new zealand photo
 
 

New Zealand White Wine

A wonderful country. I spent a year in New Zealand and toured both north and south islands. Wine making is a relatively new venture in the land of the long white cloud. There were virtually no grapes planted on south island until the 1970s! And already cool climate Marlborough has given the world a completely new style of wine with it's sensational sauvignon blanc. Love it or hate it, there's no other wine in the world like it. The cooler climate of the south island is also ideal for pinot noir and they make some stunning examples. As all the vineyards are virtually new, it's the pioneering spirit of couples and families that has been the back bone of New Zealand wine, while the rest of the world was being dominated by corporate brands. If you want a truly oustanding wine go for one that is family owned. The ones I'm recommending are superb.

The New Zealand wine industry has flourished and the number of wineries has virtually doubled in the last ten years from 600 or so to well over 1000, with the emergence of many boutique wineries. Anybody who has travelled to New Zealand knows that they are blessed with vast tracts of fertile land and usually great weather too, producing an abundance of fresh produce. They have a very healthy diet and lifestyle, and this passion for quality natural produce has influenced their winemaking. Steer clear of the mass produced brands, and particularly all the UK bottled "own label" Sauvignon Blanc that has flooded the UK since the credit crunch, and you will discover that there are many boutique wineries producing outstanding quality wines with minimal additives and manipulation.

The Gimblett Gravels area of Hawke's Bay has become world famous for quality reds, particularly Bordeaux varietals (such as Cabernet, Merlot and Malbec), and Syrah too. Hawke's Bay is also renowned for producing New Zealand's best Chardonnay. Waiheke Island is producing some outstanding reds, Martinborough is now recognised as a top region for Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc, and Central Otago and Canterbury are producing world class Reisling as well as the Pinot Noir they're famous for. An abundance of riches!
 
 
Jurassic Ridge photo
 
 

Jurassic Ridge Winery - Waiheke Island

Wineries anywhere don't come more "boutique" than Jurassic Ridge!

Waiheke Island is now New Zealand's most fashionable wine region, since it was discovered it had the ideal conditions to make world class red wines from traditional French and Italian grape varieties.

Jurassic Ridge, owned and run by Lance and Luciana Blumhardt, is a tiny operation of just 1.6 hectares where all the wines are made by hand - literally. The operation is just Lance and his wife Luciana who hails from the fabulous Taurasi district of Italy (famous for making some special red wines from the local Aglianico grape, and a particular favourite of mine!).

Lance is a retired neurologist, now a full time winemaker, vineyard hand, cellar door person and odd job man organising everything on the vineyard and in the winery. Luciana is a still active neurophysiologist, as well as full time vineyard hand and viticulturist. Lance had originally studied geology before switching to medicine which no doubt had a hand in him selecting a unique piece of land consisting of 155 million year old Jurassic rock to plant his vineyard.

While teaching medical students in the UK he found himself spending too much time in the Chateaux of Bordeaux, and decided it was time to take early retirement and set up his own vineyard and winery.

They planted their vineyard by hand in 2002. It takes several years before a vine is fit to yield a working crop so the actual winemaking started with the 2004 vintage. Since then they've gone on to win some top awards and huge critical praise. Their wines are made with real passion and attention to detail that often gets quickly lost in bigger operations. Not surprisingly given his time in France, Lance's wines have an old world influence focussing on elegance and structure over pure fruit.

Lance also has a unique vineyard in the Waihopai Valley in Marlborough, which is roughly midway between Blenheim and Awatere Valley. This produces wonderful fruit with mineral qualities, which Lance's good friend Alan McCorkindale (former head winemaker at Cloudy Bay back when they were making outstanding wines) vinifies for him. This Sauvignon Blanc is something special!

 
 

Jurassic Terrace Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2010 75cl

Jurassic Ridge text states:

A rare, premium, single vineyard, Waihopai Valley Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc made entirely from fruit grown on our own Jurassic Ridge established vineyard. Winemaking in collaboration with one of New Zealand's top winemakers, Alan McCorkindale.

The higher river terrace sited on alpine Jurassic greywacke sediments on the east side of our block has endowed this wine with intense tropical fruit, passionfruit, mango, wild herbs and lingering citrus zest - dry, clean and refreshing - while a prolonged period 'sur lie' with lees-stirring has filled out the mid-palate and increased the length. A refined and elegant single vineyard Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.

I agree, it's a delicious fresh wine showing real purity of fruit. Very pale in colour. On the palate there are flavours of tropical fruit followed by citrus and a very clean fresh finish. There is also body to this wine from the lees aging, and a long crisp finish. Perfect with prawns and shell fish. This isn't the "green grass" Marlborough style, it's much more refined and classical like good Sancerre.

Jurassic Ridge Website

Further Information on Jurassic Terrace Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2010 75cl

Price: £11.99



Sulphite Content:
John's Rating

92 Points
Sustainable Farming

Quantity:  


Jurassic Terrace Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2010 75cl
 
 

Squawking Magpie Reserve Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2013 75cl

Superb Marlborough Sauvignon.

At last the 2013 has finally arrived! This is a beautiful wine. Very pale in colour. Gooseberry and passion fruit aromas following through on the palate. Light in body and style with a very long crisp finish.

Pair this with seafood or non spicy Asian dishes. Also a great aperitif in the warm weather.

Squawking Magpie Website

Further Information on Squawking Magpie Reserve Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2013 75cl

Price: £13.99



Sulphite Content:
John's Rating

90 Points

Quantity:  


Squawking Magpie Reserve Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2013 75cl
 
 
Morton Estates
We are delighted to be working with John Coney of Morton Estates to bring his wines once again to the UK consumer. They are frankly sensational. Morton Estates are one of New Zealand's very best wine producers and are proudly independent, producing some of the finest wines in the world, confirmed by their impressive collection of international awards. They own several of the best vineyards in Marlborough and Hawke's Bay, and they control every aspect of the wine making process from grape selection to bottle closure - a rare attribute these days. Their wines are listed at some of the finest hotels in the world including the Savoy and the Ritz in London, Tokyo American Club, Les Bookinistes in Paris, Montage in San Francisco and the Peak Cafe in Hong Kong. They have been invited to pour at the New York Wine Experience a remarkable three times - a feat reserved for the world's top 200 Chateaux. Yet John's very down to earth and is genuinely thrilled to see his wine appreciated on it's own merits. I've never before met a wine maker who makes so many consistently good wines. I cannot recommend them enough.

Click here for more info on Morton Estates

Newsflash July 2014 - John Coney has sold "Morton Estates" to Lion Breweries. Only the name and one vineyard (Stonecreek) have changed hands. Sadly this means that Lion will continue to develop the brand "Morton Estates" but use different wine, so quantity will increase and quality will decrease significantly.

We've bought up the last of the Black Label Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay but from 2014 vintage these wines will be completely different! So get them while you can.
Morton Estates
 
 

Morton Estates Coniglio Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2010 75cl

IWC Gold Medal (yet again!)

Coniglio is only produced in exceptional years and this is the only vintage made since 2004.

John Coney has decided to release this 2010 earlier than planned to meet demand, but there is not very much available. I took a bottle to Carlo's to taste it and it was absolutely superb. It will improve with bottle age too, as it's still slightly sharp. If you can resist temptation and lay it down you will be richly rewarded, but if you choose to drink it instead it is already delicious.

Yet again a spectacular Chardonnay as Coniglio is only produced in exceptional vintages. As always the grapes from the Riverview Vineyard - regarded as the finest vineyard in New Zealand - are hand selected and whole bunch pressed. The juice is then fermented and aged on the lees in new French oak. The wine is subsequently allowed to undergo some partial malolactic fermentation creating a bigger, rounder, fuller wine really integrating the oak. Simply stunning as always!

Presented in it's own gift box.

Morton Estate Website

Further Information on Morton Estates Coniglio Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2010 75cl

Price: £36.00



Sulphite Content:
Free Sulphur
(at bottling)
32 mg/l
Awards:

IWSC
John's Rating

95 Points

Quantity:  


Morton Estates Coniglio Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2010 75cl
 
 

Morton Estates Hawkes Bay Black Label Chardonnay 2011 75cl

Previous awards include - Air New Zealand Wine Awards 2011 - Gold Medal. Mercedes Benz Hakes Bay Wine Awards Gold Medal 2010, Decanter World Wine Awards Silver Medal 2011, International Wine Challenge Silver Medal 2011 amongst others!

Made from fruit from their Riverview vineyard, fermented in new French oak then aged for a further twelve months, again in French oak. This is a rich, full wine with intense fruit and a long dry finish. Another great wine suited to richer foods, or to savour on it's own.

Only 3 bottles left!

Morton Estate Website

Further Information on Morton Estates Hawkes Bay Black Label Chardonnay 2011 75cl

Price: £16.80



Sulphite Content:
Free Sulphur
(at bottling)
35 mg/l
Awards:

HBWA
John's Rating

93 Points

Quantity:  


Morton Estates Hawkes Bay Black Label Chardonnay 2011 75cl
 
 

Morton Estates Marlborough Black Label Sauvignon Blanc 2011 75cl

Absolutely superb - tasting notes to follow. I believe we are the only UK stockist as Mortons imported a pallet just for us, although as we only took 30 dozen initially they may have sold a few cases elsewhere.

Morton Estate Website

Further Information on Morton Estates Marlborough Black Label Sauvignon Blanc 2011 75cl

Price: £14.99



Sulphite Content:
John's Rating

92 Points

Quantity:  


Morton Estates Marlborough Black Label Sauvignon Blanc 2011 75cl
 
 

Morton Estates Hawke's Bay Private Reserve Viognier 2009 75cl

Blue Gold Award Sidney, Liquorland Top 100 Silver Medal, Decanter 2011 - Bronze Medal, IWC - Commended, Air New Zealand Wine Awards - Bronze Medal.

Fantastic wine. Viognier needs to be left right to the last possible minute to fully ripen to develop it's aromas and flavours fully. Hence this wine contained so much natural sugar that the alcohol came out at a whopping 15%! It isn't apparent when you drink the wine though, as it is beautifully made. Although fermented in stainless steel, and with no malolactic fermentation, there is still plenty of body and a rich, full palate. Strong fruit flavours of apricot and peach, with a creamy mouthfeel. Great length too.

Due to the high sugar levels, sulphite intolerant people should avoid this wine as there's likely to be a little too much sulphur in there to control the sugar, although way lower than any mass produced wine of course. Just to clarify, this only applies to people with a severe allergy - this is still a delicious well made wine, low in additives.

Morton Estate Website

Further Information on Morton Estates Hawke's Bay Private Reserve Viognier 2009 75cl

Price: £13.49



Sulphite Content:
Awards:

SYD
John's Rating

90 Points

Quantity:  


Morton Estates Hawke's Bay Private Reserve Viognier 2009 75cl
 
 

Waipara Springs Chardonnay 2010 75cl

Waipara is about an hour north west of Christchurch (on South Island). It links Marlborough's Awatere Valley with Christchurch via an inland route, although we were unable to drive it in winter as the road was closed due to snow and we had to turn back toward Blenheim and take the coast road - it was a beautiful drive though. We did eventually get as far as Waipara approaching from the Christchurch diirection.

It's in a valley sheltered from the prevailing easterly wind by a range of mountains.. The valley floor is a prehistoric lake bed providing unique qualities for the vines. Waipara Springs Estate vineyard was planted in the 1980s including the Mendoza clone Chardonnay. This combination of unique mesoclimate, fine soils, rare clones and aged vines let's them produce some outstanding Chardonnay wines.

The wine is full bodied, round and full in the mouth with well integrated oak. It's very good wine and excellent value for money.



Further Information on Waipara Springs Chardonnay 2010 75cl

Price: £10.20



Sulphite Content:
John's Rating

Sustainable Farming

Quantity:  


Waipara Springs Chardonnay 2010 75cl
 
 

Waipara Springs Premo Chardonnay 2010 75cl

This is Andy's top Chardonnay and is excellent!

Fermented in French oak with wild yeasts. The wine has tropical flavours with some nut and brioche, yet retains it's purity and minerality to give a long clean finish. It has good body being full and round in the mouth. A fine example of winemaking excellence, rather than the all too common commercially manipulated offerings which seem to dominate this price point from New Zealand.

Given the strength of the New Zealand dollar this wine is seriously good value.

Further Information on Waipara Springs Premo Chardonnay 2010 75cl

Price: £13.99



Sulphite Content:
John's Rating

Sustainable Farming

Quantity:  


Waipara Springs Premo Chardonnay 2010 75cl