Tag Archives: New Zealand

A Swiss project in New Zealand

This is a project that started in the late 80s, formed by Swiss Georg and Ruth Fromm together with winemaker Hatsch Kalberer, all of them with knowledge about the wines of both European and New Zealand. It didn’t take long before they decided to join forces, set up a winery in Marlborough, and the first plantings were done in 1992. The Fromm’s returned to Switzerland some years ago, but Hatsch continues to release one superb wine after another, not least the country’s oldest single vineyard malbec, called “H” for Hatsch.

This wine is a 100% pinot noir. It was spontaneously fermented in steel tanks with a long maceration. 

Fromm La Strada Pinot Noir 2014 (Fromm Winery)

Brilliant ruby red. Fresh on the nose, with raspberries, plums and aromatic herbs. Luscious, rounded mouthfeel, long aftertaste with a well-integrated acidity that lasts all the way. It has stayed on the shelves for some time (2015 also released), and must be near its peak now.

Price: Medium

Food: Veal and pig, duck and chicken, salads, tapas


From a Nelson Gravity winery

Mahana Estates is located in the Nelson region, in the north of New Zealand’s South Island. In the vineyard everything is organic, in the cellar gravity (four levels) is one key word, low-intervention another – and winemaker Michael Glover puts out good wines in several categories. The respect for terroir is there, and he states that if something unusual or surprising should appear, it’s not as a result of experimentation, but exploration.

The reds are made with whole bunch winemaking and with almost no additions. On this background they can explore the combination of Mahana’s yellow ultic soil (derived from quartz-rich sediments turned into clay or sandy clays, abundant near Marlborough), the seasons, and “the enigmatic pinot noir”.

Mahana’s reds are sourced from their Moutere vineyard; dry-farmed, and from the above-mentioned soil you can expect a rather deep, dark coloured wine. For this wine half of the grapes were destemmed, and the spontaneous fermentation was carried out in open concrete fermenters. There was no new oak used (only steel and old French oak), and it was bottled without fining or filtration.


Mahana Gravity Pinot Noir 2014 (Mahana Estates)

Deep dark, dense colour. Smells of dark fruits (morellos, blackberries) and with some balsamic and herbal notes, a little chocolate too. Lots of tannins, but very fine, it rounds off warm and full, with adecuate acidity to make it delicious drinking already.

Price: Medium

Food: Light meat, game, salads…


True wild NZ sauvignon

“Typical” sauvignons are by many regarded as the easiest of all to detect in a blind tasting. However, there are many factors that can contribute to the grape’s aromas, and many are still under investigation. Undoubtedly, added yeast is among the techniques. But there are also producers here with what we would call a natural approach, with Sébastien Riffault in Sancerre as possibly the most famous.

A tasting in our private wine club showed quite varied aspects of New Zealand’s wines, among the sauvignons too. There were two splendid wines from Greywacke Vineyards, a late harvest riesling and our wine of the week, the Wild Sauvignon, this one too made only with the yeasts from the grape and the environment.

Kevin Judd was co-founding winemaker when Cloudy Bay embarked on their success story in the mid-80’s. But Judd went on to fulfill his own project in 2009, after having planned it for a long time, including acquisition of vineyards in Marlborough. The name Greywacke was registered back in 1993, and named after the type of rounded stones found everywhere in the country.

Essential in the winemaking is mature grapes from quality sites in the central Wairau Plains and the Southern Valleys, cultivated with low yields and strong canopy management.


Bilderesultat for greywacke wild sauvignon 2014

The grapes were mostly harvested by hand, then pressed lighly. The juice was spontaneously fermented in old French oak, stayed there for around 6 months, where some 2/3 underwent malo-lactic fermentation. It then stayed on yeast lees in inox for another 5 months, and the wine was only lightly filtered before bottling.


Wild Sauvignon 2014 (Greywacke)

Straw yellow, grey, not shiny. Aromas of oranges, almonds, flowers, herbs (thyme), and a slight touch of toast and vanillin. In the mouth it shows a rich and creamy texture, nice concentration, with a balancing acidity that contributes to a lingering finish.

Price: Medium

Food: White fish, grilled seafood, sushi, creamy cheeses

Sauvignon on a summer’s day

I intended to feature another wine this week, a really serious one from an important place. But the sun is shining, and life is laughing, and…. The whole world smiles with you (goes the song). So heaven can wait (goes another song)!

Here is a simple, straight-forward and delicious summer white from New Zealand, where sauvignon blanc has made itself a paradise during the last 50 years or so. The Matua company sources their grapes from Hawkes’ Bay on the North Island, and Marlborough and Central Otago on the South Island, the latter a pretty chilly place that can give a really refreshing acidity to the wines. Some are blends, some are regional wines by grape, and Matua go all the way to single vineyard varietal wines.

This one comes from their so-called regional range, and the region in question being Marlborough on the northern tip of the South Island. Not so chilly as Central Otago, but with enough variation to give enough oenological possibilities. The Spence brothers claim to have produced the first Kiwi sauvignon blanc in 1974. Since 2008 Nikolai St. George has been chief winemaker, and Bob Spence still popping into the winery once in a while to make sure that ‘the eternal summer shall not fade’… (Shakespeare)

Now Nik Nik St. George



2016-06-10 20.50.14 Back label

Matua Organic Sauvignon Balanc 2015 (Matua)

Light yellow with greenish tones. Lovely scent of sauvignon gooseberry, passion fruit, kiwi and lime. A body that’s more towards slender than fat, and just the right acidity to keep it together. It’s a wine that breathes, full of life. Yes, it’s a modern inox-made wine, but somehow they have managed to avoid those ‘closed’ canned-pear aromas that often follow with that technique. Pure fun!

Price: Low