History in the bubbles: 105 and still loving her bubbly| Joelle Thomson – 16/12/19
(This item is something of a prelude to our proposed June tasting. It relates to Dawn Ibbotson who is the matriarch of the Ibbotson family who operates Saint Clair)
This month marks the 105th birthday of the woman who inspired one of New Zealand’s best bubblies made using the French traditional method, the same way that champagne is created.
The woman and the wine are called Dawn. The first vintage of Dawn was made from the 2012 vintage to mark its namesake’s 100th birthday in December 2014. Now, Dawn Ibbotson has turned 105 and her family says she enjoys a daily glass of the bubbly they made in her honour.
It’s a top bubbly in taste too, as our instore experts pick it as one of their favourites, year-round.
The wine is made from hand-harvested, whole bunch pressed grapes, which were fermented in a combination of stainless steel (the Chardonnay) and seasoned French oak barriques (the Pinot Noir). The two still wine components were then blended and bottle-fermented for three months to allow the carbon dioxide from the second fermentation to dissolve into the wine, creating its fine bubbles. It was then left on tirage (lees) for thirty-nine months until disgorgement.
Story of the name Saint Clair…bubb
The Ibbotson family who founded Saint Clair Winery named it after the original landowners of their Marlborough vineyards, the Sinclair family. Saint Clair is also the name of a suburb in Dunedin, hometown to the Ibbotson’s and to Dawn.
Dawn is made from…
Vines are grown on stone and sandy alluvial soils on Rapaura Road, Marlborough; overlooked by Saint Clair Vineyard Kitchen. It contains 6 grams of residual sugar per litre; off-dry, but only just, in other words. This wine tastes dry from the first sip to the last, lingering sparkling drop.
Quality and consistency have put Seifried Family Winemakers on the map with their 2019 Nelson Sauvignon Blanc releases – awarded a combined haul of seven gold medals and the “Best of Show” trophy.
The winery’s premium Aotea by the Seifried Family Sauvignon Blanc 2019 has been awarded three gold medals across New Zealand and international wine shows, including the title ‘Best of Show NZ White’ in the MUNDUS VINI 2019 in Germany. Their Seifried Nelson Sauvignon Blanc 2019 has now achieved its fourth gold medal since release to market.
Both Sauvignon Blancs have just been awarded gold medals at the 2019 New Zealand Wine of the Year™ (the official NZ wine industry competition, replacing the Air New Zealand Wine Awards). Recognition at these awards is particularly huge, given the hundreds of entries. An accolade at this competition is about celebrating New Zealand winemaking excellence, and is a win that is proudly shared among the whole team at Seifried.
Seifried Estate says that although it is a small grape growing region, Nelson’s climate and talent for crafting world class wine is clear. “We’re so proud of the recognition for our team’s commitment and hard work to making great wines. We’re also very proud of Nelson / Tasman and our fellow growers and producers, many who, like us, started from humble beginnings.
Combining the famous creative artisan spirit with the soil and climate in this special place at the centre of New Zealand, Nelson is a region known for some of the finest food and beverage products in the world.
We’re incredibly proud to call this place home.” – Seifried Estate Sales and Marketing Manager, Anna Seifried.
Proven over time – a snapshot of achievements:
The accolades begin with New Zealand’s most awarded dessert wine, Seifried Winemakers Collection Sweet Agnes Riesling. Awards include ‘Champion Sweet Wine’ at the 2015 Air New Zealand Wine Awards, as well as ‘Best New Zealand Sweet’ at the UK Decanter World Wine Awards 2017 – to name a few.
Seifried Nelson Pinot Noir has had its share of recognition and was named as a “Rising Star” in the ‘2019 Great New Zealand Pinot Noir Classification’ which lists only the top quarter of New Zealand’s Pinot Noir producers.
It’s not always the garden varieties associated with Nelson or New Zealand either. Aotea by the Seifried Family Méthode Traditionnelle NV took out the ‘WineWorks Champion Sparkling Wine’ at the 2017 Air New Zealand Wine Awards.
The family is working hard with some lesser known varietals too, such as the Seifried Nelson Würzer, an aromatic white wine found only in very small quantities, even in its home country of Germany. Seifried Nelson Zweigelt, the Austrian classic, made with a Kiwi twist is another – “Great stuff for someone looking for something different. Real presence and grip.
Seifried Nelson Sauvignon Blanc 2019 Gold – New Zealand Wine of the Year™ 2019, New Zealand Gold – The New Zealand International Wine Show 2019, New Zealand Gold – AWC Vienna 2019, Austria Gold – MUNDUS VINI 2019 Summer Tasting, Germany 93 Points – Cameron Douglas MS, The Shout, August 2019, New Zealand
List of recent awards
New Zealand Wine of the Year™ GOLD: Aotea by the Seifried Family Sauvignon Blanc 2019 GOLD: Seifried Nelson Sauvignon Blanc 2019 Silver: Seifried Nelson Gewurztraminer 2019
25th Grand International Wine Award MUNDUS vini “Best of Show New Zealand white”: Aotea by the Seifried Family Nelson Sauvignon Blanc 2019 GOLD: Aotea by the Seifried Family Nelson Sauvignon Blanc 2019 GOLD: Seifried Nelson Sauvignon Blanc 2019
AWC Vienna – International Wine Challenge GOLD: Aotea by the Seifried Family Sauvignon Blanc 2019 GOLD: Seifried Nelson Sauvignon Blanc 2019 Silver: Old Coach Road Nelson Sauvignon Blanc 2019
NZ International Wine Show GOLD: Seifried Nelson Sauvignon Blanc 2019 GOLD: Seifried Winemakers Collection Nelson ‘Sweet Agnes’ Riesling 2019 Silver: Seifried Nelson Riesling 2019 Silver: Seifried Nelson Pinot Noir Rosé 2019
Contact SEIFRIED ESTATE Chris Seifried – Winemaker Email: chris Tel: +64 3 544 5599 Cell: +64 21 544 750 www.seifried.co.nz
2018 Misha’s The Cadenza Late Harvest Gewürztraminer
For the 19 members and 1 guest that attended, this was a great tasting as evidenced by the fact that 101 bottles were ordered, such was the quality and pricing.
The low turnout was a disappointment but upon reflection, there were 3 couples overseas and another 4 people that contacted us beforehand and apologised because of sickness. These were 10 people that almost always attend and that, coupled with other regulars I have since heard were either out of town or sick, probably explains the low turn out. It can happen sometimes.
Cenna began her tasting presentation explaining the locations of Two Paddocks and Misha vineyards and as luck would have it, the wines presented covered the 4 main Central Otago sub-regions of Alexandra, Bannockburn, Gibbston Valley and Bendigo, Not covered was the area around Pisa Moorings or Wanaka.
She went onto explain that the reason for tasting the 2 Pinot Noirs first was so that any residual sweetness in our mouth from the whites would not destroy the delicacy of the 2017 Misha ‘Cantata’ Pinot Noir. All 3 red wines were excellent reflections of their styles but I especially enjoyed the savoury notes each had as compared to the dominate cherry flavours that tend to be more evident in other Central Otago Pinot Noirs.
The surprising wine of the night was Misha’s 2015 ‘Limelight’ Riesling. 4 years on, it still had a bright fresh citrusy flavour, This was a medium style Riesling with 34 grams/litre of residual sugar and I especially liked its delightful lingering finish. It’s hardly surprising to find later that wine writers have given this wine 5 stars. And to the surprise of everyone present, Jenny joyfully announced that she had finally found a white that she liked.
Misha’s 2019 ‘Dress Circle’ Pinot Gris was another of their whites to find great support from members. It had flavours of pear, citrus and spice, This is a very pleasing aromatic wine that will go well with Asian cuisine, which is hardly surprising, given that the owners worked in Asia for 16 years and set out to develop wines that would suit Asian as well as Western foods.
Of the two wineries, my personal favourite was Misha Vineyards with their theatrical named wines. So it was only fitting that the finale for the night was their 2018 ‘The Cadenza’ Late Harvest Gewurztraminer. This medium-sweet wine had aromas of apricot making it an excellent match with fruit-driven desserts or with soft cheeses. As I said earlier, a great tasting.
September 25, 2019, marks 200 years since the first planting of grapevines in New Zealand. From the humble beginnings of a vine planted in Northland, the New Zealand wine industry has grown to become a $1.83 billion export earner, with an international reputation for premium, diverse and sustainable wines.
Reverend Samuel Marsden, Chaplain to New South Wales (1765-1838), records September 25, 1819, as the day he planted a vine in the rich grounds of the Stone Store, Kerikeri in the Bay of Islands. These pioneering vines were the very first to be planted into New Zealand soils, with New Zealand being one of very few countries in the world where the exact date of the planting of the first vines is known, making our story unique on the world stage.
Throughout the 19th and early 20th century, a significant number of European immigrants came to New Zealand and set up vineyards in different regions. They each contributed to the early establishment of the diverse wine regions of New Zealand. The New Zealand wine industry today consists of over 700 wineries and more than 600 grape growers, with the growing success of this industry depending strongly on the commitment and passion of the people behind it.
Since the 1990s, there has been an evolution in the grape varieties that we see planted throughout our regions. Sauvignon Blanc is now the most widely planted variety, accounting for 76% of total production, followed by Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
As we raise a toast to the past, we also look ahead to the future. The New Zealand wine industry is dedicated to ensuring that we celebrate another 200 years, through a commitment to sustainability and innovation that will protect the places that make our famous wines. Over 98% of New Zealand’s vineyard producing area is now Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand (SWNZ) certified – and this is unmatched by any voluntary scheme around the world.
New Zealand Winegrowers will be marking the 200 year anniversary with an industry event in Northland, including a ceremonial re-planting at the historic Stone Store, followed by a regional wine tasting and dinner on the Waitangi Treaty Grounds.
In his diary, Marsden prophesied, “New Zealand promises to be very favourable to the vine, as far as I can judge at present of the nature of the soil and climate. Should the vine succeed, it will prove of vast importance in this part of the globe.” His prediction has been brilliantly fulfilled.
For further information contact: Amber Silvester Communications Manager, New Zealand Winegrowers 021 794 381
The first recorded wine was from James Busby in 1830s. Busby, the Crown’s Resident in New Zealand lived in what is now called the Treaty House at the Treaty Grounds in Waitangi. James Busby was the architect of the Treaty of Waitangi and is regarded as the first winemaker in New Zealand.
In 1840, naval officer and explorer Jules Dumont D’Urville visited and was disappointed to find Busby not in residence, but tasted a wine made by Busby. Onboard his ship, Astrolabe, Dumont D’Urville wrote the first New Zealand wine review in his journal, “with great pleasure I agreed to taste the product of the vineyard that I had just seen. I was given a light white wine, very sparkling, and delicious to taste, which I enjoyed very much”.
Waimea Estates is one of Nelson’s larger producers with over 140 hectares of their own vineyards. The cool climate and alluvial soils of Nelson’s Waimea plains combined with the highest sunshine hours in New Zealand allow vibrant, fruit-focused wines to be made.
Waimea’s export varieties are based on highly awarded Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir, and over the years Waimea has gathered 150+ Gold Medals and 26 Trophies across nine different wine styles – proving the versatility Waimea and the Nelson region provides. More next month.
Yet another excellent tasting with Marc Udy from Villa Maria, ably assisted by Kirsty Warbrick, presenting a range of great wines including some from their Platinum Range. Marc is one of the winemakers from Marlborough. He was a good speaker and the consensus is that the winery has been really easy to deal with.
To reiterate the tasting included the Cellar Selection Rose 2018; Reserve Wairua Sauvignon 2018; Single Vineyard Seddon Pinot Gris 2018; Reserve Marlborough Chardonnay 2016; Platinum Selection Pinot Noir 2018; Cellar Selection Grenache 2017, rounded off with the Cellar Selection Late Harvest Riesling 2015. An enjoyable night.
These words were uttered by the French-born English wine merchant and author André Simon in 1964 when tasting Hawke’s Bay winery Te Mata’s 1912 red blend. More than half a century after it was first made – the same year as the sinking of the Titanic – the red wine was still very much alive, so why has New Zealand not developed a reputation for making age worthy wines?
Two words: Sauvignon Blanc.
The New Zealand wine industry is dominated by a grape variety that is typically fermented and put into bottle within months – or even weeks – of being harvested. ‘Picked, pressed and pissed before Christmas’ is the life cycle of Sauvignon Blanc in some winemakers’ view. Why wait for Christmas when you can drink the wine before Easter? Moana Park winery has released a Sauvignon Blanc on April 1 and that was no April Fools. If the previous vintage has been small and stocks are running low, a few blocks might be picked early to produce a wine to bridge the gap between vintages, such as Villa Maria’s Early Release Sauvignon Blanc.
However, there are a growing number of smaller, quality focused producers that are holding back their Sauvignon Blancs before releasing, giving them time on lees and time in bottle. Having tasted some of Marlborough’s finest Sauvignon Blancs at seven or eight years old, drinkers need not be in such a hurry. Putting the brakes on wineries releasing wines doesn’t help their cash flow and with grape growers to pay and bank repayments due, accountants can overrule winemakers, putting the onus on drinkers to put the wines in their usually non-existent cellars.
It is partly a matter of wine culture: New Zealand does not have a long-standing tradition of making and drinking wine. Having rejected Prohibition in 1919, the country continued to operate under a cloud of abstemiousness, promoted by restrictive licensing laws. Until 1961, New Zealanders couldn’t enjoy a glass of wine with a meal in a restaurant. The 1960s brought licensing change with more and more restaurant licences granted, a rise in the number of wine shops while a rise in tax on beer and spirits in the 1958 ‘Black Budget’ gave wine an encouraging bump.
The 1950s witnessed the birth of aspirational winemakers and pioneers seeking to move away from fortified wine and hybrids to quality table wine made from vitis vinifera, which gained increasing momentum, culminating in legislation outlawing a sugar and water culture and a state-sponsored vine pull in the 1980s. In the 1970s, regular wine columns had appeared in several newspapers, catering for an educated population who had done their ‘OE’ (overseas experience), travelling around Europe, experiencing wine and food culture. From just 174ml of wine per capita in the early 1960s, wine consumption increased to 5.3 litres by the end of the 1970s. In 2016, the figure stood at 20.2 litres but has remained stagnant for a decade. (Come on team, get drinking, we have to lift this again – Ed)
Red wines in New Zealand, like whites, are all too often released early and consumed early, meaning there are few older vintages available to purchase and enjoy. There are relatively few wine collectors and fine dining restaurants with cellars and mature stocks of New Zealand wine and thus some wineries are starting to take responsibility for ageing their wines until they approach their drinking window. Judy Fowler, owner of Puriri Hills Vineyard in Clevedon, Auckland, which specialises in Bordeaux blends, has a Brunello di Montalcino approach to releasing her reds. “My late release policy is based on the fact that we attempt to produce Bordeaux-blended wines made in the longstanding traditions of Bordeaux. The great Bordeaux generally benefit from ageing five to 10 years or longer. Our wines are built to age well. However, we are a small, newer vineyard [established 1998] with perhaps another 300 years to earn the reputation for quality that the grands crus of Bordeaux have. As such, we do not expect our customers all to want to wait for five or more years to taste our wines at their best, so we do the ageing here at the vineyard before release.” While Fowler is not alone, most wineries don’t apply the release-when-ready-to-drink policy across the entire range, as it can leave suppliers wine-less and raise the prospect of delisting.
It is difficult to judge the ageability of New Zealand wines with so little precedent. In the past decade, young vines have matured, viticulture has evolved, winemaking has become more refined: a Pinot Noir produced 10 years ago from young vines by winemakers that were still getting to know their site will be quite different today than a current vintage opened in a decade’s time. When asked to provide drinking windows for a recent Central Otago Pinot Noir or Hawke’s Bay Cabernet Sauvignon, it is a case of pinning the tail on the donkey.
However, there’s no doubting the country’s best wines have the components to age gracefully: intensity of fruit, richness of ripe tannins, acidity (and pH), alcohol and magic all play their part in the development of a red wine. In whites, high levels of acidity and flavour precursors elongate their shelf life.
There’s also a small matter of the closure: screwcaps are omnipotent in New Zealand. Although a small but significant number of producers continue to seal their top Bordeaux blends under cork (while putting the rest of their range under screwcap), it is likely that the wines will age more slowly, because of the lower rate of oxygen ingress compared with a natural cork.
What is clear, is that far too many New Zealand wines are being consumed before they are out of nappies. It’s time to let them grow up.
As you will note from the “looking back” item we have taken on board the complaint from a number of those attending the July dinner re the quantity of food provided. We will be taking this up with Saigon Van.
You may remember tasting the Seifried Zweigelt at the Seifried tasting back in August 2017.
You may be interested that the wine has been mentioned by Jancis Robinson in an article about some of the different wines now being tried by New Zealand producers.
The accent on Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir is well established but there is an increasing move towards different varietals and the article comments on a number of these. Anne Seifried was rapt to get a message from Jancis telling her how good their Zweigelt is.
A warm summer benefited New Zealand’s winegrowing regions, with 419,000 tonnes of grapes harvested during Vintage 2018.
This is up 6% on the 2017 tonnage but is still lower than initially anticipated in a season marked by a very early start to harvesting.
New Zealand Winegrowers CEO Philip Gregan says many wineries had been hoping for an even larger vintage, given 2017’s small harvest.
“However, we now expect export growth in the year ahead will be modest. It will be up to wineries to manage any product shortages from the vintage.”
In addition to prompting an early harvest, the warm summer produced fruit with good ripeness levels.
A highlight from Vintage 2018 is the increased production of red wines. “Production of both Pinot Noir and Merlot has lifted more than 20% on last year, which will be welcomed by both wineries and consumers. These varieties were down sharply in 2017 and it is very positive to see a return to more normal production levels this year,” Mr Gregan says.
New Zealand Winegrowers is confident Vintage 2018 wines will add to New Zealand’s reputation as a premium producer of cool climate wines.
“Every vintage is different and ultimately the final test is the quality delivered in the bottle to consumers. We are certain that consumers will enjoy the benefits of the warm summer when they get to taste the wines from Vintage 2018,” Mr Gregan says.
New Zealand wine exports are currently valued at $1.71 billion, up 3% in the past year. Wine is New Zealand’s fifth largest export good.
For further information contact:
Philip Gregan Chief Executive Officer New Zealand Winegrowers 021 964564
What a great evening with Mark and Susan. A nice blend of where they have come from and an outline of where the business is going now. Their business in Martinborough has taken an upturn with the introduction of platters at their tasting room. This has guided them into the tourism area and is looking very promising for them.
To recoup on the wines we started with the Rose 2017 as the quaffer. It is a dry style rose but with huge fruit sweetness and flavours of strawberries and raspberries. That was followed by the dry Pinot Gris and the two drier Gewurtztraminer’s. After a break we tasted the 2012 Pinot Noir, followed by the Reserve Pinot from 2013, which was a superb wine. It won a gold medal from the Air NZ Wine Awards. We then finished with the sweet Auslese Gewurztraminer 2013 (Pamela) that is a luscious wine.
Some good orders which was very pleasing for Susan and Mark. There were two things following from the evening. With harvest fast approaching there is often a need for pickers. If you are interested please let them know. Secondly, Haythornthwaite will give Club members a 10% discount at the tasting room. Give it a try, a trip to the Wairarapa, a platter and a tasting of some really nice wines. What more could you want?
We were finding that working too far ahead occasionally left us in trouble with late cancellations so your committee decided to arrange tastings a little closer to the time. This does not seem to be working out so well and we are in repair mode over the April tasting. Rest assured though that something will be arranged that will meet the usual high standard of our events.
Summer romance tasting
At the February summer romance tasting, I mentioned that the Lansdowne wines could be purchased. The offer was not taken up at the time but is still on the table. Lansdowne produces three wines and they are of a very high quality. There was some really good feedback on the Pinot Gris on the night. The wines have been bottle aged but will all cellar well. The Pinot Gris is $19.55 while their Pinot Noir and Syrah are more expensive at $38.25. These prices include a 15% but are only available through me. Let me know if you are interested.
Wine of Australia
Shows the value of reading the label fully. The Montana Wines mentioned will say “Wine of Australia” on the back. Clearly to be avoided if you want to be sure you are drinking NZ wines.
Kiwis are drinking their red wines too warm and our whites too cold, according to expert sommeliers.
Refrigeration leaves white too cold, and chances are red is too warm in the current summer weather.
Wellington wine bar Noblerot served its wines at a range of temperatures according to the varietal; the prime range for red wine was between 18 and 22 degrees.
Co-owner and sommelier Maciej Zimny said lighter, fruitier reds, such as pinot noir, lent themselves to being chilled to the bottom of that range.
During warmer summer weather, Zimny recommended chilling red wine from up to 10 minutes before serving, which would reduce the temperature by between three and five degrees.
“When you taste the wine, at a lower temperature it seems complete,” he said.
“Even when it’s slightly colder that it should be it will provide much more pleasure.”
That’s because of the alcoholic smell was exaggerated when it was warm, which was unappetising, according sommelier at Auckland’s French Cafe, Stephanie Guth.
She said. however, the sight of a chilled red wine was odd for customers.
“You want to do it justice but it’s such a weird thing for people to see, red wine in an ice bucket, even though you know it might benefit from it,” Guth said.
Twenty minutes in an ice-bucket before opening and drinking might help to boost the flavour in a pinot noir.
“The more complex the wine you have, the warmer it should be served,” Zimny said, referring to rich red wines such as merlot or Bordeaux varietals.
Conversely white wine should be served chilled, however complex oaky chardonnays should be served slightly warmer than other whites.
So chardonnay’s flavours lent better to slightly warmer temperatures than sauvignon blanc, about 14 degrees as opposed to 10 degrees, because it was important to make sure oak flavours were prominent.
Pinot noir and chardonnay hailed from the Burgundy region of France, and both were classically stored in the same cellar under the same conditions. He said wines have either been served too warm or too cold since the invention of refrigerators.
Cellar temperature was perceived as something quite different to what was initially intended, room temperature, Guth said.
Leaving white wine to warm up slightly released flavours hidden by colder temperatures.
“It doesn’t harm the wine but you tend to get a little more out of the aromas.”
The only reason one should drink a bottle straight out of the fridge was “if you don’t want to taste your wine”, she said.