Interesting Marlborough: meeting the Vandals

The three Vandals

Vandal is a micronegociant project based in Marlborough, New Zealand. It began in the 2016 vintage, and it’s a collaboration between three local winemakers who all had kids, and who wanted to get out of the house more. They’d all been making Sauvignon Blanc since they were young, and now wanted to […]

Interesting Marlborough: Clos Henri

Clos Henri is the Marlborough outpost of the Bourgeois family of Sancerre. They first came to New Zealand in 1999 and decided they wanted to make wine here, but rather than take on an existing project they wanted a blank canvas. Their focus was to be Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir, just as in their […]

Interesting Marlborough: Framingham

Framingham is one of the most interesting of Marlborough’s wineries, but they tend to fly under the radar a bit. They are best known for their Rieslings – winemaker Dr Andrew Hedley is a complete Riesling freak – but their other wines are serious, too. Indeed, Riesling is only about 8% of the volume here. […]

Takaki Okada's after-vintage hangi

I landed in New Zealand just in time to catch Takaki Okada’s (Folium Vineyard) after-vintage hangi. For the last few years Takaki has hosted this event. A hangi is a traditional Māori way of cooking, and it involves burying the food in a pit after lighting a fire. A few hours later, the hangi is […]

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: 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 […]

Interesting Marlborough: exploring Gewurztraminer with Spy Valley

Paul Bourgeois, Spy Valley

Spy Valley is a medium-sized winery in Marlborough terms, with 250 hectares of vineyards spread over four sites. The home site is in the Waihopai Valley, and when Bryan and Jan Johnson first began their winery, they were pioneers here, planting most of the vineyard in 1993 and then doing some […]

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 […]