Spain has 975,000 hectares of vineyards, making it 24 times bigger than New Zealand’s plantings and over 200 indigenous grape varieties (not counting all the international ones. It is a complex, fascinating country.
For a team as experienced as the Dog Pointers (surely some of the most consistently capable of hands) it would take a catastrophic upset for the wines to be anything other than excellent. So when the year’s new releases arrived from the winery there was an initial fleeting thought; “do we actually need to review these or shall we just drink them?”
Long regarded as one of NZ’s icon wineries, under the direction of Chief winemaker Wilco Lam Dry River’s wines seem to have taken on a more animated character. These are not wines that walk on the wild side, and are definitely made to be cellared, but there seems to be more spirit in each bottle, the wines no longer buffed and polished within an inch of their lives.
Ata Rangi Pinot Noir regularly graces the lists of top New Zealand wines, the likely legacy of great vineyards, increasing vine age, continuity of people and the assured hand of winemaker Helen Masters. The most recent releases of the flagship estate pinot and its sibling ‘Crimson’ deliver poised and delicious but never showy wines.
In an industry preoccupied with finding the ‘next big thing’ the team at Nautilus is seemingly content to stick to what it does best ie. producing first-rate wines that acknowledge their Marlborough origins. Never straying too far from the tried and trusted, the latest releases show a deft hand with aromatic varieties.
Nelson’s Blackenbrook Vineyard is a quintessential New Zealand producer: a small, family-owned winery, owned by nice people quietly getting on with making perfectly nice wines. Ursula and Daniel Schwarzenbach farm 20ha of vineyards in the Moutere clays, where they produce a tidy suite of wines ranging from the expected to the slightly less expected.