Adding appellations: developing new GIs and why conjunctive labelling is important

I’ve been involved in quite a few discussions of late about developing new appellations (technically, geographic indications [GIs]) in new world countries, particularly New Zealand.

Currently, New Zealand only has regional GIs: Marlborough, Central Otago, Hawke’s Bay and so on. Within each of these regions there are unofficial sub-regions, but these are not officially defined. So [...]

Ata Rangi McCrone Pinot Noir 2006

Ata Rangi is rightly considered to be one of New Zealand’s top Pinot Noir producers. This is a special cuvée that they make from a small portion of the vineyard behind the winery, and the special feature of this plot is that there’s 800 mm of clay above the gravels. This is the debut vintage [...]

Interesting Marlborough: Corofin, with Mike Paterson

Mike Paterson, Corofin, in the Settlement Vineyard

Mike Paterson used to be the winemaker at Jackson Estate, but now he’s making his own wines, along with his wife Anna, under the Corofin label. The idea behind Corofin is to make Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from privileged vineyards in the Southern Valleys of Marlborough, and to [...]

Interesting Marlborough: the Pioneer Block wines from Saint Clair

Back in 1978, in the early days of Marlborough, Neal and Judy Ibbotson planted grapes, and began supplying Montana. Fast forward 16 years and they decided to launch their own winery, Saint Clair, which they began in 1994. The enlisted Matt Thomson to help with winemaking, and he remained consultant winemaker until last year.

Saint Clair [...]

Pink bubbles: Cloudy Bay and Gentle Folk

Two bottles of pink fizz that went down well. The Cloudy Bay was a real surprise: encountered on a couple of occasions and really delicious.

Gentle Folk ‘Pink Fizz’ Pinot Noir Chardonnay Pet Nat 2016 Adelaide Hills. Australia
Powerful and funky. Cloudy pale pink with tangy apple, cherry and raspberry, and some spicy phenolic notes. There’s some [...]

Interesting Marlborough: Fromm, single-vineyard pioneers

Fromm is an important winery for Marlborough, because they were one of the first to champion single vineyards in the region. They are also unusual in that in a white wine-dominated area, their focus is on reds. But they have had to cave into export demand by making a Sauvignon that’s fairly typically Marlborough in [...]

Interesting Marlborough: Mahi, with Brian Bicknell

Brian Bicknell has made wine in the Marlborough region since 1989, so he knows the region pretty well. But he’s also had spells abroad, providing much needed context. Most significantly, he was chief winemaker at Viña Errazuriz in Chile until 1996, when he returned to the region to take the job as senior winemaker at [...]

Novum, an exciting new producer from Marlborough

Will Hoare, Novum

Scratch below the surface and there’s lots of interesting stuff going on in Marlborough. Here’s an example. Will and Rachel Hoare have just launched their new label, Novum, which focuses on Syrah, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay made from interesting sites in Marlborough. Will was previously general manager at Fromm, but he was [...]

Recently drunk: five impressive Kiwi Pinots

While I’m here in New Zealand, as well as tasting wine I’m making an effort to drink some too. The challenge for writers and critics is to be relevant to readers. Most readers open a bottle of wine and drink it. They don’t line up 60-100 bottles in bags and then taste and spit small [...]

A vertical of the single-vineyard wines from Giesen, a forward-thinking Marlborough producer

Matthews Lane Vineyard, Wairau Valley

The next stage in my exploration of interesting developments in Marlborough, New Zealand’s key wine region, was visiting Giesen.

Giesen are a sizeable producer in Marlborough, but over the last few years they have been making smaller quantities of high-end wines from privileged vineyard sites, in addition to their larger volume [...]