we had a really good time. The kitchen here is currently on a roll. We chose the ‘feed me’ option on the menu: you choose 3, 4 or 7 courses and the kitchen […]

Marlborough, where big can be good: Brancott Estate, Deutz and Stoneleigh

The Brancott Estate: view from the tasting room and restaurant

Global drinks giant Pernod Ricard are major players in the New Zealand wine scene, but as this tasting showed, in Marlborough, big can be good. They have a few Marlborough brands. The most famous is Brancott Estate, which used to be Montana. Montana were the […]

Interesting Marlborough: Two Rivers with David Clouston

The Brookby Hill vineyard of Two Rivers

Dave Clouston’s Two Rivers is a great example of a boutique-sized Marlborough winery focusing on making interesting wines from good vineyard sites, while at the same time keeping a savvy commercial hat on. He’s a sole owner and built the business up gradually, starting with no land in […]

Video: the Marlborough wine region, the grower's story

 

Marlborough, New Zealand’s largest wine region, relies heavily on growers. Wine arrived here relatively lately (first vineyard plantings of the modern era were 1973, but things didn’t really get going in earnest until the mid-1980s), and much of the development has involved farming families here planting vineyards, in order to sell grapes to wineries.

I spent […]

Can outsiders help Central Otago Pinot Noir discover itself? A seminar with Ted Lemon, PJ Charteris and François Millet

Paul Pujol, Chair of Central Otago Pinot Noir Celebration 2018

One of the highlights of the Central Otago Pinot Noir Celebration was a seminar focusing on how outside experience with Pinot has had an influence on the region. ‘This room is full of winemakers, most of who are from somewhere else!’ began celebration chair, Paul […]

Adventures in New Zealand's South Island

The stunning Milford Sound, which is actually a fjord

I’m just back from a rather magical few days in the South Island of New Zealand, a trip which took in two wine events (the Hanmer Southern Pinot workshop and Central Otago Pinot Noir Celebration), and some sightseeing. We drove down to Hanmer on the newly […]

Two Hermit Rams: distinctive, natural Pinot Noirs from North Canterbury

Theo Coles makes the wines of Kalex, in Central Otago. But he also has his own brand, Hermit Ram, which is based in North Canterbury. These two Pinot Noirs are both quite different, but are equally compelling.

The first comes from a tiny (1200 vine) close-planted (7000 vines/ha) vineyard in the Waipara Valley. It’s on a […]