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WineNZ Autumn 18



100 pinots


– and the winner is . . .


From Peru to Melbourne, with love Professor Tim’s

Chinese adventure

WINE TRAVEL The blooming of English bubbles

NZD $9.90

GRIS GEM Waitaki Valley hits its straps

BRAND ABUSE The decline of Montana

WineNZ magazine has subscribers in all New Zealand's main wine export markets – our features, tastings and new release pages are read in major cities throughout the world, including in Washington DC.

Washington lawyer, wine connoisseur and WineNZ subscriber Elliott Jones and friend dine in Georgetown, Washington DC, United States.

WineNZ has paying subscribers in the United States, Australia, United Kingdom, Japan, France, Germany, Sweden, India, Canada and The Philippines. New Zealand wine worth more than $1.6 billion was exported to these markets last year, and many of our overseas subscribers are employed in the wine retailing trade. The magazine is also distributed through airline lounges, to reach influential business travellers, and distributed to guests of select five-star hotels. To put your wine brand on the world stage contact

A star is The accolades keep coming for Whistling Buoy’s pinot noir. ★★★★★



JUNE 2017 Wines of Canterbury awards

FEBRUARY 2018 Wine Orbit

MARCH 2018 WineNZ

(and top wine of the show)

This has an intense nose with good depth and elegantly concentrated aromas of dark-red berry fruit with subtle notes of blackberries entwined with dark herbs, unveiling violet florals, along with nuances of liquorice and nutty oak. - Raymond Chan

Whistling Buoy Banks Peninsula, Canterbury, New Zealand

s born See the Whistling Buoy website to purchase our wine directly, or to find your nearest retailer.

Publisher’s note

WineNZ CONTRIBUTORS Tim Creagh, Charmian Smith, The Old Soak, Vic Williams, Martin Gillion

PHOTOGRAPHY Richard Brimer

DESIGN Spinc Media

EDITORIAL Paul Taggart 021 333 335 Email:

ADVERTISING ENQUIRIES Kathy Ryan 027 351 8582 Email:

WEBSITE To subscribe to WineNZ, visit our website


PO Box 33494, Barrington, Christchurch 8244 Wine samples: 884 Governor’s Bay Road, Rapaki, Lyttelton RD1, 8971 COVER PHOTO: The view from Meniscus winery’s cellar door overlooking Akaroa harbour. Picture by Paul Taggart

Past time for Winegrowers’ heads to roll


eteran wine commentator Bob Campbell recently banged the drum about the fact that Australian wine, often bought for 20 cents a litre in the Lucky Country, is being sold here after being dressed up in the clothes of iconic Kiwi brands. The wheeze isn’t new; it was exposed on TV’s Fair Go consumer programme last year, and was covered at length in this publication six months ago when Mission Estate bought Ngatarawa Wines — a benefit of which was access to new “price points” for Mission as a result of Ngatarawa having been donkey deep into importing cheap Aussie plonk and selling it as Ngatarawa Stables for years. Bob’s new twist to the tale was that Pernod Ricard is now using the once iconic Montana brand as a stalking horse for the cheap imports. Bob worked as an accountant for Montana at one time, so he felt the pain personally with this one. Maybe it was because the latest perpetrator was a greedy multinational, or maybe it was simply a quiet news day, but the story gained legs and made headlines not only in New Zealand’s biggest newspapers, but in international publications such as The Guardian, too.

marketing director and a further array of coddled executives, yet on such an important issue for the industry, which impacts on hundreds of wineries whose businesses are undercut by this trickery, the best they can come up with is: No comment. It isn’t the first time they have been so useless. In my capacity as editor of WineNZ , I’ve put questions to Winegrowers about bulk exports and other contentious issues that could damage the reputation of the New Zealand wine industry, and they have refused to take my calls, or return my calls. What sort of business has executives who refuse to talk to the media on major issues? Sadly, the situation has arisen partly because of the complacency of the business’ shareholders — the New Zealand wine industry. They have allowed these people to hold on to their power and perks and have their strings pulled by multinational corporations. Surely, this latest shemozzle shows it is long past time for heads to roll. And it isn’t a time to shuffle the pack — it is time to clear the decks.

And fair enough. A French company buying cheap Aussie sauvignon blanc then selling it under a label, which has been associated with Marlborough for decades, is a bit stink. So what was the view of Winegrowers, the national body which is funded by New Zealand wineries and grapegrowers to look after their interests? They declined to comment. I kid you not. This is an organisation with a highly paid CEO, a couple of general managers, a communications manager, a global


WineNZ Magazine | Autumn 2018

Paul Taggart Editor & Publisher





TRAVEL 66 The rise and rise of the English


MOTORING 72 The Audi SQ5 — a diesel that excels

A tale of two wines — Australian and Chinese.


PROF TIM ON TOUR Be wary of Gan Bei when dining out in China.



LAST WORD 74 Montana, Marlborough and wine’s


CELLAR DOOR A Canterbury winery with sheer, breathtaking beauty. WINE PEOPLE’S PLACES Charmian Smith catches up with Ivan and Margaret Sutherland.


RESTAURANT REVIEW Melbourne’s Pastuso and its links to Peru and Paddington Bear.

WineNZ Magazine | Autumn 2018

branding baloney.




It is well past time Winegrowers’ heads rolled.

Is sauvignon rouge our next big export earner?

Vic Williams looks at death and rebirth in the vineyard.


on the open road.


Vidals leaving town, Lime Rock on the market.


bubbles business.

PINOT GRIS Waitaki hits its straps with Moon Rock success.

DESSERT WINE So who is drinking all the Kiwi sticky wine?



Lime Rock on the market


ioneering Hawke’s Bay winery Lime Rock is on the market as the founding couple behind the venture, Rosie Butler (winemaker) and Rodger Tynan (“vit-ecologist”) look to ease their workload. As Rosie put it rather eloquently, they are maturing, like a fine wine, and would love someone with passion to take over their magnificent vineyard. The winery is close to Waipawa and about 40km south of the province’s main wine growing region, and is slightly cooler and at a higher altitude. When the couple established the winery on part of Rosie’s family farm 15 years ago, it was seen by some as a courageous move as it was outside the established Bay wine region. However, Rosie says the area has proved to be drier than predicted, with much of the province’s rain passing them by. Later ripening also usually puts them into April for picking, when the weather is generally more settled than in March. Rosie said she and Rodger — who met in the bar at the Roseworthy pub in South Australia after both had completed an arduous chemistry exam — had put their “heart, soul, hands and feet” into the venture and were very proud of what they’d achieved, developing an interesting and successful vineyard. The winery produces pinot noir, sauvignon blanc, pinot gris, merlot and grüner veltliner, and is being marketed by Colliers in Waipukurau.

James Pritchard — first to qualify.

First winery cellar operations graduate


ames Pritchard, cellar and bottling manager at The Hunting Lodge in Auckland, is the first person to graduate with a New Zealand Certificate in Cellar Operations Level 4, one of three new qualifications available to winery staff across the country. The qualifications have been developed by winemakers and cellar managers to equip staff with the skills and knowledge to process grapes and to produce wine to the highest standards ready for bottling. James says that formally recognising the skills of winery employees will transform and strengthen the industry in New Zealand. “People who work in wineries are generally very skilled and have a lot of technical knowledge, but not everyone wants to study or go to university; they love doing their jobs and just want to work, so these new qualifications are an opportunity to recognise the contribution of those people."

Rosie Butler and Rodger Tynan.


WineNZ Magazine | Autumn 2018

The qualifications start at Level 3, providing a basic understanding of the

wine industry, knowledge about legislation such as food safety and health and safety, teamwork and regular cellar operations. Level 4 and Level 5 cover wine analysis, technical elements, grape processing and vintage operations, through to the potential to lead others and provide technical support into commercial cellar operations. Each level takes around 12 months to complete. James oversees production and bottling at The Hunting Lodge in Waimauku, which opened in July 2016 after Matua sold its Auckland operation and moved everything to the South Island. James was one of several former Matua employees who stayed on to develop the site under new owners. “Everyone was mucking in at the start, working on the grounds, in the cellar and in the vineyard, but we’ve grown rapidly since then.” There are now close to 60 staff on site working across the cellar, bottling plant, event spaces, cellar door and, most recently, the restaurant, which opened in November 2017.

news & views

VIDAL’S LEAVING TOWN Sir Rob — those were the days.


t will be the end of a very long era when Vidal’s in Hastings closes its doors in June.

Established before the First World War by Spaniard Anthony Joseph Vidal, the wine business was bought by Sir George Fistonich, of Villa Maria, in the seventies, and prime minister Sir Rob Muldoon opened the country’s first winery restaurant on the site in 1979. Vidal’s production will now move to the recently completed Villa Maria facility on State Highway 50, where wine for the


company’s range of brands will be produced. Being based in a residential part of the city has caused problems for large-scale wine production, although the restaurant has long been a mainstay of Hastings’ dining scene.

Vintage is only a countdown away.

The facility is being sold without the Vidal Estate brand name, which remains with Villa Maria.

This is my 40th vintage at Brookfields.

Possible uses for the site include continued wine production, an events centre or redevelopment of the site for housing.

The late Diane Marshall.






Former wine educator passes away


IT’s former Head of School Viticulture and Wine Science Diane Marshall died in Hawke’s Bay’s Cranford Hospice on January 24.

Yes, every year is different, and equally you get the vintage variation with the wines. The 2017/18 summer has been very hot. So far, all is looking good. Brookfields should start harvest on March 19. There has been extensive leaf plucking and thinning, thus ensuring the flavours will be concentrated. Later this month the 2017 Back Block Syrah will be released. Syrah sales are very good currently. We nearly made a 2017 Reserve, but decided to put the Reserve wine into the 2017 Back Block Syrah, thus guaranteeing its quality.


Peter Robertson

Diane retired in mid-2017 after 11 years as head of the school. During her time there, EIT developed the country’s widest range of viticulture and wine science qualifications.


One of Diane’s many highlights at EIT was developing industry contacts, including with retired grape-grower Kevyn Moore, who initiated the Bragato exchange scholarship for students at EIT and a viticultural school in northern Italy.

Phone 06 834 4615

After her retirement, Diane and her husband explored the wine regions in France at the end of last year.

Phone 0800 699 463

Trade Enquiries



Hollywood elite sip our savvie S

ome of the biggest names in Hollywood had a chance to sample New Zealand wine at this year’s Oscar nominees luncheon, an event that’s widely regarded as a highlight of the awards season.

The lunch at the Beverly Hilton featured three wines, one of which was a sauvignon blanc produced by New Zealand label Loveblock. Approximately 175 of this year’s Academy Award nominees attended the event, including Hollywood royalty such as Meryl Streep, Willem Dafoe, Bryan Fogel, Gary Oldman, Christopher Nolan, Emma Thomas, Guillermo del Toro and more. The lunch was an opportunity for the nominees to pose for the annual “Oscars Class Photo” ahead of the awards ceremony on March 5. The Loveblock wine was paired with a menu that included Chilean Sea Bass with mango, red and white quinoa, roasted asparagus with crispy shallots, and oven-roasted tomatoes. Loveblock overlooks the Awatere Valley, where Erica Crawford and her winemaker husband, Kim, produce their wines through low intervention techniques.

Erica Crawford — supplying Hollywood.

New Zealand again number three in US





WineNZ Magazine | Autumn 2018


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new releases

A tale of two wines Words by Paul Taggart


ith this new releases tasting we’ve gone for something different. Really different.

We have wines from producers that are the Alpha and Omega of the wine world. One is a multinational business that runs with ruthless efficiency and happily switches wine production between countries to shave a few dollars off costs and switches income between countries to shave even more off its tax bill. At the other end of the spectrum, we have a Chinese university’s brewing and alcohol technology programme, which makes its own wine for some of the staff and students. Now here’s the big question — which do you think makes wine that tastes most

like it is supposed to? Pernod Ricard (for they are the corporate monster about which I speak) or Qilu University, located in the Changqing District of Jinan City? It wouldn’t be any fun if it were Pernod Ricard, known for its brands Brancott Estate, Montana, Church Road in this country, and Jacob’s Creek across the ditch. But it wasn’t — the Chinese chopped them down. First, I should say that Pernod Ricard and Qilu University didn’t enter this tasting. Tim Creagh of EIT in Hawke’s Bay kindly brought the Chinese wine back from one of his teaching trips to Jinan to have it tasted by the WineNZ trio. I bought the Montana sauvignon blanc from New World supermarket in Havelock North the night before our autumn tasting. It wasn’t a huge burden on the WineNZ corporate purse, costing $9.99 at full price, or $8.99 with a club card.

Now here’s the thing — the Montana wine has been in the news of late because of the company’s alleged attempts to deceive the public that it could be a Kiwi wine, but it is actually an Aussie imposter. That has been well thrashed, including elsewhere in this magazine, so I’m not going to relitigate that issue. However, the question here is whether the wine is any good. Are Kiwi drinkers not only being conned into buying Aussie wine, but also being sold nasty rubbish? There is a two-pronged answer to that question, part of which doesn’t really follow the script. Firstly, the wine isn’t too bad. The judges tasted it blind and there were a few positive comments. Not many, but a few. Chairman of the panel of judges Simon Nash said it was viscous, chalky, had a soft mouth feel, wasn’t classic, but was reasonably good.

Who could think this is anything but a product of Australia?


WineNZ Magazine | Autumn 2018

new products | releases

This wine says clearly on the front label where it is made.

Ant Mackenzie also mentioned chalky, said it was a broad wine and was interesting. Dave McKee said it was fresh with possibly a hint of something tropical. However, the second prong is that this is sauvignon blanc, New Zealand’s biggest export, and is being sold here as such with a label that will fool many people into thinking it is a product of Marlborough. But our trio of tasters — probably the most professional and experienced team in the land — were completely flummoxed by what the wine actually was. Not one of the three had any idea it was sauvignon blanc. Ant Mackenzie, who has made countless tank-loads of top-quality savvie for some of the big names of the industry in Marlborough, said, after the great reveal, that he would have picked 10 other white varieties ahead of sauvignon blanc if he had been compelled to guess what the wine was. Dave McKee said he was fishing around in his head for an obscure Italian or Spanish variety to match to the wine in his glass, but failed to find it. The thought of sauvignon blanc didn’t even cross his mind. Simon Nash, our Master of Wine and a former brand manager for Montana back in the day, was simply bemused. So there we have it. It isn’t a bad wine, just a very bad sauvignon blanc. For those looking for a reasonable quaffer at a super cheap price that shouldn’t make

you physically sick, then this could fit the bill. But if you pick it off the shelf expecting it to have any hint of gooseberries or cat pee, then move on down the aisle. And now to China. The bottle of red, under cork, was a complete mystery, but fortunately we had a Chinese member of the stewarding team who could read the label for us. (One of the benefits of the government’s open-door immigration policy playing out before our very eyes). And here’s the difference between the wines: Dave McKee popped his nose in to the glass like a bloodhound, then had a sip and knew immediately this was grenache. He also asked whether it was from a coastal region as he was getting salt. He was right, as the vineyard that produced the grapes is near the coast, just across the sea from North Korea. I’ve always thought Dave’s ability to sniff out salt to be a little esoteric, possibly a bit otherworldly, but he’s right more often than he’s wrong. It was an uncanny performance, especially as the wine is not the product of a winery, but basically a university lab, albeit with expert training from EIT wine staff who fly out from Hawke’s Bay. As for quality, it got the tick from the three judges. Simon Nash thought it was intense, dark, chunky, with a deep, rich colour. It was inky, ripe, soft, earthy, juicy with good tannins, as well as being generous and round.

Ant Mackenzie noted it as being oaky, developed, plummy, slightly rustic with fine tannins. Dave McKee described it as a Europeanstyle wine, with candy floss and jammy fruit. There were oak and some cork notes, he said. It could well have been a Spanish grenache, he concluded. While Dave was right that the wine was under cork, and was grenache, the fact that he thought it could pass as a Spanish wine is a huge plus for the Chinese whose wine industry has only really begun to get the recognition it deserves in the past couple of years. So it was a tasting of two halves — one wine that probably reflects everything that is bad about the way accountants and shareholders are dictating how a large part of the industry is forced to run, and an uplifting entrant that indicates a new, serious player is rising to join the ranks of world wine production. China is already the second biggest grape producer, and fifth or sixth biggest wine producer. Who knows how those numbers will look in a decade’s time? Thankfully, for now, however, neither Australia nor China are producing sauvignon blanc that can threaten Marlborough wine, which, in the words of UK wine celebrity Oz Clarke, “crackles and spits its flavours at you from the glass”.


feature | china

Be wary of

‘Gan Bei’

Tim Creagh has been spending time in China as part of a

co-operation programme between Qilu University and Hawke’s Bay’s Eastern Institute of Technology. Here he tells of his wine and beer (and teaching) experiences in Changqing.


he Chinese people like wine — maybe for different reasons than we do in New Zealand, but wine is big in China. It makes sense that the Chinese government would want to invest in its own wine industry, just as we have done here in New Zealand, and then reap the rewards. The Chinese government would also like the people of China to learn other languages, and English is certainly one of those. So having a vine and winemaking course part of the Qilu University brewing and alcohol technology programme taught in English came about after negotiations between Qilu University and New Zealand’s Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT), which now would appear aptly named.

Accompanying him was Professor Zhao, who would be assisting me during my lectures. Being a lecturer is a rewarding career, but here it was different. Using the constructivist approach, where the students are responsible for their learning and group learning is central to teaching (as opposed to simply showing slides on a projector), proved difficult as the Chinese (and some New Zealand) students want the lecturer to just give them what they need to know so that they can remember it to pass exams. So armed with 500 PowerPoint slides and my new title (Professor), I faced my first lecture. I had what I called the Jeremy

All of that led me to being in China teaching viticulture to 70 students. I was very lucky in that several colleagues had paved the way for me. One of those was Dr David Bloomfield, who teaches wine science. Our visits crossed over for a week, and that made a big difference. He was able to show me the sights and the best places to eat (and not to eat), how to get around and, because of discussions we had before I arrived, I was able to adjust the way I was going to deliver lectures based on his experience. I arrived at night and found my apartment. The accommodation was one of the things that I was not looking forward to. Coming from a lifestyle block in Puketapu to a two-room cell in a block was going to be tough, I thought. However, after it had been my home for nearly a month, I have to say that I really liked my little space in China. It was a retreat and it had all the things I needed — although the water stopped once, and for two days it came out of the tap brown; the power went out; the front door would not open very well; and the fire alarm went off, but nobody evacuated. The apartment is in a large six-storey student accommodation building. There are 32 of these buildings on campus, with two more being built. Each holds 800 students. There are over 30,000 students on campus. The university is located in the Changqing District of Jinan City. There are 13 different universities and over a quarter of a million students in and around Changqing. I was introduced to the students during David’s last class. The students sat their wine science exam the following day, and then the day after that I began my course. I noticed a definite pattern: the girls all sat at the front and the boys to the rear. I was introduced to the students by Professor Cong, a welltravelled wine lover and the driver of the joint agreement.


WineNZ Magazine | Autumn 2018

High-rise accommodation blocks in the Changqing District of Jinan city pack in the 30,000 students who study at Qilu University.

china | travel

Cycling is the way to dodge the traffic in China’s cities.

Clarkson syndrome, where you speak so slowly and clearly that you create syllables within syllables; where you use a range of tones even in the smallest of words and suddenly you’re a host on a television show about fast, expensive cars. But that is not how Kiwis speak. In the land of the long flat vowel we rarely change our tone, but now with having all that time in between each word and each part of the word, I needed to find something to do. And it all seemed fruitless as the whole lot was translated into Chinese by Professor Zhao. Although it was not completely fruitless because there are those students who maintain eye contact — the ones you know are following the pathway that you are creating and the ones who sometimes mouth the words before you say them (because you are speaking so slowly). They are the ones who are learning. A big part of the constructivist approach to education is group learning. To help with the transition from lecture to group work, I used a slide with a picture of people in a discussion. The idea of this was so the students would know it’s group learning time. At first, even though David had done this many times, there was a discussion in Chinese as to what was required. Finally it was explained to them and they set about discussing the topic, such as the meaning of sustainability. When it came time to discuss with the class, nobody offered anything — unlike in New Zealand where there is always someone). The next time the group work slide appeared, there was an audible groan. The lectures start at 8.30am and run to 11.30am and then lunch. I was lucky as Professor Tong and I dined most days together in the cafeteria. The lunch is subsidised so it only cost 2 yuan (40 cents). Every day there was a range of meat and vegetable dishes and you can choose three, and this gets placed on your stainless steel tray. Then you join 400 other diners — and that’s just the staff. The students dine in one of three four-storey food halls around the campus. After lunch, it’s back for another one-and-ahalf hour of lectures, and then home to the apartment. In the evenings I could dine at the food halls, but most of the time I would wander straight across the road to the Changqing township


feature | china

Grape vines are permanently under cover at some Chinese vineyards.

where there are hundreds of options for dining. Changqing is large in terms of businesses, but highly compressed into a strip barely 700 metres long. It’s filled with high-rise buildings jammed with tiny shops and restaurants and even a grand hotel. The problem is that, like much of Jinan, restaurants don’t cater for foreigners as there are hardly any, so the menus are in Chinese and if there are no pictures then it is hit and miss for me. This meant that I migrated to the same places all the time. Often, I would be the guest at a dinner with staff from the university and we would go to restaurants in Jinan city. On these occasions I would be the honoured guest and sit to the right of the host. This is an important part of the culture and it involves a lot of toasting. Fortunately, on most occasions the drinks were either beer or wine; this was good because if the drink was Chinese brandy then it could get dangerous. Everyone toasted and occasionally they were “Gan Bei” (drain the cup) toasts, so planning and control is essential. However, on most occasions the glasses were small. If wine was the order of the night, what was even better was if they had actual wine glasses; usually we just had tumblers. The Chinese wine that we tried on the whole was pretty good, but very expensive. A lot of the wine I tried was made by the university and was clean, well-made and high quality. One night the host had bought a range of Bordeaux reds so I did not feel inclined to scull, as they were excellent. I told the host and the guests that this should not be Gan Bei and then began a very long discussion (in Chinese) and there was a lot of sniffing, tasting and nodding. The biggest surprise for me was the beer. It was excellent wherever we went. The favourite, for me, was ADB Brewing’s beer. It was served in a laidback bar with very good food, and

all the beer was made on site in the microbrewery that you could see through a window. It’s the wine that is the anomaly. I think China is still coming to grips with it. If you go to a cellar door in New Zealand, the first thing you are offered is wine to taste. It’s pretty much the opposite in China. In fact, it is hard to get a wine to taste at all. The wine is sold with the idea that it is expensive, therefore it must be good, so the cellar doors are just elaborate displays to enhance the perception that wine is elitist. That perception will change, and it’s the young people who are going to change it. While toasting is traditional and will always have its place in Chinese culture, wine culture will move in. Wine will be brought to the dining table not to be knocked back, but sipped and discussed as more people understand it. So now I am at the end of my secondment, and with only a few practical sessions to go I am happy with the way it has turned out. There is no more groaning at the prospect of group work; instead students chatter away with the problem they have been set. The assignments came in and they were good, and I was also impressed with their attitude towards the two days of pruning that we did. The students are smart. If there is a single typo in English they will pick it up — but they won’t tell me; instead they will politely ask professor Zhao if there is a new way of spelling a word! And they work incredibly hard. They have had three months of compressed viticulture and winemaking education, and from very little knowledge to where they are now has been a remarkable transformation. And these students are lucky with their choice of education, as there is a strong feeling that wine is on the brink of really taking off. These students will have enormous opportunities as the industry in China steps up a gear.

Centre front row: Tim Creagh (left) and Dr David Bloomfield with their wine students at Qilu University.


WineNZ Magazine | Autumn 2018

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The Team With New Zealand now cemented in its position as the third biggest wine exporter to the US, by value, it seemed appropriate that the autumn WineNZ tasting had an American theme — but not all entered in to the spirit of the occasion. We did have a US associate judge, but not everyone read the memo to wear a Trump T-shirt. From left: Tim Creagh (EIT), Dr David Bloomfield, (EIT and associate judge), Paul Taggart (WineNZ), Ant Mackenzie (judge), Mudua Paumar from India (studying for a graduate diploma in viticulture at EIT, associate judge), Simon Nash MW (Chairman of the panel of judges), Shirley Stevens from Chicago (studying for a graduate diploma in viticulture at EIT, associate judge), Dave McKee (judge).

Tasting time Our top line-up of judges taste pinot noir, pinot gris as well as dessert wines, writes Paul Taggart.

Chairman of the panel was Simon Nash MW, a Cambridge graduate who spent three years trading commodities in the city of London before realising that wine was his true passion. He gained industry experience at Grants of St James’s, Hatch Mansfield and Private Liquor Brands. In 1994, he passed his Master of Wine, and decided to travel the world, spending time in the Californian wine industry before fetching up in New Zealand and marrying a Kiwi winemaker. He is now a wine business consultant, based in Hawke’s Bay, with clients in all corners of the world.


WineNZ Magazine | Autumn 2018

Hawke’s Bay winemaker Ant Mackenzie makes his own range of wines as well as consulting to a number of local wineries.

For the past 15 years winemaker, Dave McKee has been making small quantities of great wine for Black Barn in Havelock North.

With a varied background working for wine businesses large and small, Ant also works with EIT in Hawke’s Bay, passing on his knowledge to tomorrow’s winemaking and viticulture stars.

The label may not be familiar to many outside Hawke’s Bay, as much of the wine is sold through the Black Barn cellar door, restaurant and associated accommodation businesses. However, Dave has produced a range of top wines, well-regarded by his peers. These include chardonnay, pinot gris, sauvignon blanc, merlot, cabernet franc, syrah and montepulciano.

Our hosts

EIT – a leading wine educator Centred in a region celebrated for the diversity and quality of its wine styles, EIT offers New Zealand’s widest range of viticulture and wine science programmes. Highly qualified lecturers with industry experience teach programmes that range from certificates through to diplomas, bachelor degrees and graduate diplomas, and encompass grape growing, winemaking, wine business and wine marketing. EIT’s strong connections with the local wine industry provide opportunities for students to gain practical hands-on experience working in wineries and vineyards in the area.

Their learning environment also includes the institute’s purpose-built teaching and research winery which processes grapes donated by local growers and those harvested from EIT’s own vineyard at the heart of the viticulture and wine science complex. Programmes are designed to be flexible, providing a variety of study options — full- and part-time, February and July starts and on-campus and by distance online learning with compulsory residential schools held in Hawke’s Bay. The wide range of programmes enables graduates to progress to higher-level qualifications. The concurrent Bachelor of Viticulture and Bachelor of Wine Science is a unique

opportunity to simultaneously study two degrees and graduate in 4½ years. EIT also offers its Certificate in Grapegrowing and Winemaking at its Tairawhiti campus in Gisborne, which operates the 1.6ha vineyard and winery producing wines under the Waimata Wine label. As Paul Robinson, a Bachelor of Viticulture and Bachelor of Wine Science graduate and 2014’s New Zealand Viticulturist of the Year winner, points out, “The fact that EIT graduates have won the New Zealand Viticulturist of the Year for the last three years shows the quality of the graduates, lecturers and the systems EIT has in place.”

EIT associate judges get ready to rumble.

How the wines are judged and awarded WineNZ’s tastings are run along stringent lines similar to those used by major wine competitions. All the wines are judged blind, grouped in flights by style or vintage. All the samples are served to judges in pre-poured glasses to ensure that there are no visual cues to suggest the identity of the wines so that all wines are assessed impartially. When a judge’s wines are entered,

their marks are removed from the final average to avoid any conflict of interest. At the end of the judging, the top wines of each category are assessed blind for a second time. The judges then decide which will be awarded the highest accolade of “Top Wine”. The “Top Value” award goes to the highest scoring wine of $25 or under.

Top Wine Best wine in category Top Value

Highest scoring wine of $25 or under

5 Stars Outstanding 4 Stars

Very Good

3 Stars Good everyday drinking


tasting | introduction

Here comes sauvignon rouge? Words by Paul Taggart


ometimes when I stop and look up from my computer, the world has moved on. Things have changed in some small way, and I haven’t really noticed it happening. Like the decline of TV channels, and their replacement with Netflix and Amazon. Or electric cars. A friend of mine, who was a farmer with a ute all his working life, has just bought a Nissan Leaf as a retirement vehicle. How weird is that? The changes aren’t necessarily bad — I’m not getting all grumpy old man here. It is just that the country, indeed the world, is changing at a fair old clip, and sometimes I feel it would be nice to step off the carousel and take a breather for a few years. The same mood of change exists in the wine world. We’ve had natural wine, orange wine, low alcohol wine and we’ve had blue wine in recent times. Sometimes it is as if the industry has gone mad. One of the good things about wine


WineNZ Magazine | Autumn 2018

has traditionally been the history, the consistency, the solidity. Change can be good, of course, such as the rise of sauvignon blanc in New Zealand, or tannat in Uruguay, but it’s part of a natural evolution, driven by market forces and innovative producers. If the changes aren’t genuine, then no matter how much PR spin companies or countries give a new idea, then it ain’t going to fly. Which brings me on to the subject in hand: pinot noir. In its infinite wisdom, New Zealand Winegrowers, the single-desk producer board to which all New Zealand wineries must pay homage and pay tithes, has launched a research programme with the aim of “reconfiguring the traditional productivity/quality see-saw” for pinot noir. What I think this means is they want to crank up pinot volumes and reduce its production costs, so it becomes a red version of sauvignon blanc. Sauvignon rouge, if you will. Whether this will include shipping to

northern markets in bulk plastic bladders, screwing down growers so they can hardly make a living, and allowing two or three multinational companies to dominate the sector, I’m not sure. The initiative will receive $9.3 million of taxpayers’ cash over the next five years, with a further $1 million from wine producers’ compulsory levies. Whatever the flaws with the Winegrowers organisation, they certainly know how to squeeze money out of their members and the government to fund pet projects. But here’s the thing — pinot noir can never be sauvignon rouge. Why would we want it to be? Pinot is a demanding, delicate, respected and revered grape. It is unpredictable and unreliable, and that is its majesty. You need to kiss a good many frogs with pinot, but when you find a winner, it can be a very handsome prince indeed. Rosie Butler of Lime Rock Wines, who has been producing pinot for 15 years,

introduction | tasting

recently told me of a quote from wine writer Matthew Jukes who said: “It (pinot noir) likes hillside so it’s more difficult to work; it’s almost as if the vine looks at you and says, ‘I don’t want mechanisation, I want you and your hands, and that’s it. ’ It breaks your back and pisses you off. You can’t do it in volume”. One of the problems for consumers is that it is hard to know whether a pinot is going to be good until you’ve parted with a substantial amount of cash and poured the first glass. There are some that are simply divine, yet many are poor and pose a risk to the country’s reputation. Choosing by region is no help, as great wines come from Marlborough and Nelson, not only Central Otago, Wairarapa and Waipara. The WineNZ pinot tasting last year clearly demonstrated that the muchtouted regionality — “oh, I love Central Otago’s lush, distinctive fruitiness” — is a figment of wine writers’ and marketers’ imaginations. Even the country’s best wine

judges can’t tell the region a pinot is from in blind tastings. It is hard to blame producers for putting substandard wine into the market. They have bills to pay, and if they have a bad year can we really expect them to pour the contents of their barrels down the drain? But without a system of grands cru, premiers, village and sub-village appellations, as in Burgundy, buyers of New Zealand wine generally only have the price as a guide to a wine’s quality. However, the problem with using price as a guide is that it is often set by production costs and the desire to break even (or even make a tiny profit) rather than reflecting the quality of a bottle’s contents. This is especially true in Central Otago where the industry is on the climatic edge; land prices are high and many wineries are small-scale operations. That’s before you even consider the burden of government red tape.

brains of Plant & Food Research, Lincoln University and the other partners come up with as part of Winegrowers’ plans to produce a Kiwi sauvignon rouge, or McPinot, may be helpful for some, but it is still going to leave our small producers at a disadvantage compared with their multinational corporate competitors. And consumers will still have no idea whether the bottle of pinot they buy for $60 is going to be good or destined for the vinaigrette. At present, trial and error, or following the opinion of experienced, independent, qualified professionals are probably the only ways to determine whether a wine is likely to be top notch. This is part of the service we at WineNZ provide for our readers with our tastings — to find out which wineries are worthy of receiving your pinot money. Read on.

Any innovation that the combined


tasting | introduction is different. Marlborough’s best has been described as feminine (a term probably now unacceptable in the age of #MeToo), delicate, perfumed and fragrant, possibly more like Martinborough than Central Otago. But, he says, the differences are slight and change with vintages, and he’s not convinced that if six Marlborough and six Central Otago pinots were lined up in a blind tasting, that he could pick them out. But what he can do is turn the lovely fruit coming from the Yarrum vineyard, owned by the Sutherland family, into the best pinot in the country. Incidentally, while Yarrum sounds like an exotic Aboriginal name for the southern valleys vineyard, it is actually just Murray spelt backwards!

Kevin Judd (right) and viticulturist Nigel Sowman check out this year’s grapes, accompanied by Kevin’s dog Dixie.

Pinot perfection


is discussed.

he name Cloudy Bay is synonymous with Marlborough’s success. In Britain it is probably the first brand that springs to mind when Kiwi wine

And one of the key people who made that happen was Kevin Judd, the founding winemaker at Cloudy Bay. As with many people operating in the corporate world, there came a time when Kevin needed to do it for himself, rather than for shareholders, and he left Cloudy Bay to establish Greywacke with wife Kimberley. The couple own a couple of hectares near their Omaka Valley home, but most of the Greywacke fruit comes from Ivan Sutherland’s vineyards — Ivan being another former member of the Cloudy Bay team who contributed to its phenomenal success before branching out on his own.

Marlborough has closed the gap on Central Otago and Wairarapa with pinot production, says Kevin, since new clones were planted on clay soils in the southern valleys. It is no coincidence that some of Villa Maria’s five star pinot noirs are also coming from this area. When he was in his previous role with Cloudy Bay, Kevin says he was encouraged to look outside Marlborough for pinot sites, but he countered that patience was required, and with vine age pinot would come right in Marlborough. Now that many vines are hitting the magic age for red varieties of 15 years, when they start producing better fruit, he seems to have been proved correct.

It had proved to be a recipe for success, with Greywacke chardonnay having been the top wine in the WineNZ winter 2016 tasting, and now Kevin’s pinot noir being top wine in the current tasting. So what is it about Kevin’s creations, first at Cloudy Bay and latterly at Greywacke,

Kevin doesn’t claim to make better wine than is coming from Central, but he says it

WineNZ Magazine | Autumn 2018

Kevin’s reputation acquired at Cloudy Bay was a double-edged sword. On one hand it opened doors, particularly in export markets. On the other, it created a heavy expectation. However, a string of successes with his wines has laid to rest any concerns there may have been that Kevin might not be able to recreate the Cloudy Bay magic under a new label.

that makes them world-class, five-star bottles of perfection?

Central Otago and Martinborough had a jump on Marlborough, with plenty of pinot planted in the nineties, but now the Marlborough vines of the correct clones are maturing, the gap has closed. It could be argued that Marlborough’s more consistent climate now actually gives them an edge.


Vineyard management is the key to success, says Kevin, and when the fruit is perfect, then his job is so much easier. The grapes are hand-picked and hand-sorted. Quite heavily toasted barrels are used.

Yarrum vineyard in Marlborough’s southern valleys, which is the source of some of the fruit used to produce Greywacke’s award-winning pinot noir.

Greywacke is a small operation. Apart from Kevin and Kimberley, there are just four other staff members. There is no reserve label, just the one value-for-money range. Ninety-five percent of Greywacke’s product is exported to 40 countries, with the UK and US being the top destinations. Only about 150 cases of the award-winning 2015 pinot noir is on sale in New Zealand, so get it while you can. Five-star pinot noir of this quality at this price is something that any sensible pinotphile should add to their cellar.

pinot noir | tastings

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Greywacke Marlborough Pinot Noir 2015 Simon Nash: Good colour. Nice nose, plummy depth of flavours. Pure, clean. Ripe, round, soft, juicy, good grip. Forward. Poetry. Complete. Ant Mackenzie: Lovely brooding oaky spice nose. Youthful, sappy palate with fresh acid and great balance. Dave McKee: Very dark, brooding hue. Dark fruits. Massive palate. Shows pinot noir finesse.




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Villa Maria Southern Clays Marlborough Pinot Noir 2014 Simon Nash: Nice colour, vinous, mineral, ashes. A bit minty. Chunky, rich. Quite a meaty nose and juicy. Good weight, has an elegance. Nice, full mid palate. Quite greenedged but solid and fleshy. Good. Ant Mackenzie: Definite blackberry fruits/graphite, etc. Spicy, pure palate, bright acid, but very vibrant. Dave McKee: Fresh hue. Bright fruit and expressive. Lovely fruit weight flows across palate from start to finish.


WineNZ Magazine | Autumn 2018


Coal Pit ‘Tiwha’ Central Otago Pinot Noir 2016 Simon Nash: Dark, chunky looking. Nice berry grip and depth of fruit. Good weight, richness, intensity, power. Ant Mackenzie: Bold, jubey wine. Gummy nose. Very plush and silky palate. Opulent wine. Dave McKee: Dark, brooding, has concentration, colour and depth. Very good fruit depth. Concentration finely integrated oak and has a polish and depth. Very good.


Whistling Buoy Kokolo Vineyard Banks Peninsula Pinot Noir 2016 Simon Nash: The pinot funk of this wine had Simon looking interested when he put his nose in the glass, and once he tasted it he noted “elegance”. There was a nice richness and good weight. It was lifted but generous. Ant Mackenzie: Open, floral, slightly sappy. Lovely expression of pinot noir. Floral, spicy, mid weight. Very good. Dave McKee: Moderate depth. Slightly cloudy. Non-filtered, giving some funk to the nose. Very good palate that shouts “pinot silkiness”. Long.

pinot noir | tastings



Villa Maria Reserve Seddon Vineyard Marlborough Pinot Noir 2014 Simon Nash: Good dark colour. Olive and aubergine. Quite restrained, chewy, good and tight. A good focus of olive/pimiento. Plums. Very attractive. Ant Mackenzie: Dark, dense, cola/ cherry. A toasty, sweet, generous pinot noir. Bright acid, underlying tannin, but very much a sweet/rich wine.



Domain Road Vineyard Bannockburn Pinot Noir 2014

Villa Maria Reserve Marlborough Pinot Noir 2015

Simon Nash: Nice colour and fruit. Good richness, weight, grip.

Simon Nash: Dark, good weight, green-edged tomato. Minty. Nice acid. Good.

Ant Mackenzie: Greener/sappy aromas over dark berry fruit. Lovely weight to the palate. Concentrated/complex. Very good. Dave McKee: Moderate hue, ruby garnet, earthy forest floor. Nice fruit — has a sappy element that suggests whole cluster inclusion. Long finish.

Ant Mackenzie: Vibrant, pure blueberry/ cranberry. Snappy, vibrant palate. Lovely pure fruit. Light touch with the oak. Dave McKee: Vibrant hue. Youthful. purity of fruit. Excellent oak integration. Long palate. Very well made.

Dave McKee: Bright, fresh in glass. Very good fruit. Vibrant and juicy. Tannic. Texture is very good. Very well made.


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Wild Earth Central Otago Pinot Noir 2015


Simon Nash: Soft mid ruby colour. Canned tomato, quite juicy too. Round and quite fleshy. Loose-knit but juicy enough. Soft, ripe finish. Ant Mackenzie: Sweet nose, plum, slightly berry. Delineate, lovely expression, soft, generous. Very good. Dave McKee: Moderate depth. Ruby. Some cherry and plum notes. Gentle palate with elegance. Low oak.



Simon Nash: Good depth and colour. Nice weight on the nose. Dark berry, quite chunky. Good! Some good richness, weight, mouthfeel, length and sweetness.

Dave McKee: Moderate depth. Cherry and strawberry fruit lift. pure fruit. Chewy tannins and bright palate texture. Well made.

Terrace Edge North Canterbury Pinot Noir 2016

Simon Nash: Bright, purple-edged nose. Quite juicy fruit. Violet notes. Lifted, pepper, spicy. Mid weight. Quite chewy.

Simon Nash: Deep colour, good depth, nice velvety violet. Juicy, round, good mouthfeel.

Dave McKee: Moderate hue and very fresh. Coiled tension of fruit. palate very dense. Big wine with a touch of elegance. One to watch!

WineNZ Magazine | Autumn 2018


Ant Mackenzie: Savoury, spicy nose. Generous palate with loads of sweetness underpinned by tannin.

Whistling Buoy Half Acre Banks Peninsula Pinot Noir 2016

Ant Mackenzie: Tar and earth, savoury, very dense textured palate. Very youthful.


Esk Valley Marlborough Pinot Noir 2016

Ant Mackenzie: Medium weight, savoury, biscuity nose. Bold, snappy palate. Very rich but good balance. Dave McKee: Moderate depth and hue. Closed with hint of S02 — recently bottled? Clean fruit purity with wellintegrated oak. Moderate length. Very youthful.


pinot noir | tastings

pinot noir



Rockburn The Art Central Otago Pinot Noir 2016

Pegasus Bay Prima Donna Canterbury Pinot Noir 2013

Simon Nash: Nice chunky colour. Quite plummy and loose fruit. Soft, ditto the palate. Quite a hard tannin structure.

Simon Nash: Good colour. Mushrooms, savoury. Solid midpalate weight. Well made. Juicy, chunky style. Good fruit.

Ant Mackenzie: Open red fruit, pure, spicy. Lovely floral notes and purity. Some suppleness.

Ant Mackenzie: Oaky, syrupy, evolved, spice, leather. Big, rich, sweet, plenty of vibrant acid and tannin. Good.

Dave McKee: Slightly cloudy. Non-filtered? Menthol/funky notes. Funk continues on palate, gives good weight, but feel it’s masking freshness.

Dave McKee: Ruby hue — bright. Green herb note. More oak-driven palate than fruit extract. Some assertive oak dominates.

Auntsfield Single Vineyard Marlborough Pinot Noir 2016

Rockburn Central Otago Pinot Noir 2016

Simon Nash: Intense colour, quite purple-edged. Dark lager, berry nose. Green edge. Good weight, some richness. Round tannin structure. Good, solid finish. Ant Mackenzie: Dense, savoury, pure. Sweet, rich, pure fruits. Vibrant acid. Very good. Dave McKee: Very dark, brooding hue and depth. Rich, dark fruit. Chunky tannins and depth. “A Mike Tyson pinot.”

Simon Nash: Good degree of colour. Rich, quite velvety nose. Quite juicy. Savoury, mid weight. Ant Mackenzie: Tar, spicy, brooding. Very well put together. A more open palate with great purity and balance.



Dave McKee: Dark brooding hue and fleshy fruit on nose. Dense, pristine fruit characters with well-integrated oak. Element of heat (high alcohol) on finish but very good.


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Vidal Reserve Marlborough Pinot Noir 2016

Domaine-Thomson “Surveyor Thomson” Single Vineyard Central Otago Pinot Noir 2014

Simon Nash: Nice deep red, good looking. Some minty character, dark chocolate. Solid mid palate weight. Round, quite fleshy. Sound.

Simon Nash: Good colour. Green-edged underneath. Hint of olive. Palate has a slight woody edge. Chewy.

Ant Mackenzie: Lifted, savoury, iodine/ seaweed notes. Bright, savoury palate. Good.

Ant Mackenzie: Brooding, coral/ graphite, very dense nose. Very extract/ tannic version of pinot noir, but very good. Savoury.

Dave McKee: Moderate depth/hue. Has a sweaty thiol note. Reduction — tends to lock the palate down. Should benefit from decanting.

Wooing Tree Central Otago Pinot Noir 2014



Simon Nash: Moderate red. Roasted tomato, mid weight. Good fruit, drying tannin structure, lean. At its best now.

Dave McKee: OK depth and hue. Earthy nose. Ripe, fleshy fruit concentration in moderate palate with oak wrapping the fruit nicely.

Villa Maria ‘The Attorney’ Marlborough Pinot Noir 2016 Simon Nash: Nice vinous colour. Hint of mint. Quite lean. Mid weight, bit chewy, smoky, solid.

Ant Mackenzie: Dense, brooding, cola, graphite. Bold tannic wine with fruit richness and a lovely balance.

Ant Mackenzie: Lifted, syrupy/toasty, oak, slightly gamey/funk. Lovely expression of pinot noir: texture, weight and complexity.

Dave McKee: Moderate hue, ruby. Moderately fresh. Warm, ripe fruit notes. Has power. Oak. Generous weight and tannin. A big pinot.

Dave McKee: Moderate hue — ruby garnet. Earthy wine. Lovely fruit. Well balanced with spicy oak concentration with a long finish. Just a hint advanced.

WineNZ Magazine | Autumn 2018



pinot noir | tastings

pinot noir Villa Maria Single Vineyard Taylors Pass Marlborough Pinot Noir 2014


Simon Nash: Quite a feral, almost foxy nose. Savoury, quite loose-knit. Chewy. Ant Mackenzie: Funky/dusty/sappy. Slightly green. Dave McKee: Very good depth and hue. Ripe, dense, fruit-wrapping tannins. Very good.


Thornbury Central Otago Pinot Noir 2016 Simon Nash: Nice colour, good development. Soft nose, berry. Good style. Soft, round, quite ripe, fleshy, good grip. Raspberry.


Ant Mackenzie: Dusty, savoury nose. Good palate but slightly tough tannin for weight of the wine. Dave McKee: Moderate hue. Vibrant, fresh appearance and nose. Salty palate, quite fleshy and crisp. Juicy.

Awatere River by Louis Vavasour Marlborough Pinot Noir 2016

Matahiwi Estate Wairarapa Pinot Noir 2016

Simon Nash: Lighter colour. Quite juicy nose. Good grip, plummy, quite a bossy wine.

Simon Nash: Good colour. Quite mineral, hard-edged but shows grippy intensity. Powerful fruit tannins.

Ant Mackenzie: Greener notes. Slightly dusty. Fragrant. Lovely, fresh palate, pure fruit. Vibrant.

Ant Mackenzie: Bright, varnish, tar-like nose. Dense, brooding palate. Acid a touch too bright.

Dave McKee: Moderate hue. Slightly less depth but still youthful. Nice fruit focus. Moderate weight, slightly short. An early drinking style.

Dave McKee: Moderate depth and hue. Youthful. Showing some complexity. Hint of stem/sappy note giving a more graphite texture to the tannin.



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Craft Series Journey II Marlborough Pinot Noir 2014


Simon Nash: Nice warm colour. Quite toasty pepper, ground pepper. Chewy. Ant Mackenzie: Spicy, toasty, savoury notes. Slightly dried-out fruit but lots to like with supple tannins. Dave McKee: Medium hue, oaky, reduced nose. Dark fruit is masked by a hint of reduction. Wine is fresh, just a touch pinched in the mid palate. Moderate length.


Simon Nash: Nice, soft, plummylooking berry. Chewy, grippy fruit tannin. Mid weight. Sound.

Dave McKee: Moderate hue and depth. Nose has a stem, whole cluster ferment note. Front palate has fleshy texture. Ripe fruit with some medium palate complexity.

Lime Rock Hawke’s Bay Pinot Noir 2016

Simon Nash: Good colour, weight, grip and structure. Nice plummy nose.

Simon Nash: Lighter fragrance. A bit diffuse, also stewed tomato. Round, quite soft, lacks real grip.

Ant Mackenzie: Dense, dusty, slightly sappy. Lean palate and expression. Needs more flesh.

Ant Mackenzie: Savoury. iodine. i love the funky nose. The palate has layers of funky complexity. Soft and approachable.

WineNZ Magazine | Autumn 2018


Ant Mackenzie: Greener, soft nose. Generous palate with lovely red fruits and soft tannin.

Akarua Bannockburn Pinot Noir 2016

Dave McKee: Vibrant hue, fresh, purple. Juicy fruit front palate. Bright. integrated oak.


Babich Family Estates Headwaters Organic Marlborough Pinot Noir 2016

Dave McKee: Moderate depth. Lighter spectrum. Brioche/bread note to nose (oak/lees). Good texture. Some freshness from acidity. Moderate length.


pinot noir | tastings

pinot noir


The King's Wrath Marlborough Pinot Noir 2016

Wooing Tree Beetle Juice Central Otago Pinot Noir 2017

Simon Nash: Mid-level colour. Savoury bacon notes. Mid-weight, loose, chewy, solid.

Simon Nash: Intense and youthful. Has depth, with a purple edge. Soft, velvety, with a good richness. Smells of violets. Round and juicy. Coating tannins. Quite generous, youthful.

Ant Mackenzie: Funky, earthy, sappy. Plush, silky palate with great balance and weight. Dave McKee: Moderate concentration, hue and depth. Some reduction on nose and palate. Youthful. Oak more evident than fruit. Some underlying concentration. Shy!

Hunter’s Marlborough Pinot Noir 2015


Simon Nash: Good colour. Soft, fleshy, ripe, quite voluptuous. Chewy edge, but plummy fruit. Not complex but sound. Ant Mackenzie: Dense, savoury, iodine, pure. Chalky tough tannin with spicy acid. Some fruit showing through. Dave McKee: Moderate depth. Juicy sweet fruit with a drying tannic/ oak middle palate. Youthful.


Ant Mackenzie: Dense, jubey and very pure. Very high tannin and a little disjoined at this stage. Dave McKee: Dense, purple — brooding/very dark. Has a malbec-like texture on the palate.

Ara Single Estate Marlborough Pinot Noir 2016 Simon Nash: Mid-ruby colour. Berry aromatics. Quite plump. Softer, plummy character. Round, generous, though lacks real definition.


Ant Mackenzie: Dusty, varnish-like, slightly vegetative note. Soft, round palate. Soft, subtle tannin. Good. Dave McKee: Moderate depth. Light with a restrained nose. Commercial style with gentle approach and pure fruit. Well-handled oak.


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Misty Cove Signature Marlborough Pinot Noir 2016

Creation Reserve Walker Bay SA Pinot Noir 2015

Simon Nash: Pale rouge colour. Some florals, green olive notes. Quite straightforward.

Simon Nash: Nice vinous colour. Quite ripe, almost chocolate dairy milk. Ripe, juicy, plummy. Good acids and grip.

Ant Mackenzie: Dusty, sappy, evolved. palate is generous, silky and midweight. Good. Dave McKee: Lighter end of the scale for hue and depth. Nose is quite closed. Sound, commercial style. Clean fruit, nice oak, moderate length.


Dave McKee: Moderate hue. Very ripe style, with concentration. Lacks some freshness.

Craft Series Journey I Marlborough Pinot Noir 2014

Simon Nash: Mid to dark vinous colour. Quite smoky, almost minty, broth. Green-edged, quite chewy tannin structure. A bit hard, especially on finish.

Simon Nash: Quite pale. Strawberry, toasty, honeycomb. Soft almost fleshy, but lacks depth and concentration. Quite short.

Dave McKee: primary fruit notes with hint of reduction. Early drinking and approachable.


Ant Mackenzie: Faded, earthy nose. Very bold and drying palate. Reasonably good fruit weight.

Domaine-Thomson “Explorer� Single Vineyard Central Otago Pinot Noir 2017

Ant Mackenzie: Savoury, funky, earthy. Chunky/sappy tannins. Quite youthful.

WineNZ Magazine | Autumn 2018


Ant Mackenzie: Lifted, slightly vegetal, faded fruit. Red berry fruits and savoury oak. Bright, mid-weight. OK. Dave McKee: Light to medium hue, ruby showing some oxidation. Strawberry, cherry fruit are evident on what is a lighter-structured pinot with some finesse.


pinot noir | tastings

pinot noir Babich Winemakers’ Reserve Marlborough Pinot Noir 2016


Simon Nash: Quite round and lifted. Soft on palate. Ant Mackenzie: Savoury, developed nose. Soft, round, appealing palate. Some slight hardness. Dave McKee: Moderate hue and depth. Hint of S02. Hint of residual sugar or low acid. Moderate length. Very youthful.


Zephyr Marlborough Pinot Noir 2016 Simon Nash: Mid-ruby colour. Soft mid-palate fruit. A slight hard edge. Mineral. A chewy tannin structure. Ant Mackenzie: Evolved and slightly green. Ash. Tough and thin palate. Dave McKee: Lighter end of scale for depth and hue. Elegance with some nice wrapping tannins. Moderate length.

The Ned Marlborough Pinot Noir 2016

Waimea Nelson Pinot Noir 2016

Simon Nash: Lighter colour. Smoky, raspberry, cherry. Solid mid-weight fruit.

Simon Nash: Light, quite diffuse. Cherry, quite loose-knit. Some midpalate strawberry. Lacks real grip/ depth.

Ant Mackenzie: Funky, earthy nose. Quite extracted palate with bright acid. Dave McKee: Moderate depth, quite light concentration. Greener end of fruit scale. Elegant with nice balance and length.



Ant Mackenzie: Light florals, greener, dusty notes. Faded palate but a pleasant drinking wine. Dave McKee: Moderate depth — some oxidative notes. Soft, textured with well-rounded tannins. Approachable wine. Sound, commercial.


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Villa Maria Cellar Selection Marlborough Pinot Noir 2016


Simon Nash: Good, pale vinous colour. Lifted with cola notes. Soft, quite round on palate. Lacks real grip. Sound, but light. Ant Mackenzie: Open, focused nose. palate lacks some sweetness. Dave McKee: Lighter end of scale for depth. Has vibrant purple youthfulness. Nice fruit expression. Quite long, linear palate.

Rossendale Reserve Canterbury Pinot Noir 2016


Simon Nash: Quite intense looking. A tad charred. Hard-edged on the nose. Solid mid-palate fruit. Chewy, round, some richness. Quite good. Ant Mackenzie: perfumed but quite evolved. Soft, generous palate. Spicy/oaky. Dave McKee: Moderate hue. A degree of richness and spice. Evolved.


WineNZ Magazine | Autumn 2018

HĂŁhĂŁ Marlborough Pinot Noir 2016 Simon Nash: Pale, quite chewy. Ruby. Light, quite juicy, mid-weight fruit and acids. Ant Mackenzie: Evolved, slightly dilute nose. Dusty. Dave McKee: Moderate hue. More ruby, garnet. Oxidative note. Has all the boxes ticked, just lacking a bit on integration.


introduction | tasting

Waitaki hits its straps


here’s no such thing as a typical winery, but there are types. Some are “showy” with lots of public relations support, impressive architecture, labels and branding budgets.

Others simply produce great wine. However, not all those who produce great wine have equally great success, because without some of the aforementioned showiness, it is hard to stand out from the crowd. When a business with all the promotional razzamatazz in place also regularly produces five-star wine, then they should have a formula for big things. Of course, it isn’t quite that simple, as many consumers’ purchases are driven by price as much as quality. And the distribution of stock through the various agents and supermarkets also has to be successfully negotiated. It is a mystical process, more often driven by dollars and cents than five stars and gold medals. After agents and retailers get their snouts in, the meagre profit on a bottle is enough to make you weep.

pinot gris, which is earthy and elegant. Grant Taylor has produced chardonnay under his own label from the region, he has produced riesling for Crown Range Cellar from there, and now pinot gris too. Grant was born in Waitaki, and the pinot gris grapes are produced on the aptly named Grant’s Road. It is an area of wide-open spaces, not the crowded tourist mecca Central Otago has become.

But this magazine is more about celebrating the quality in the wine industry, and the great wine people, as it is the commercial realities. One business that ticks the boxes of making spectacular wine while knowing how to be a bit showy and get their name in lights is Crown Range Cellar. In our 20th anniversary issue back in Summer 15/16, we featured Crown Range Cellar and its founder Jing Song as the new face of New Zealand wine after the winery won a major pinot noir trophy in London. It then followed up with five stars and the top wine award in this magazine’s pinot noir tasting, underlining that its overseas success wasn’t a flash in the pan. Since then, the business — which does not grow its own grapes — has expanded its range with varieties from different growers. And by picking the right producers, the successes keep coming. In the pinot gris tasting for this issue, Crown Range Cellar’s Moon Rock was judged the top wine, and only one of two five-star winners. When looking for a region to produce grapes for a top-quality pinot gris, Hawke’s Bay was probably the front runner for the Crown Range

Grant also claims the pinot noir he produces from the area is as good, if not better, than that coming from Central Otago. Jing Song and Grant Taylor.

Cellar team, but after examining the evidence, Jing chose to back legendary winemaker Grant Taylor, who was responsible for producing the brilliant Grant Taylor signature range pinot noir that kicked off the winery’s success story. Grant has his own Valli winery, and as well as producing brilliant Central Otago pinots, he is one of the pioneers of the Waitaki Valley in Otago, where there have been vineyards since the 1990s, but, to date, the region hasn’t kicked on to become a serious player on the wine scene. One reason is that the area is climatically inconsistent. Some years southeasterly winds have done horrendous damage to flowering vines. It isn’t an easy place to grow grapes, but, as with Central, wines from the climatic edge can be spectacular when the stars align. And so it is with the Crown Range Cellar

And then there is the wine’s name, which is part of the fairy dust that Crown Range Cellar’s Jing sprinkles so well on her products. The name was inspired by the crystals of selenite which are found around Lake Aviemore. The Greek word selēnitēs  translates as stone of the moon, or moon stone. And the final marketing twist with Moon Rock wine is, like some selenite crystals, the bottle’s label glows in the dark, which, I guess, would make it easy to find in a power cut. But in a more serious vein, the wine is spectacular, comes from an emerging region and isn’t too expensive, considering the low production levels in Waitaki and the risks associated with producing wine on the edge of the wine world. If it takes a few tricks, such as glowing labels, to get people tasting it, then so be it. Being judged the top five-star pinot gris in the country might help a little bit too.


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Moon Rock Waitaki Pinot Gris 2016 Simon Nash: Nice, zesty, lemony, bright. Juicy fruits, soft. Lifted acids. Good weight, grip and finish. Very nice. Ant Mackenzie: Fantastic. Complex, rich, pure, broad. Slightly sweet. Very good. Dave McKee: A very good expression with ripe pear and a hint of ginger. Straw hue, youthful. Richer palate weight. Has generous texture.


WineNZ Magazine | Autumn 2018


pinot gris | tastings


Terrace Edge Waipara Pinot Gris 2017 MAGAZINE

Simon Nash: Full colour. Lychees. Round, full, sweaty. Balanced, though, and quite powerful. Ant Mackenzie: Lovely, evolved, ripe stonefruit. Some botrytis, but very good! Very rich, pure Alsace style. Pear drop fragrance. Lovely wine.


Dave McKee: Pale gold hue, showing some oxidation nose. Salty/soapy palate with good concentration. Could be a love it or hate it wine, but I can’t fault it.


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Askerne Hawke’s Bay Pinot Gris 2017

Three Miners Central Otago Pinot Gris 2017

Simon Nash: Bright. Slightly sour edge, lemony though. Good fruit midpalate. Quite smoky, good acids and mouthfeel.

Simon Nash: Lemony smoke. Off dry, sound mid-weight. Good, crisp, balanced and well made. Finishes well.

Ant Mackenzie: Floral pear drop. Concentrated. Creamy nuance. Good. A well-managed palate. Pure and balanced.

Ant Mackenzie: Lighter apple/pear aromas. Measured palate, in keeping with elegance on nose. Lovely freshness and balance.

Dave McKee: Moderate straw hue, spice/pear fruit notes. Medium, fresh and simple palate. Nice fruit focus and good length.

Dave McKee: Very faint pink tinge. Nutty/musty nose. Rich palate. Concentration and very good length. I like the weight/acid balance.

Babich Marlborough Pinot Gris 2017

Waimea Nelson Pinot Gris 2017

Simon Nash: Bright, fresh-looking. Lemony notes. Beginning to open out. Nice mouthfeel, some viscosity. Well balanced. Nice, smoky finish. Very interesting wine.

Simon Nash: Bright full. Quite nice lemon and sherbet. Quite tight palate. Good balanced acids. Well made. Good finish.

Ant Mackenzie: Floral, pure, slight lanolin notes. Slightly dilute palate but otherwise good balance and flavour.

Ant Mackenzie: Savoury notes on the spectrum of sweat and hard cheese. Excellent palate with texture and richness. Slightly unusual, but good.

Dave McKee: Ginger/spice with citrus, florals. Interesting nose. Nice handling of residual sugar/extract.

Dave McKee: Straw hue. Medium palate. Bright acidity and moderate length/extract.

WineNZ Magazine | Autumn 2018



pinot gris | tastings



Theory & Practise Hawke’s Bay Pinot Gris 2017

Villa Maria Single Vineyard Seddon Marlborough Pinot Gris 2017

Simon Nash: Classic gold tinge. Good fruit, well-managed, good palate. An interesting wine.

Simon Nash: Bright. Nice, smoky reserved style. Oily. Good on palate. Tight, nice acids. Lemony, focused. Very long.

Ant Mackenzie: Creamy/soda nose, unusual and interesting. Nice weight and texture with a lovely floral finish. Dave McKee: Very clean, pure fruit expression. Medium residual sugar. Bright and fresh. A very well made pinot gris.


Ant Mackenzie: Floral but slightly eggy/creamy. Well put together palate with freshness and weight. Dave McKee: Straw hue. Spice with ginger and a hint of stonefruit. Broad, fleshy palate. More European in style. Quite interesting length.


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Lime Rock Hawke’s Bay Pinot Gris 2015

Zephyr Marlborough Pinot Gris 2017

Simon Nash: Off gold. Musky nose. Rose, some lychee. Off-dry, some bready notes.

Simon Nash: Nice full colour. Lemon, rich, some extraction. Mouth-filling. Ripe. A sweeter finish.

Ant Mackenzie: Earthy, honey, meaty. Rich, round, full style. Slightly off dry. Good all round.

Ant Mackenzie: Ripe citrusy notes, pure and focused. Palate has some complex notes. Overall, fresh and pure.

Dave McKee: Spice with hint of honey. Medium palate weight. Gentle, elegant.

Dave McKee: Pale straw, green-tinged, fresh and bright. Lifted fruit that continues on to the palate with a hint of oily texture.

Babich Black Label Marlborough Pinot Gris 2017


Simon Nash: Full lemon gold colour. Quite round, smoky. Young and likely to develop further.


Leefield Station Marlborough Pinot Gris 2017 Simon Nash: Bright. Bready, lemony. Some smoky notes, bitter lemon.

Ant Mackenzie: Ripe, round, dense, some oak or high in alcohol. Opens up on palate. Rich, dry and complex style.

Ant Mackenzie: Floral/pineapple fruit. Good concentration of aroma. Very good palate. Reasonable nose, but lovely overall balance.

Dave McKee: Spice with a hint of Macintosh toffee. Good balance of sugar/acidity. Nice fruit and a solid wine.

Dave McKee: Straw hued. Floral with hints of pear. Salty front palate (site or cellar influence?). Crunchy palate. Zingy!

*On premise only

WineNZ Magazine | Autumn 2018



pinot gris | tastings

Pinot Gris


Hãhã Hawke’s Bay Pinot Gris 2017

Hunter’s Marlborough Pinot Gris 2017

Simon Nash: Lifted, Pear. Slightly sweaty fruit, but sound.

Simon Nash: Fresh, nice pear. Clean, lifted, not complex but sound. Some lively characters. Will develop.

Ant Mackenzie: Pure aromas — apple, talc and pear. Slightly grippy texture, but overall positive balance. Dave McKee: Pale straw. Turkish delight nose. Very expressive. Concentrated front palate. Precise. Lovely fruit expression.



Ant Mackenzie: A dense aroma. Peach and biscuit notes. Oily, rich palate. Quite pure and dry on the finish. Dave McKee: Bright fruit. Lifted, crunchy and fresh. Soundly made.

Villa Maria Marlborough Cellar Selection 2017

Thornbury Waipara Pinot Gris 2017

Simon Nash: Bright. Lime cordial. Quite crisp, fresh, light and focused. Good intensity.

Simon Nash: Full colour. Quite oily, orange essence and soft. Sherbet, good palate. Soft, mandarin.

Ant Mackenzie: Floral, peach with lanoline notes. Textured palate with richness and extract giving balance.

Ant Mackenzie: Waxy/lanoline nose. Some toastiness. Rich, generous palate. Good. Lovely balance.

Dave McKee: Straw hue with faint pink tinge. Spice and florals. Medium sweetness. Reasonable mid palate.

Dave McKee: Very pale straw, elegant, flint/mineral note. Interesting wine. Good palate. A solid commercial style.



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Ara Single Estate Marlborough Pinot Gris 2017


Simon Nash: Full colour. Not especially defined. Lemon edge with hints of other fruits. Ant Mackenzie: Creamy/pineapple/ quince. Good balance of fruit and complexity. Excellent balance. Oily, textured. Very good. Dave McKee: Very pale. Estery fruit with SO2 evident. Moderate flesh, medium texture. Soundly made.


Simon Nash: Bright. Soft and broad. Quite round and sweaty. Ant Mackenzie: Ripe peach, quite pure. Bright fruit notes. Lovely, fresh acid. Good.

Left Field Hawke’s Bay Pinot Gris 2017

Simon Nash: Bright. Nice, crisp pear notes. Off-dry, quite balanced, limes and citrus, through to pear. A sound finish.

Simon Nash: Quite full body. Nice, rounder, fragrant character. Off-dry, lime juice, good acids. Quite light.

Dave McKee: Pure expressive fruit showing freshness. Medium palate weight. Shows fresh, clean. Shy.

WineNZ Magazine | Autumn 2018


Dave McKee: Toffee/cloudy nose with straw hue. Oxidative style. Euro impact on palate. Rich.

Bladen Marlborough Pinot Gris 2016

Ant Mackenzie: Dusty, slight caramel. Mid weight, lovely palate balance. Rich, pure.


Mt Hector Wairarapa Pinot Gris 2017

Ant Mackenzie: Savoury spicy nose. A touch of dankness. Bright acid and textured tannin. Dry and refreshing. Dave McKee: Straw hue. Rose, Turkish delight. Spicy. Very good sugar/residual sugar balance with extract and acidity. Moderate length.


pinot gris | tastings

Pinot Gris


Weaver Estate Wines Central Otago Pinot Gris 2017

Matahiwi Estate Wairarapa Pinot Gris 2017

Simon Nash: Almost ice cream soda nose. Quite confected, almost candyfloss.

Simon Nash: Mid colour. Quite dry, paper. Some lemon, reasonable mid body.

Ant Mackenzie: Delicate, talcum powder nose. Sweeter and perhaps with some oak. Palate quite different to nose but it works.

Ant Mackenzie: Advanced colour, slightly oxidised nose. Quite textured palate and reasonably neutral.

Dave McKee: Pale straw. Lifted floral, perfumed. Bright and expressive. Medium weight. Clean and fresh. Soundly made.


Dave McKee: Closed, slightly nutty note. Or musty. Mid palate showing concentration. Medium length.

Esk Valley Hawke’s Bay Pinot Gris 2017

Giesen Estate Marlborough Pinot Gris 2017

Simon Nash: Gris tinge. Soft on entry. Semi smoky and oily notes. Off dry.

Simon Nash: Bright. Quite a shy nose. Hint of roses. Fresh, quite clean, some lemony/smoky aspects. Still developing.

Ant Mackenzie: Dense, biscuity nose. Sweet, rich palate. Slightly oily. Dave McKee: Hint of colour (pink) hue. Caramel/toffee. Spice with ginger. Juicy palate. Crisp front palate and surprising length. Moderate complexity.



Ant Mackenzie: Lightly floral, some darkness. Slightly chalky palate. Dry, rich style. Dave McKee: Spicy, lifted nose, fresh. OK residual sugar balance with acidity to match. Moderate length.


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The King’s Thorn Marlborough Pinot Gris 2017


Simon Nash: Bright. Smoky, quite charry, complex nose. Round, good body and mouthfeel from wood. Quite complex. Dry and with smoky notes. Ant Mackenzie: Unusual milky eggy notes, earthy and a little dank. Palate quite soapy but good. Fruit flavour underneath. Dave McKee: Ginger/honey spiced nose. Straw. Some salty texture. Good length.

PINOT GRIS Rossendale Marlborough Pinot Gris 2017 Simon Nash: Quite full looking. Very sweaty with lemon notes. Interesting on palate. Strong statement, almost fume blanc. Clean, powerful, a bit twodimensional. Ant Mackenzie: Quite different. Passionfruit, thiol notes. Interesting interpretation of style, but well made all the same. Dave McKee: Very faint hint of pink. Moderate hue. Strong sweaty thiol character. Slightly disjointed but interesting.


Vidal Estate Hawke’s Bay Pinot Gris 2017 Simon Nash: Bright. Lifted lemony character, hint of fume. Nice, tight structure. Lemon, juicy, off-dry, quite long. A bit soft on the finish.


Ant Mackenzie: Medium weight nose with a goaty complexity. Palate opens up to show floral peach notes. Decent balance.

The Ned Marlborough Pinot Gris 2017


Simon Nash: Salmon skin colour, a little metallic. Smoky. Hard-edged under sweet entry. Ant Mackenzie: Pink/orange colour. Few aromatics but clean and pleasant. Open floral and pure palate. Nice balance. Dave McKee: Pink-tinged hue. Some fruit on nose. I like the balance of residual sugar and extract. Well handled. Moderate length and distinctive style.

Dave McKee: Straw hue. Nice fruit, clean with some interest. Medium sweetness. A hint of green to the acidity shortens the palate.

Akarua Central Otago Pinot Gris 2017 Simon Nash: Light pale. Resiny, oily but also a little thin. Interesting. Ant Mackenzie: Dank, slightly cheesy but opens up to share delicate fruit. Palate a touch bright but shows freshness. Dave McKee: Very pale — lemon floral notes on nose. Not overly vibrant or expressive. Medium fruit weight. Some ripe extract with good concentration/punch.


WineNZ Magazine | Autumn 2018


introduction | tastings

who drinks sticky wines?


ho drinks dessert wines these days? That question was debated around the table as the WineNZ judges and associates took a lunch break during the summer tasting event at EIT in Hawke’s Bay. And there was a fair amount of head scratching. With the less formal eating habits of Kiwi society, the place once reserved for dessert wine — at the end of a multi-course formal meal — seems to have all but disappeared. There was a suggestion during discussion at one of the tastings a couple of years ago that dessert wines might become more common as an aperitif, served before a meal, but that doesn’t seem to have been the case to any great extent. It would be a very unusual barbecue if you found sticky wines on the table of drinks brought by guests, or offered by hosts. And there’s the rub: the place for dessert

You should always keep a bottle of sticky wine in the pantry in case Harry and Meghan drop by for dinner.

wines is a white-tablecloth setting, say the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle — not a late summer barbeque on the deck of a suburban house in Invercargill. One of the team said the only place he had seen dessert wine being consumed in recent years was at restaurants, where the bill was being taken care of by someone’s expense account. Ordering a bottle of sticky was often because “it was the thing to do”, or to impress the guests. But these wines continue to be made, and, presumably, sell, so someone must be drinking them. The export market does soak up some dessert wine, as more formal dining environments in the northern hemisphere may lend themselves to higher sticky consumption. And it was Japanese-owned, Hawke’s Bay-based Osawa winery that carried off the top trophy at our dessert tasting. Victory in our tastings is not new to Osawa as they won our summer bubbles event a couple of years ago, with their

Prestige Collection Hawke’s Bay Methode Traditionelle Brut NV entry. As with the bubbles, the winning Noble Gewürztraminer 2016 was made by Rod McDonald, a former New Zealand winemaker of the year, top judge and the driving force behind Rod McDonald Wines, a rapidly growing brand, headquartered at Te Awanga in Hawke’s Bay. Osawa’s grapes come from its vineyards at Maraekakaho, inland and at a higher altitude than Hawke’s Bay’s main vineyards. The Osawa team now produces 11 varieties and over quarter of a million bottles annually. Most go to Japan, making Osawa one of the biggest Kiwi wine exporters to that country. The Noble Gewürztraminer is mostly exported to Japan, although it is also sold in New Zealand. So next time you have a white tablecloth dinner party, and need a sticky, hunt it down and you’ll have the country’s best.


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Osawa Prestige Collection Hawke’s Bay Noble Gewürztraminer 2016 Simon Nash: Nice, zesty, lemony, bright. Juicy fruits, soft, lifted acids. Good weight, grip and finish. Very nice. Ant Mackenzie: Lovely, floral, creamy, spicy. Very well balanced palate. Very good. Dave McKee: Yellow gold. Aromatic. Honey botrytis carried by very good sugar/acid balance.


WineNZ Magazine | Autumn 2018


dessert wines | tastings


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Villa Maria Late Harvest Marlborough Riesling 2013

Simon Nash: Full gold, bright. Lifted, lime zest. Nice juicy lemony zest. Clean, good acidity mid-weight. Good. Ant Mackenzie: Honed, nice botrytis, some citrus but mainly creamy nuance. Great balance. Sweet/acid. Dave McKee: Straw gold. Bright fruit. Fresh. Good balance of all elements.


Craft Farm Late Harvest Hawke’s Bay Gewurztraminer 2016 Simon Nash: Full weight, rich lemon, daffodil, maybe honeysuckle. Perfumed, quite fragrant.


Ant Mackenzie: Perfumed, pure floral notes. Good botrytis and fruit notes. Dave McKee: Yellow gold. Very good aromatics. Palate has purity and lovely balance.

Villa Maria Reserve Botrytis Selection Marlborough Noble Riesling 2015

The King’s Series A Sticky End Marlborough Noble Sauvignon Blanc 2017

Simon Nash: Nice, bright but quite rich. Marmalade, lime and lemon. Chunky. Full-on entry, a bit diffused.

Simon Nash: Full weight, rich lemon, daffodil, maybe honeysuckle. Perfumed, quite fragrant.

Ant Mackenzie: Lovely, waxy/apricot notes. Excellent balance and purity.

Ant Mackenzie: Perfumed, pure floral notes. Good botrytis and fruit notes.

Dave McKee: Yellow gold, with a sweet/sour palate. Textured, finishing a touch phenolic.

Dave McKee: Yellow gold. Very good aromatics. Palate has purity and lovely balance.



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Hunter’s Hukapapa Marlborough Dessert Riesling 2014

Pegasus Bay Encore Canterbury Noble Riesling 2016

Simon Nash: Deep lime gold, bright through. Quite intense, a tad soapy.

Simon Nash: Nice deep, dark, bright. Clover, honey. Good clean fruit. Quite intense. Good length and acids. Nice grip.

Ant Mackenzie: Waxy, developed/ creamy. Sweet but high acid. Dave McKee: Pale yellow gold. Wax/honey with hint of citrus florals. Well made with balance. Crunchy midpalate. Fresh.



Ant Mackenzie: Citrus, mineral, spice. Bright, juicy palate. Good balance. Dave McKee: Aromatic. Yellow straw gold. Good sugar/acid balance.

Awatere River by Louis Vavasour Late Harvest Marlborough Gewurztraminer 2016

The Ned Marlborough Noble Sauvignon Blanc 2017

Simon Nash: Full gold, though bright. Quite funky. Rich, round, soft, quite unctuous but soft on the finish.

Simon Nash: Full, bright lemon gold. Quite feathery. Ripe. Good grip. A slightly buttery finish.

Ant Mackenzie: Very developed, still quite earthy or grubby. Good palate. Rich, pure.

Ant Mackenzie: Slightly reduced, rubbery character. Palate — good balance sugar/acid. Full, clean finish.

Dave McKee: Yellow-brown gold. Beeswax/honey. A more Sauternes style. Opulent with low acid. Nice balance.

Dave McKee: Yellow straw gold. Late harvest. Very fresh and youthful. Well made.

WineNZ Magazine | Autumn 2018



dessert wines | tastings

Dessert wines


Babich Family Estates Cowslip Valley Marlborough Riesling 2016

Akarua Central Otago Alchemy 2017

Simon Nash: Nice pale full lemon. Grated lemon peel. Soft, less botrytis influence.

Simon Nash: Bright full gold. Quite serious, hokey pokey. Toasted. Soft, juicy, sound.

Ant Mackenzie: Slightly biscuit, earthy, savoury. Not quite there on the palate.

Ant Mackenzie: Lifted citrus, mandarin, but slightly dusty/medicinal. Slightly cloying palate.

Dave McKee: Pale yellow straw. Late harvest style. Restrained. CO2 gives some freshness. Relatively low botrytis influence.

Askerne Hawke’s Bay Noble Semillon 2016



Dave McKee: Yeasty/beer number. A slightly disjointed texture.

Lime Rock Late Harvest Hawke’s Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2016

Simon Nash: Nice, bright, full colour. Sherbet, lifted lemon, not complex though. Quite soft. Round, midweight.

Simon Nash: Bright, lemon. Scented. Soft, clean but short.

Ant Mackenzie: Open, citrusy, floral. Nice balance. Floral palate.

Dave McKee: Yellow straw gold. Late harvest style. Has an interesting lees/yeast number that is a bit too dominating.

Dave McKee: Reductive with a stale beer element. Relatively good sugar/ acid balance. Interesting.


Ant Mackenzie: Slightly vegetative, quite dense. Slippery/soapy palate.


feature | cellar door

Hill hideaway

Words by Paul Taggart


An outlook worth climbing a volcano for.

trend in some wine regions has been for wineries to relocate their cellar doors to cities — taking the experience to the people, rather than expecting the people to travel to the vineyards. The theory is that foot traffic past the door will be greater, and the risk of drink driving is removed, as the shorter hop from urban winery to urban home is easier by taxi or Uber, so the car is left in the garage. Northern California has seen a number of urban wineries pop up. In Hawke’s Bay Tony Bish has opened his new venture in the former Rothmans building in the Heart of Napier’s Ahuriri, and Crown Range Cellar has a Central Otago-themed venture on the


WineNZ Magazine | Autumn 2018

blocks in trendy Parnell. The alternative view is that the cluster of wineries in the region where the grapes are grown is a great attraction for tourists, who can be driven on tours or take a bicycle to the various destinations. There is almost certainly room for both types of cellar door in this country, as the whole sector has been on a roll, thanks to the flood of tourists who have been arriving on our shores in recent years. And there is no better example of a flood of tourists than when a cruise ship arrives, as they regularly do at the beautiful Banks Peninsula village of Akaroa. A winery that provides tastings for the cruise passengers, as well as the thousands of other tourists who travel

from Christchurch to the French-themed settlement, is Meniscus, a boutique outfit run by David and Gay Epstein. The Epsteins previously ran the cellar door from a building they own on Rue Lavaud in Akaroa, but they have bucked the trend of moving cellar doors to town, instead relocating recently to right on top of the Meniscus vineyard, which is also next to their home. The new cellar door has some of the exquisite furnishings from the Rue Lavaud building, which was modelled on Monet’s lounge at Giverny. It is a hike up the hill — the rim of a very old volcano — which made me worry for some of the ancient cruise passengers who make the trip on foot. But on arrival, it is a cellar door with a view that is remarkable. The only places

cellar door | feature I can think of that possibly rival it for sheer, breathtaking beauty are Rippon, near Wanaka, and the Man O’ War tasting room on Waiheke Island.

the winery’s riesling, pinot noir and pinot gris, produced from grapes that grow just a few feet away and are a part of the beautiful vista in front of them.

Being out of the town, up Lighthouse Road (which, curiously, is nowhere near the lighthouse) can make the winery difficult to find; a few signs wouldn’t go amiss. But you get the feeling that David and Gay, for whom the winery is a retirement business, are happy with their trickle of customers, who can sit outdoors and enjoy

The grapes are tended by Renan Cataliotti, a French winemaker, who also runs the small French Peak winery on the opposite side of Akaroa harbour. The Epsteins distribute their wines through local restaurants and shops, but sell a good proportion of their relatively

Meniscus carries a good range of the winery’s vintages.

small production run through the cellar door. It isn’t the biggest winery in the world, but it is one of the prettiest, with monarch butterflies (which are a passion for Gay) and tui providing entertainment for those enjoying a leisurely sip of award-winning riesling on the terrace, watching the boats bobbing in the harbour below, and tourists excitedly snapping pictures of a pod of orca that occasionally does the rounds of the harbour, providing a tourist attraction that all the money in the world couldn’t buy.

Some furniture in the cellar door was relocated from the former Meniscus premises in Akaroa, which was a replica of Monet’s lounge at Giverny, France.

David relaxing after serving a party of cruise ship customers. Room with a view: Akaroa harbour through the cellar door’s porthole.

The cellar door has a relaxed feel.

Gay has long had a passion for butterflies and encourages them with appropriate plantings.


feature | wine people’s places

Ivan and Margaret on the steps leading down to the pool.


WineNZ Magazine | Autumn 2018

wine people’s places | feature

Native plants add to charm Wine people’s places extend beyond their houses and surrounding gardens. Charmian Smith discovers Ivan and Margaret Sutherland’s award-winning native plantings and stream restoration as well as their sunny, art-filled vineyard house.


n a corner of the large Dog Point vineyard, a cluster of luminescent white trunks glows surreally in the winter sun. This copse of paper birches stands in stark contrast to the native plantings alongside the Mill Stream nearby and the neat rows of vines beyond. “Margaret and I like doing things a bit differently,” explains Ivan Sutherland of Dog Point in Marlborough. The Sutherlands were keen to show me their project restoring the stream and native plantings alongside as well as their orchards and vegetable gardens for which they won the Cawthron Marlborough Environment Awards in 2017.

“We went in in quite a big way to start with. The reason was to get everyone ingrained into the culture that is required to farm organically and the management regime and the belief that’s needed.”

Mill Stream, which flows down through the rolling vineyard on the southern side of the Wairau Valley, was bordered by rough land and clogged with willows until they started to clear and plant it about 12 years ago. “It seemed like a good idea to plant it in natives, and once we got underway we loved it and now we’ve created a walkway. Our staff like to get in there too when it’s an off-period like before pruning starts, and it’s sometimes an opportunity for them to help plant. It’s something we’ve enjoyed. We haven’t finished; there are still bits to do,” Ivan explains. He worries that trees and shelter belts are being pulled out as vineyards expand across Marlborough, partly to discourage birds that damage ripe grapes. Natives are compatible with vineyards as birds that like natives aren’t interested in grapes — and they net their grapes anyway, he says. “You can co-exist and more thought has to be given to the aesthetic side.” Now there’s a grassy path wandering alongside the stream and across foot bridges that guests at Dog Point’s annual summer picnic can enjoy. In one place, steps wind up a bank to a seat with a view. Further along, high above the stream, the paper birch trunks bask ghostly in the glow of the afternoon sun.

Steps disappear intriguingly up the bank to a seat with a view.

Beyond the creek sheep graze in the vineyard over winter, vegetable gardens and an orchard of peaches, apricots, nectarines, nashis, apples, pears and figs are being established for staff use with a paved barbecue area nearby. The whole area will be netted against the predations of birds, says viticulturist Nigel Sowman who is busy installing drains under a vegetable patch. “We also have pine nuts and olives. We get the oil pressed, and rack and bottle it ourselves mainly for our own use and gifts,” Margaret says. Ivan, a former Olympic rower, grew up in Marlborough on a mixed cropping farm. He and Margaret, a former nurse, met when he was studying at Lincoln. After graduating in the early 1970s they stayed in Christchurch and he worked for the government. “It was quite nice. They gave you extended leave for sport if you were representing the country,” Ivan said.


feature | wine people’s places

Enthused about the young wine industry, in 1978 he and Margaret decided to risk everything and established the 52-acre Dog Point vineyard in partnership with his cousin. Their long, low, rammed-earth house on a vineyard block across the road was built in 1983 by his cousin. “He was a qualified accountant and he and his wife decided they’d shift back into town, so Margaret and I bought their share of the block and the house.” They enlarged it from two bedrooms to five and added extra living space needed for a growing family. A few toys in one of the light-filled living rooms along the sunny northern side of the house are evidence of grandchildren’s visits.


WineNZ Magazine | Autumn 2018

However, the first thing on the drawing board was an underground wine cellar, Ivan said with a laugh. Dug into the clay under the house, it contains more than 1500 bottles. It’s for benchmark tastings at the winery, he explains — as if he needs an excuse for collecting fine and interesting wines.

It’s not for marketing purposes, Ivan explains, but because they believe in it. “We went in in quite a big way to start with. The reason was to get everyone ingrained into the culture that is required to farm organically and the management regime and the belief that’s needed.

At the other end of the house, outside the dining area is a barbecue courtyard with an open fireplace, and a few steps down past a cabbage tree is the swimming pool. A gnarled wisteria hangs along the veranda and, from the sunny terrace, beyond a sculpture, the lawn extends past shrubs into the organic vineyard.

“We’ve always believed that organics improves the structure of the wine, particularly with pinot noir, but we are seeing great plant health. Powdery mildew and botrytis have been a problem in the New Zealand wine industry in the last three or four years, particularly powdery mildew, but honestly we haven’t had such a huge problem.

Although they don’t make a big thing of it, they have operated their extensive vineyards organically for some years.

“We have a colossal amount of emphasis on canopy management and the right fruit to leaf ratio. We are not into big crops so

wine people’s places | feature

Seen from the seat at the top of the steps, one of several footbridges crossing the stream.

Ivan in his wine cellar — the first item on the drawing board

White paper birch trunks glow in the winter sun.

I guess that helps. We like the sun and the wind to do their job. But I strongly believe that natural plant resistance is the way to go.” He believes their careful cropping levels and organic viticulture contributed to their ability to harvest ripe fruit before the big rains of the testing 2017 vintage. “We took in some of the best pinot noir fruit in all the years we’ve been growing it. It was just great.” For many years the vineyard only supplied grapes to other wine producers, including Cloudy Bay, where Ivan worked for 18 years and of which he was one of the New Zealand directors.

“Margaret and I always wanted to do our own label, and I wanted to get into winemaking more. It was enjoyable [at Cloudy Bay], but when the French [luxury goods company LVMH] took over it didn’t have the same autonomy and became a bit more corporate and I decided it was probably time to move on. We were all 50 and we thought if we don’t do it now we never will,” Ivan said. “I was going to bite the bullet and go and make wine; then James [Healy, then winemaker at Cloudy Bay] and I were talking and I came home and discussed it with Margaret and next day I said to him, ‘do you want to have a share of the label?’.

We already owned the vineyards. Margaret and I are the major shareholders, but James and Wendy have come on board, and it’s been a great partnership.” “We didn’t know at the time but we were buying similar wines and we liked similar wine styles. We are two totally different people character-wise, I guess, but we had a lot of commonality associated with wine style and what we preferred and liked, so we were able to talk things through.” Besides their layered, dark-fruited pinot noir, Dog Point produces an excitingly pungent sauvignon blanc, the flinty, funky Section 94 barrel-fermented sauvignon, and a vibrant, complex chardonnay.


feature | wine people’s places For the first decade Ivan and James operated the business with Margaret in the office, Ivan calling himself the apprentice winemaker and James the apprentice viticulturist. However they now have more staff and have expanded production with a growing US market. As they still sell a lot of fruit from their extensive vineyards they have the potential to expand further, but they don’t have a global domination plan, Ivan says with a laugh. The Sutherlands are thrilled their three children have now become involved with the business. “They all came back on their own account. We didn’t entice them back, and their partners have great jobs here in Marlborough,” Ivan said. “That is pretty typical of what has happened in this valley as far as the wine industry goes. Gee, it’s encouraged a lot of people back and very smart knowledgable people. It’s wonderful to see. The industry’s in good heart.” TOP LEFT: A corner of one of the artfilled living rooms. TOP RIGHT: A sunny sitting area with the pool beyond. LEFT: Margaret busy in the open kitchen.

Our new online store offers wine lovers the ability to curate your own mixed case and taste the best Central Otago vintages. Kinross is the exclusive Cellar Door for superior wines from Coal Pit, Domaine Thomson, Hawkshead, Valli along with legendary winemaker Alan Brady’s Wild Irishman label. Buy award-winning wine direct at

Kinross wine to buy online! e! 58 WineNZ Magazine | Autumn 2018


recipes & restaurants

Death and rebirth

food | well matched

Vic Williams is a seasoned wine and food writer who has spent the last 35 years communicating about their combinations in print and on radio.


in the vineyard

t would be easy for those of a fatalist bent to label autumn as the season of death. Leaves turn golden red because they have lost the chlorophyll that enables them to absorb energy from the sun. The process continues until they wilt and fall to the ground.

However, autumn is also a precursor to the time of rebirth. That energy ends up in the plant’s roots, enabling it to begin a new growth cycle when spring eventually brightens the air. For wine lovers, autumn means that the first wines of the vintage will soon be on the shelves. Vibrantly enthusiastic sauvignon blanc is traditionally first out of the traps, and some companies have begun to market it using the same excited terms as the French employ in announcing the arrival of the year’s first Beaujolais. But youthful exuberance is just one part of the story. Just as exciting can be the discovery of a dust-covered bottle at the cobwebbed end of the cellar and opening it to find that rather than fading, it has matured into a beautiful expression of the winemaker’s art. Wine is a magical substance — and that magic is enhanced and multiplied when it is enjoyed as it should be: as part of a lovingly prepared meal. That is the ethos of this column. The partnerships on these pages have brought pleasure to our table over the past few months, and we hope that they inspire you to discover your own perfect matches in the next few. Enjoy!


WineNZ Magazine | Autumn 2018

Tohu Nelson Pinot Rosé 2017 with Cantonese-style blue cod and tomatoes A cautious amount of sugar stirred into the tomatoes meant that this nicely balanced, just off-dry rosé matched the dish’s flavours perfectly. The wine’s berry-like fruit brought out the best in the cubed fish, marinated overnight with sesame oil, ginger, peanut oil and garlic, while its gentle acids kept the combination refreshing.

well matched | food

Saint Clair Pioneer Block 4 Sawcut Chardonnay 2016 with Harissa/yoghurt-marinated chicken on braised lentils The generous roasted nut aromas and front-palate flavours of this big-hearted chardonnay refused to be intimidated by the mouthheat of the Harissa-infused chicken. The rich fruit and spicy oak through the middle proved a perfect match for the savoury lentils, while the touch of refreshing acid on the finish took care of the yoghurt’s directness.

Hunter’s Marlborough Gewürztraminer 2017 with Zucchini and Halloumi fritters Adding a generous spoonful of chopped ginger to the fritter mix made Gewürztraminer a logical companion, but many are made in a medium style that would have clashed with the Halloumi cheese. With just 4.8gm/l residual sugar, the Hunter’s wine proved perfect. The ginger was evident in the bouquet where it added extra interest to the gentle floral aromas. Spending a bit of time in older oak barrels — an unusual technique for this variety — had added a savoury touch to the flavour profile that matched the fritters point for point.


food | well matched

Nautilus Southern Valleys Pinot Noir 2014 with Eggplant, capsicum and pomegranate seeds A sweet and sour character introduced by the judicious use of honey, red wine vinegar and pomegranate molasses made finding a wine to match this dish difficult, but the Nautilus Pinot was up to the challenge. The smoky notes behind its raspberry aromas sat nicely with the eggplant, while the sweet entry proved perfect with the similar characters in the dish. Typically varietal earthiness through the middle was echoed on the plate and the integrated tannins added just the right amount of grip to the finish. All boxes ticked!

Escudo Rojo Chile Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 with Paprika-dusted lamb cutlets Lamb and cabernet seem to have a natural affinity, and this South American example’s fruit-led elegance was ideal for the pink-cooked cutlets, presented without sauce to enable them to be enjoyed sans cutlery. Escudo Rojo is part of the Baron Philippe de Rothschild portfolio, and there is a touch of French style about the wines. The Cabernet is generous in flavour with smartly integrated tannins that worked nicely with the toothsome texture of the lamb. All-in-all, a most successful match.


WineNZ Magazine | Autumn 2018

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food | bars & restaurants



WineNZ’s galloping gastronomes provide the lowdown on the newest and most exciting establishments especially suited to the wine lover.


19 AC/DC Lane, Melbourne, Australia +61 3 9662 4556


From Peru, with love. xploring the laneways scattered around the CBD is a big part of the Melbourne experience.

Most famous is Hosier Lane, home to Movida and its adjacent sibling, Movida Next Door. Both establishments are constantly packed, and the creative graffiti covering the lane’s walls attracts its own hordes of camera-toting tourists. But there are many other lanes in this cosmopolitan city, and we recently stumbled across one named as a tribute to the Oz-iconic rock band, AC/DC. Like Hosier Lane, AC/DC Lane is totally covered in graffiti, some of it apparently painted by the mystery man of the genre, Banksy, during a secret visit. A recent addition at one end is a wall-sized portrait of founding AC/DC member Malcolm Young, who died a few months ago. And right next to that towering image is one of Melbourne’s most intriguing eateries, Pastuso. Describing itself as a ‘Cevicheria, Pisco bar and Peruvian Grill’, Pastuso offers modern interpretations of South American classics. Head chef Alejandro Saravia has cooked in Barcelona, Paris, London and Sydney, and has worked with Heston Blumenthal at The Fat Duck, but credits his Peruvian grandmother’s cooking for much of his modern-day inspiration. In the restaurant, walls papered with vividly coloured posters introduce an air of excitement. This is a space that feels


WineNZ Magazine | Autumn 2018

Alpaca croquette with Huacatay and Aji Amarillo sauce. Photo by Kristoffer Paulsen

good to step into. The menu is divided into Individuales (individual servings), Ceviche (cured and/ or marinated seafood), Calle (street food) and Fuegos (fire). As is often the case with Australian restaurants, a major emphasis is placed on steak — in this case Gippsland (Victoria) 30-day dry-aged grass-fed beef offered as a 250g eye fillet, 300g rump cap, 400g striploin or, for the truly hungry, 1kg ribeye — hopefully intended to be shared.

Chef Saravia was recently appointed as the official food and beverage ambassador for the Gippsland region and clearly takes his role seriously. The meat awaits its appointment with the flames in a glasswalled cabinet reminiscent of the similar set-up at Neil Perry’s Rockpool on the other side of town. Peru does have a successful wine industry, but many of the nation’s grapes are distilled to become Pisco. The waiter who led us to our (unbooked) table gave a hint of the friendly but correct serving style

bars & restaurants | food Suspiro Limeno — Peruvian custard with Pedro Ximenez meringue dusted with powdered berries. Photo by Kristoffer Paulsen

Cocktails are a big part of the Pastuso experience.

Tiradito de Corbina — Hiramasa kingfish with aji mirasol and miso dressing, crispy nori seaweed and flying fish roe.

Photo by Kristoffer Paulsen

Colourful posters provide a dramatic contrast to the dark timber interior.

The restaurant offers several seating and dining options.

to follow when told that we had heard that beginning with a Pisco Sour was nigh-on compulsory. “You have heard correctly sir,” was his smiling response. And jolly nice they were too, with just the right balance of sweet and sour flavours and a good head of egg white froth. Heading for the Ceviche listings, we shared a Tradito de Trucha (spice cured ocean trout with coriander and chilli oil),

jicama (a crisp-textured tuber), salted cucumber and marigold flowers. Light, gently citric and deliciously refreshing, it was an ideal introduction.

her requested suggestion of a deeply-hued, mouthfillingly rich but pleasantly rustic Piateli Gran Reserve Malbec 2014 from Argentina proved a vinous highlight.

Next up, an alpaca croquette, perfectly crumbed and stuffed with slow-cooked meat adventurously flavoured with huacatay (an Andean mint-like herb) and aji amarillo (a species of chilli). The meat didn’t stand out as being dramatically different from its more common cousins, but it was a tasty mouthful.

The wine section of the drinks list emphasises South America, as it should, with sideways glances to Spain, Italy Alsaçe, Victoria and a few other spots. One pedantic grizzle: Single malts are listed with Bourbon and others under the generic heading ‘Whiskey’. Wrong. When the product comes from Scotland, there is no ‘e’.

We had heard great things about the half-chicken marinated in malt beer and Andean spices before being smoked and roasted, but our modest appetites steered us towards the smaller Chicharron de Pollo (spiced fried chicken pieces atop a lima bean puree). Moist and tender beneath their improbably crisp coating, they were hugely enjoyable. Staff training is obviously a big part of the Pastuso philosophy. We were served by Cami, who was able to accurately describe each dish and dispense excellent wine advice. No Peruvian wines are listed, but

Pastuso is not, as some people think, Peruvian for pasta. The restaurant takes its name from Paddington Bear, who was known as Pastuso when he lived as an orphan in Lima before bring sent to England.

Surprisingly, plenty of Melbourne restaurants are closed on Sunday. Pastuso is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week. Go there.


    


travel | england

Rise and Rise The

of English bubbles

Martin Gillion visits Sussex and Hampshire to sip some remarkably good examples of English sparkling wine. 66

WineNZ Magazine | Autumn 2018


wonder how many of those UK voters gave a thought to the fact that come Brexit time their access to European wines might be curtailed — perhaps quite a bit! Brits who were accustomed to whipping to Calais through the Channel Tunnel for a long weekend of secondhand Gauloises smoke, duck a l’orange and interesting, individual wines sourced from boutique wineries in Burgundy or the Loire may soon be in for a shock on their return journey. In the past, the amount of wine shipped back by holiday makers via the Eurostar would have filled many swimming pools several times over. Daily, probably. Although why swimming pools should

england | travel

Gavin Maxwell, proprietor of Hattingley Valley.

was unimpressed. I was introduced to varieties I’d never heard of. Try Kerner, Dornfelder, Acolon, Dunkelfelder, Reichenstein or Rondo. The list goes on. Not surprisingly, due to similarities of climate, many had Germanic names and nearly all were hybrids rather than the vitis vinifera vines associated with mainstream winemaking. By and large the industry was boutique: the vineyards small ‘destination visits’ where wine sales were often complemented by sales of country pickles, preserves, honey and mead. In most cases I escaped with the enamel on my teeth intact, but, while I admire wines that are crisp and fresh, I really like to keep my tonsils happy. Most of them were dire and expensive. But not all. be a popular measure of reckless storage of liquid is beyond me. But I digress. But now, sacré bleu, gorblimey or WTF! there’s a good chance cases of wine trucked back to St Pancras station will face a considerable surcharge. But all is not lost. By a strange quirk of fate, the situation has arisen at just the point when UK wine is beginning to be noticed.

Whether it is climate change, in a good way, or the availability of better clones and improved viticulture practices, it’s hard to tell. Certainly the quality has improved dramatically and there are a number of producers making serviceable wines, often marketing them through cellar door and restaurant facilities that have become increasingly popular. On a UK trip 20 years ago, I was piqued to look at the emerging UK winemaking industry. I stopped at several wineries in the south and

For even at that early stage, a few producers were making names for themselves. In most cases it was with sparkling wines rather than still whites. Certainly not with their reds. And it is with sparkling wines that the UK is now starting to make waves, not only within the country, but also with export markets where they are winning accolades and medals in prestigious competitions. The Blanc de Blancs of Nyetimber in West Sussex was selected for the Lord Mayor’s banquet shortly after release in 1992.


travel | england

Photo by The Electric Eye Photography

The Hattingley Valley harvest crew hard at work.

Blind tasting comparisons since undertaken by elite Parisian experts, deemed several English examples equivalent, and in some cases superior, to prestigious Champagnes such as Billecart-Salmon and Ayala. In all cases, at a better price.

Cuvée the following year. Both wines were acclaimed. Inclusion in the Lord Mayor of London’s banquet that year recognised the quality and celebrity weddings soon followed the Lord Mayor’s cue. English bubbly had truly arrived.

Of course where fame, if not fortune, is on the cards, the celebs will not be far behind. Just last year celebrated cricketer Ian Botham announced the launch of his own wine brand. The still wines are coming from Australia and New Zealand (good one, Ian) but the sparkling wines are all from the UK.

The wines subsequently took the 1999 International Wine and Spirit Trophy for the Best World Wide Sparkling Wine in the competition.

The rise and rise of English sparkling wines has been nothing short of meteoric. Around the time of my 1996 visit, the market leader in UK quality sparkling wine lay with the efforts of Stuart and Sandy Moss at Nyetimber in West Sussex. In 1986, Stuart, the wealthy Chicago maker of high-end medical supplies and his wife Sandy, an archaeologist and one of North Americas’s leading authorities on Tudor furniture, had purchased Nyetimber, a 900-year-old property in Sussex: one that dated back to Saxon times, was itemised in the Doomsday Book and whose half-timbered manor house, complete with minstrel gallery, dated back to Elizabethan times. Finding their green-sand/chalky soils ripe for Méthode production, they promptly set about importing French expertise and Champagne equipment. In1992 they released their first vintage Blanc de Blancs from their 16ha vineyard, followed by their Classic


WineNZ Magazine | Autumn 2018

The estate has changed hands a number of times since Stuart and Sandy left in 2001. It has expanded from the original 46ha to more than 170ha, all under direct control of the winery and all the bottles proudly acclaim Interesting new architecture is now dotting the winery landscape.

‘The Product of England’. Undoubtedly the success of Nyetimber gave confidence to the future of UK sparkling wines. Browse through the English Wine Producers’ latest website and there is barely one that does not produce a sparkling wine, in some cases several. But while the relative size of individual wine producers in the UK remains small, there are some that have grasped the opportunities in a breathtaking manner. One such is Rathfinny in Alfriston, East Sussex, not far from Hastings of the ‘Battle of’ fame and 30 minutes down the road from Brighton.

england | travel Rathfinny's Historic Flint Barn.

but also includes pinot précoce — an earlier ripening mutation of pinot known in Germany as frühburgunder. Today the estate manages 60 acres (25ha) and also takes in a little fruit from elsewhere. While the winery currently crushes around 200 tonnes, it has capacity for a 500-tonne crush and is looking forward to future development. The Hattingley Valley wines range from their Classic Blanc de Blanc (£30) that has had a little barrel fermentation, a rosé (£30) from pinot and petit meunier as well as a ‘Kings Cuvée’ (£80) that is made only in exceptional years. On my visit last year, Australian Rebecca Fisher, the company’s marketing manager, told me that their last ‘Kings’ wine yielded only 450 bottles. “The interest we’ve had could have seen us sell 1500,” she said. Vineyards in England are growing in size, to become significant businesses.

At Rathfinny, they’ve not done things by halves.

themed’ accommodation in the restored flint barn.

When I visited their Kiwi winemaker Cameron Roucher in 2013 there were already 50 acres (20ha) of vines planted on the rolling hillsides of the old cereal farm. Cam told me there were a further 500 acres (200ha) still to sculpt and plant.

A few counties away, in Hampshire, Hattingley Valley has already made a name for itself, once again with sparkling wine.

Today their plans have come to fruition. The first sparkling wines will be released this year, and the UK wine world is looking forward to the potential production of as many as 1,000,000 bottles from the estate every year. Rathfinny welcomes visitors to their ‘Gun Room’ cellar door and cafe in the restored building reputed to be the gun room for the Duke of Wellington. There is also ‘historically

Established by lawyer Simon Robinson,, who has had experience as a wine lab proprietor and a wine consultant, the 28-acre (11ha) estate near the villages of Upper and Lower Wield in Hampshire — not far from Winchester — was purchased in 2008 and planted in 2010. Their first releases were in 2013. The emphasis is predominately on sparkling wine, although a little pinot noir table wine is also made. The varieties are as you would expect: pinot noir, chardonnay and pinot meunier,

There is no longer any doubt of the ability of UK producers to make quality sparkling wine. Optimism abounds and investment is increasing. Just last year The Daily Telegraph predicted plantings of more than one million vines in the year ahead, mostly with sparkling varieties. In the foreseeable future, if you visit the nascent wine regions of the UK, you are not going to see the swathes of sparkling dedicated vines that are the hallmark of Champagne. It’s an industry that is certainly still in its infancy. But the quality of the resulting wines certainly show the potential that has hitherto been unrecognised. Maybe in the globally warmed future sparkling wines may be travelling on the Eurostar in the opposite direction?


travel | england

Stop lugging the luggage A week in an English cottage can give you a taste of village life, as well as save your backbone!


Rustic, rural luxury – the ideal place to unwind.

f there’s one downside to the travel caper, it’s the packing, unpacking and lugging of suitcases. Narrow flights of stairs for two days in a small hotel near the Sofia in Istanbul, winding cobble-lumped lanes with the trolley case for an overnight in Corfu or a treacherous icy slope to the hotel in Helsinki before the morning ferry for St Petersburg can really do your travelling head in, as well as your back. But the alternative is in the ‘less is more’ department. Locate yourself in one place for a decent length of time and ignore the things you can’t easily get to but really enjoy what is available within a walk or a short drive. You’ll only have to deal with the suitcases once. It’s been our philosophy for quite a while now, and when it comes to the English countryside, the rented cottage option is great. It’s easy to rent them online and you can almost always find one with a heritage twist or a location that holds some interest in its own right.

( just around the corner. Great atmospheric cottage, lovely garden and well equipped to the point of having really nice crystal wine glasses. No humping of cases for a full week. Magic. 2018 will see us renting a cottage on a farm in Gloucestershire, complete with alpacas — the benign animals that spit in your face when startled or annoyed.

For our latest trip, where we did the research for this English bubbly piece, we took a cottage in Lyndhurst, slap dap in the middle of the New Forest where the ponies and donkeys not only have free rein but also right of way on the roads and byways. Lyndhurst’s lovely village and our cottage just a short walk from the centre, the great Horse and Hounds pub, the New York-styled deli (but with decent coffee) and the major road to Portsmouth and the Mary Rose museum

I’ve been told that the Kiwi accent gives them a bit of a stir up. But we’ll see. Maybe a Kiwi drawl from Gore will trick them into thinking the rolling r’s are straight from Hampshire?

A walk in the woods is a good way to sharpen the appetite.

Cute accommodation in available everywhere in the English countryside – at a price.

Real reviews

The Rathfinny cellar door.


WineNZ Magazine | Autumn 2018

WineNZ travel is self-funded and honest. We do not accept junkets from airlines or hotels to say nice things.

THE PERFECT SAV Sales Advisory Valuation

When uncorking the potential of your property depends on accurate and insightful valuation along with knowledgeable sales experience – talk to the experts. SALES Mike Laven 021 681 272 Hadley Brown 027 442 3539

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motoring | audi sq5


AUDI'S ALL-ROUNDER The Audi SQ5 covers the range from shopping trips to towing the boat — and it is even useful around the vineyard. But on the open road, it excels.

Above: Audi’s SQ5 isn’t big, but there’s plenty of room for the necessities — golf clubs, case of wine, shotgun and a schnauzer.


WineNZ Magazine | Autumn 2018


Words and pictures by Paul Taggart

or the past few years, the WineNZ runabout has been a Hyundai diesel all-wheel-drive ix35. It is used to drop off boxes of magazines or pick up cases of wine, and it can do some mild off-roading in the vineyard, handles Central Otago when there is snow on the ground, but also scrubs up reasonably well for trips to the big city.

It’s a remarkable vehicle with an efficient, reliable diesel engine and in many ways it is hard to imagine what else you could need in a runabout. But what we need and what we want can be two very different things, and when you slip behind the wheel of an Audi SQ5 TDi, the Hyundai begins to feel and sound a little bit agricultural. The two mid-sized SUVs aren’t dissimilar in looks from some angles, as our pictures show, but while the Korean is an easygoing dependable donkey, the German is a thoroughbred. Audis have always been understated, unlike some of their Teutonic cousins; they are well-engineered, quality vehicles, but don’t shout “look at me”. They’re more for successful accountants or dentists, rather than property speculators or internet entrepreneurs who might be more suited to a Porsche or BMW. The ix35’s two-litre diesel is the best of the three engines the Korean SUV was fitted with, and although a good, reliable unit, the car feels like a Massey Ferguson 35 after I had spent some time behind the wheel of the Audi.

audi sq5 | motoring

here at about 60 per cent of the new cost. Even when Kiwi dealers bring the vehicles in and add their mark-up, the saving can be substantial. One person I know picked up a near-new SQ5 with low kms with a $50,000plus saving on the new price — that’s not much more than the cost of a new Korean vehicle.

The only rational argument for buying the Hyundai over the Audi would be because it is more sensible. It has a 136kW engine (the Audi’s is 260kW), and the latest version of the Korean car (now re-branded the Tucson) costs $64,000 for the top-of-the-range diesel (the Audi is more like $140,000). But it would be even more sensible to buy a bike. Or catch the bus. People who can afford it — and some who can’t — will always want something better than their neighbour has. And the SQ5 is something better, without rubbing the neighbour’s nose in it. He’ll know it’s classy, or course, because of the four rings on the grill, but it won’t mock him as inadequate in the same way a Mercedes S65 AMG might.

The big question here is can a vehicle like this justify writing a cheque for $140,000? There are many with substantial incomes who can easily answer yes to that question. Others may balk and settle for something Korean. But there is another option which you won’t read about in most car publications because the writers need to brown-nose the new car dealers to keep the free trips and test cars rolling in. That is, buying used, especially used imports, not only from the traditional Japanese market, but the UK too. Diesels are out of favour in Britain and the pound has been suffering serious trauma because of the Brexit brouhaha. Many good quality, low miles four-wheeldrive vehicles can be bought there and landed

The importing hassles are not for everyone. There isn’t the warranty security of a locallybought vehicle and there are other risks, but if it works you can get a lot more car on your driveway for the same amount of money — even a car like the Audi SQ5.

ABOVE: Inside there is the usual German quality and efficiency. TOP LEFT: The three-litre diesel has no worries towing a decent-sized boat. BELOW: Hyundai’s ix35 (left) is half the price of the SQ5. Is the Audi twice as good? Maybe.

But at the end of the day, it is how it feels to drive that is important — and this car is a beauty. It isn’t a big SUV (think Range Rover), so it can slip into parks at the supermarket with no worries. It has enough room for the golf clubs or the shotguns, it handles very well, and it goes like stink, having been the fastest diesel vehicle on the market when it first came out. The three-litre, twin turbo motor is absolutely amazing. When did diesels become like this? I guess sometime after Audi used one to win Le Mans in 2006. How does it compare with other SUVs, including its big brother the Q7? There are many good vehicles in this category, from Jaguar, Land Rover, Porsche, BMW and even the Japanese. What you buy really depends on the purpose — many are big-city status symbols, dragging about four-wheel-drive systems that may never be used in anger. They can also be beasts to park and it can be pricey to fill their tanks. The SQ5 offers another option — understated luxury, some off-road ability, enough grunt to tow a boat, sports car-like power and handling in a size that works well when nipping in to a park at the mall.

Real reviews WineNZ staff don’t accept all-expenses-paid trips to Japan or Italy like some Kiwi motoring writers. We write genuine reviews, not promotional copy dressed up as journalism. If we say a car is good, it is because it is — not because we’ve had a great night out in the Tokyo karaoke bars on the credit card of Mr Yamamoto.


last word


baloney It doesn't look like sauvignon blanc to me.

W By The Old Soak

hat have we learnt from the recent publicity over Pernod Ricard’s decision to put Australian sauvignon blanc, dressed up as Marlborough sauvignon blanc, into the Kiwi market?

One lesson is that a good brand can take a lot of abuse before it is totally de-based. Montana was founded by Croatian Ivan Yukich, who first planted vines in west Auckland in 1934. It expanded into Marlborough in the seventies and began exporting in 1980. The business grew to become a well-regarded publicly listed company. It will be remembered by many as the sponsor of the Montana Book Awards, a major Kiwi cultural event for more than 15 years. The business was bought by Allied Domecq in 2001, then four years later that company was bought by Pernod Ricard, the current owners. The Montana name was dropped for exports by Pernod Ricard, being replaced by Brancott Estate in 2010 to avoid “market confusion” with the state of Montana. The last time I checked there were eight wineries in the state of Montana, all tiny. One US wine commentator said, “Due to its location in the far northern United States, Montana isn’t much of a grape-growing state.”


WineNZ Magazine | Autumn 2018

But that’s OK; Pernod Ricard is free to trash a once-great New Zealand brand name as it thinks fit. The problem with their recent move of putting Australian sauvignon blanc into bottles and passing it off as Montana — a brand that was one of the original Marlborough industry pioneers — is that they are trashing the whole of the New Zealand wine industry. If they are exporting cheap Australian wine to New Zealand, what reason could they have for putting an iconic Marlborough sauvignon blanc name on it and not an Australian brand name, other than to deceive? But here’s a thought. At the time Pernod Ricard announced they were rebranding as Brancott Estate because of confusion with the Montana name, the company’s marketing people also said the name Marlborough caused confusion, as it was not associated with New Zealand wine, but, rather, Marlboro cigarettes. Maybe Pernod Ricard has a point — an easy way to avoid confusing New Zealand’s billion dollar-plus export with a brand of American cigarettes is to not put Marlborough on the bottles, but use “produce of Australia” in tiny print on the back instead. These marketing folk are very smart, indeed.

Winter tastings In the next issue we’ll be tasting Bordeaux blends, plus wines made from the individual Bordeaux red varieties: merlot, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, petit verdot and malbec. We will also be tasting chardonnay. There will be a Top Wine award for the highest scoring blend, plus Top Wine awards for each of the single variety wines. Invitations to the winter tastings will be sent to wineries and importers shortly. PO Box 33 494, Barrington, Christchurch 8244 03 329 9991


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Your wine authority in New Zealand (and beyond!).

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Your wine authority in New Zealand (and beyond!).