Posts Tagged ‘Marlborough’

Virtual Tasting of Very Special New Zealand Wines

January 17, 2012

All wine regions throughout world produce a wide range of quality wines and these special wines from New Zealand are now gaining recognition and appreciation around the world. I wrote about this a while back and was excited to see this virtual wine event sponsored by New Zealand Complexity. It will be an evening that is both delightful and informative. To participate just follow this link.

Saturday February 4th, 2012 

Virtual Tasting 7:00pm Central Standard Time

In association with Wine Channel TV we’re celebrating Waitangi Day, New Zealand’s National holiday,  with a virtual wine tasting and cooking demonstration – and you’re invited to ‘come along’! With Celebrity Winemakers in attendance, and a live audience in Chicago, you’ll have the opportunity to message in questions as you sip along with us from the comfort of your living room. Gather up a group of friends, register, and tune in with fellow-wine lovers from around the globe for this fun, social way to taste and learn about New Zealand’s finest wines!

Be sure to stock up with a few bottles from our featured wineries at a participating retailer beforehand. To stay up-to-date with #nzwineday news including competitions, participating retailers and restaurants, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

See you online!

Got Questions? Email us!

Note: Once you’ve registered for this FREE event we’ll send you everything you need to know about how to access the virtual wine tasting online.

You will also be automatically entered to win a Complexity Fine Wine t-shirt and other great Kiwi prizes!

Finding New Wines – Wild Rock New Zealand

January 13, 2010

Some time ago I wrote about finding new wines by taking the time to get to know the people behind the wines. Wild Rock is an example of a New Zealand winery with

a group of fun and interesting people. Like to buy wine from people who live life to the max – here they are.

Want to buy a New Zealand wine that might be outside of what you normally do – maybe a Pinot Gris or a Merlot / Malbec blend or what about a Rose? When you go for it with your dollars, it is always good to know you are buying  from real people,  in a real place. Wild Rock is one of those choices.

What’s even more interesting, as you explore the people, you find someone  who is connected to something else. So it is with Wild Rock – while this video will deadpan Steve Smith as just a guy – as he obviously is –  and the website  presents him only as a Wild Rock guy – there is more.

A little research will show that Steve Smith is a shareholder, director and a lot more at Craggy Range Winery. Craggy Range is a special New Zealand story and one worth noting – coincidentally I wrote about them not long ago too.

This is where the story gets interesting because many think  New Zealand is  capable of producing limited numbers and styles of wine. Steve Smith is way out in front and showing the world what New Zealand is truly capable of. And he is proving his Craggy Range New Zealand wines can run with the best in the world.

Wild Rock is a side project with lots of upside for your wine pleasure – Craggy Range is the bonus or maybe it is the other way around. Either way you win!

Chardonnay – A New Wine Experience

December 29, 2009

Robert Haynes-Peterson recently wrote a nice piece encouraging wine enthusiasts to revisit Chardonnay and seek out the new modern styles that are emerging from New Zealand and other wine regions.

You can access the full article here.

Eveline Fraser to Join Daniel Le Brun as Chief Winemaker

July 23, 2009


July 2009 NO1 Family WB


No.1 Family Estate, New Zealand’s only winemaker focusing exclusively on the production of Methode Traditionnelle has appointed Eveline Fraser to share the role of Chief Winemaker with proprietor, Daniel Le Brun. 

Fresh from her position as Senior Winemaker at Marlborough’s Cloudy Bay, Eveline’s experience in the production of Cloudy Bay’s cult sparkling wine, Pelorus will contribute valuable experience to the company’s winemaking team.  Daniel comments on Eveline’s appointment, “We are delighted to welcome Eveline to the team. Our families have been friends for 30 years and it is wonderful that we can now share our passion for making great sparkling wines.” 

Using only specialised equipment imported from Champagne, Eveline will join the family-owned producer to continue the ritual of hand-crafting superb Methode Traditionelle focusing on just five very special wines; Cuvée N°1, a non-vintage blanc de blancs made from 100% chardonnay, Cuvée Number 8, a non-vintage blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, Reserve Cuvée No.10  and Cuvée Virginie – both limited edition wines and only made in the finest of years and now for the first time, a rose made from 100% Pinot Noir.  

No. 1 Family Estate has grown steadily since its establishment eleven years ago and with numerous international trophies, gold medals and five-star awards, is looking forwards to a rewarding future. 

For further details please contact: 

Daniel Le Brun   021 539 338  

Adele Le Brun  021 982 192

New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, Worlds Most Popular and Least Understood Wine

January 22, 2009

New Zealand Sauvignon blanc could be one of the world’s most popular wines and at the same time the least understood. When you pause and consider that over 85% of New Zealand’s wine producers make less than 25k cases of wine per year, yet the world is generally exposed to the production from the remaining 15%.

Granted, this 15% has done a tremendous job of marketing a singular story, the really exciting side of New Zealand is this large group of micro producers.

This group has regional diversity, winemaking styles that vary and generally a very hands on approach in their vineyards. Most are both wine growers and wine makers. In other words they can honestly be viewed as Estates.

New Zealand wine writer Michael Cooper recently wrote about this in the New Zealand Listener. His article has some interesting comments.

  • …the classic French grape variety also thrives in other regions, from Hawke’s Bay to Waipara…
  • … from Hawke’s Bay grapes and modelled on the famous dry whites of Graves, in Bordeaux, swings the spotlight on our alternative sauvignons.
  • UK wine writer Tom Cannavan argues that ‘‘the ‘typical’ New Zealand sauvignon is not a food wine, and is rarely subtle or complex … the style is becoming a caricature: aromatic fireworks and a dollop of residual sugar to balance searing acidity has become a recipe by which some churn out a ‘product’, rather than a wine”.
  • … is critical of the common practice in New Zealand of making sauvignon blanc slightly sweet, “a style where one glass is definitely enough
  • … Surely the world expects sauvignon blanc to be dry white wine. I certainly do!”

The article continues to highlight several producers who understand the difference between “fine wine and a refreshing beverage”.

This is just one of many comments I hear about the current state of New Zealand wine. Some predict New Zealand is following Australia toward the same cliff.

My sense is the world is about to discover the “little guys” scattered across New Zealand who make really nice wines, that lead to memorable evenings with friends and food.

You can read the full article on the Listeners web site. Listener

“Sommeliers report that diners are asking for something untried and untested.”

December 2, 2008

The most exceptional wines are crafted by artisan winemakers. A journey of exciting discovery awaits those who explore the world of New Zealand’s artisan winemakers!

It’s called the Golden Mile for a reason. Birthplace of Marlborough’s famed Sauvignon Blanc, this region consistently produces delightful wines with the fresh and lively fruit personality that so many of you request.

dgmskypic016postcardGeorges Michel and his family are exceptionally passionate about the Golden Mile of New Zealand. For 10 years they’ve dedicated themselves to developing the 84 acres and have completely retrofitted the estate winery. Rows of French oak barrels, new tanks, winemaking daughter Swan and French viticulturalist Daniel LeBrun are all part of the modernized Domaine. 

The Michels’ dedication shows in their superb bottlings of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Mouth-filling and beautifully balanced. Luscious fruit and gentle waves that build and linger. Just like Georges Michel himself, these wines show bright New Zealand spirit with a touch of European elegance. 

dgm-cream-marlborough-labelAt last a refined Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand! It offers the zingy citrus and herbaceous flavors that make this varietal so refreshing. This one is for those special evenings with friends when the magic of food and wine come together It has the elegance and depth of a classic Sauvignon Blanc, the kind of wine that fits in beautifully at the dinner table.

A slow fermentation brings out lustrous tropical fruit notes. The owner’s daughter, winemaker Swan Michel, adds smoothness to the blend with a deft touch of Semillon. This wine is a delicious and rare fusion of New World vitality and Old World grace!

This is a wine that is worth the effort to find. Let the Christmas treasure hunt begin. 

Headline quote from Wine & Spirits Magazine, 19th Annual Exclusive Restaurant Poll, April 2008

“New Zealand is making some of the most thrilling wines in the world.” Oz Clarke

November 17, 2008

And No 1 Family Estate is right at the top!!!

Imagine a life dedicated to producing world-class sparkling wine. It’s no wonder Daniel and Adele LeBrun, owners of New Zealand’s N° 1 Family Estate, have an outlook that can only be described as … effervescent! 

An early pioneer and advocate of grape growing in the renowned Marlborough region, Daniel Le Brun sees this area as the world’s only true rival to the Champagne region. He applies the same winemaking processes that his family has perfected over 12 generations in Champagne. 

N°  1 Family Estate is committed exclusively to the production of premium Methode Tratitionelle sparkling wines. This acclaimed small winery consistently earns Gold Medals and numerous accolades throughout the world. We’re delighted to present the limited-edition wines of this family estate!

In the past Daniel Le Brun has won a record number of awards for methode champenoise and numerous overseas accolades awards, including.

  • – Trophy for Best Bottle Fermented Sparkling Wine for Cuvée No 1 at the International Wine & Spirit Competition in the United Kingdom.
  • – Cuvée Number Eight received the Trophy for Bottle Fermented Sparkling Wine of the Year Runner-Up from Winestate Wine of the Year Awards, Australia.
  • – Cuvée Numbe One Sparkling Wine of Year, Wine State Magazine Dec 2007
  • – Editors Choice Wine Enthusiast

Cuvée N° 1

Throughout his career, the Cuvée N° 1 blanc de blancs bottling by

no1-cuve_e-logoDaniel Le Brun has garnered rave reviews. This stylish sparkler delivers a perfect balance between fruit and yeast. Its consistently tiny bead and firm mousse speak to its noble heritage as a top-notch Methode Traditionell wine.

Lively and subtle at the same time, Cuvée N° 1 shows complex layers of fruit, brioche and toasted nuts. Its elegant array of flavors complements many foods, and it’s the kind of wine that makes us say, “Bubbles all the time!”

Cuvée N° Eight

The number eight represents good luck, achievement, abundance no-8and

success in Chinese numerology. And that’s what this sparkling wine is all about! It’s fresh, inviting and undeniably easy-drinking. 

Cuvée No. 8 from Marlborough’s N°. 1  Family Estate is an award-winning blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes. With sophisticated champagne-like character, this easy-drinking bubbly offers engaging citrus notes and a remarkably refined finish.  

The best part is finding these wines can be a treasure hunt that will take you to the better wine shops and restaurants.

Wines of Clos Marguerite

October 29, 2008
Meet Marguerite and learn a little about the special wines that are created by her and Jean Charles at their vineyard in Marlborough New Zealand. The vineyard is located on a river terrace above the Awatere River. Both Marguerite and Jean Charles agree that wines that are special and bring lasting memories begin in the vineyard. Today Marguerite talks about both Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir.
Formats available: Windows Media (.wmv)

Finding New Wines

August 26, 2008

As consumers of wine we have no shortage of choices. Decision’s can be challenging, whether we are in the New Zealand, California or French wine sections, our options might include:

  1. Subscribe to the major publications and go shopping with their recommendations
  2. Get to know and trust a retailer or sommelier and follow their lead
  3. Close your eyes and grab

Which method is best is really determined by what we want our wine experiences to be. If we just want something to drink then it probably does not matter what the selection process is. For others the reviews in the big publications will be useful . And for others it will involve a sense places and people.

Here are some ideas for those who want a connection to people and places. If you are of a certain age you will have memories of shopping for records. Albums had creative cover art and detailed liner notes on the back. Because of the physical size of a record album it was possible to have lots of information about the people, recording location and this all became part of the buying process.

As we flipped thru albums and read notes we often learned about guest musicians who sat in for a song or two. Sometimes these were well known musicians or unknown players. Their appearances introduced them as musicians who had something to offer. As we flipped thru and read the notes we would see patterns repeat themselves, session players showing up in different places or even having their own albums. Buying these newly discovered musicians would lead us to new places and created new listening opportunities. It was usually a success and the pattern repeated. More liner notes and more new discoveries.

So it is with wine too.

If you have visited Marlborough New Zealand you may have visited and tasted wines from Domaine Georges Michel. As you read the liner notes you learn Georges is French and had the good fortune to have his New Zealand wine project guided by Guy Brac de la Perriere, a man from one of France’s oldest wine making dynasties. Locally, New Zealander Peter Saunders  was the assistant wine maker working and learning from Georges and Guy. Today, Peter produces his own wine in Waipara.

The patterns continue today with Georges daughter Swan providing the winemaking leadership.  Swan has benefited from working not only with Guy but also with winemakers Patrick Valette in Bordeaux and in Burgundy with Clos des Lambray

Do you see these patterns creating choices for finding new wines? The patterns go both ways and include people and regions.

Or, maybe you visit the Central Coast region in California and you notice Bob Lindquist and Jim Clendenen have family members with their own labels. Verdad and Cold Heaven Cellars. Should be fun and worth finding.

These patterns are everywhere and I believe a great way to find new wines. This path may or may not go thru the big publications or even the better retailers and sommeliers. For some this will make the path more interesting as it is self directed.

To find new wines this way we need to take the time to find out something about the people behind the wine. It circles back to the earlier questions about who grew the grapes, who made the wine and what do you know about them? Good questions guiding us in the treasure hunt for new wines.