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 [...]

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 [...]

The wines of Folium, Marlborough, with Takaki Okada

While I’ve been in Marlborough, one of my goals has been to dig a bit deeper under the skin of this, New Zealand’s largest wine region, to find the interesting stories. One of my first stops was a visit with Takaki Okada, who’s making some lovely wines that are a bit different.

Takaki Okada in [...]

Some Kiwi Pinot: Seresin, Astrolabe, Saint Clair, The Elder

I’ve been drinking a fair bit of Kiwi Pinot Noir of late. Here are a few notes of good bottles consumed.

The Elder Pinot Noir 2014 Martinborough, New Zealand
14% alcohol. Supple with lush, textured sweet black cherry fruit and some plum and damson notes. It’s leaning towards richness but also has a nice grainy, stony undercurrent. [...]

New releases from star Marlborough producer Dog Point

Dog Point Vineyard in Marlborough’s Southern Valleys

I tried these new releases from Dog Point, another of the leading wineries in the Marlborough region of New Zealand, where I’m staying for a while. They are such characterful wines. As many readers will already know, Dog Point was started by Ivan and Margaret Sutherland and James [...]

The wines of Te Whare Ra, Marlborough, New Zealand

Anna and Jason Flowery, Te Whare Ra

Last week, I popped into Te Whare Ra to taste the new releases. This is one of the most interesting producers in Marlborough. When the vineyard was originally planted by Joyce and Allen Hogan in 1979, it was pretty early days for the region, and this was the [...]

In New Zealand (for a very long time)

The Awatere Valley, Marlborough

For the last week I have been in New Zealand. It’s my fourth trip here this year, and it will also be my longest ever: I’m staying here until the beginning of February.

Yes, that means I will have my first ever warm Christmas! I’ve never spent Christmas outside the UK before. [...]

Pyramid Valley Vineyards Kerner Estate Vineyard Pinot Blanc 2007

In addition to making their own highly-regarded estate wines, Pyramid Valley have also made a series of negociant bottlings from interesting vineyard sites across New Zealand, and this Pinot Blanc is one of their earlier releases from 2007. Now, at age 10, it is still remarkably youthful and pure, and full of interest.

Pyramid Valley Vineyards [...]