14th October – This month we have Saint Clair Family Estate from Marlborough with Alison Downs presenting.
Saint Clair Family Estate was established by Neal and Judy Ibbotson in 1994, having been viticulture pioneers in Marlborough since 1978. From their first vintage, when all their wines won medals, including gold, the name Saint Clair has been synonymous with quality and its award-winning record continues today.
Saint Clair is 100% family-owned, with the next generation also involved in the day-to-day running of the company.
Daughters Sarina and Julie both work within the business in sales and marketing after studying wine business marketing at Adelaide and have a vast knowledge of the wine industry. Son Tony is responsible for the design of all Saint Clair’s packaging, promotional material and advertising. He owns a design consultancy business, the Creative Method, in Sydney. Tony designed the original Saint Clair labels back in 1994 when he was a student and has been refining and expanding the range of Saint Clair labels ever since.
Our mission is to create world-class wines that exceed their customers’ every expectation.
2019 Saint Clair Origin Pinot Gris Rosé
2018Saint Clair Pioneer Block 28 Pinot Blanc
2019 Saint Clair Origin Hawke’s Bay Viognier
2019 Saint Clair Wairau Reserve Sauvignon Blanc
2019 Saint Clair James Sinclair Chardonnay
2018 Saint Clair Pioneer Block 22 Pioneer Block Pinot Noir
2017 Saint Clair Origin Hawke’s Bay Merlot
Book it in now – Tasting: 14th October, starts at 8pm J’ville Community Centre – look out for our sign outside
It’s excellent now we’re in COVID19 Level One! Well done everyone!
“One of the most prestigious tastings in the 40 years of the club’s existence”. That’s what the Independent Herald wrote in their 17th September issue when reviewing last month’s tasting. And what a night it was. For those of you fortunate enough to attend our second (and last?) meeting under COVID Level 2, I am sure you will agree it was impressive.
Presented by Life Member and former President, Alan Evans, this carefully curated (by Alan and Wayne) selection was sourced from Alan’s temperature-controlled cellar and the Club’s cellar. This is what they came up with:
2016 Ogier Cotes du Rhone Blanc
2016 Askerne Semillon
2017 Dom. Vincent Careme Vouvray Le Clos
2011 Penfolds 389
2001 Penfolds 389
2017 Troplong Mondot St Emilion Grand Cru
It is difficult to pick favourites as all the wines were superb. However, there was some consensus at our table, so I will highlight a couple. Of the whites, the Ogier Cotes du Rhone Blanc was our pick. This bargain-priced (under $20) blend contains five grapes: Grenache Blanc, Clairette, Bouroulene, Roussane and Viognier. Produced without any oak at all, it showcases the region’s fruit above all else. Alan has become an expert in that region since, as he explained, at the Magnum Society the popular areas of France, i.e. Bordeaux and Burgundy, had already been taken. No one wanted Cotes du Rhone, so he took it!
Of the reds, it was the two Penfolds 389’s, their classic and much sought after Cabernet Shiraz wine, that was favoured at our table. Opinion differed as to which was the best but to me, it was 2001. Deep colour and very concentrated, it showed the benefits of keeping this wine for almost two decades. Alan explained that Bin 389 is often referred to as ‘Poor Man’s Grange’ or ‘Baby Grange’ because the wine is said to be matured in the same barrels that held the previous vintage of Grange. Interestingly 2001 was under cork while 2011 had a screw cap. Alan gave us the latest thinking on screw caps where there have been some disappointing results for cellared wines: the sulfur dioxide levels can be too high and produce rotten egg aromas. Some producers are returning to cork now that they can get guaranteed taint-free products like the Diam. The majority of Penfolds’ top-end red wines are now 100 per cent cork-sealed. They are also looking into the use of glass closures. Alan’s tip on removing that sulphur rotten egg smell: dip a copper penny into the wine and it will convert it to odourless copper sulphide!
This meeting was a highlight of our 40th Anniversary year and was a good opportunity to taste older cellared wines. A huge thanks go to Alan who indicated he is happy to do a similar tasting at some stage in the future.
39 members attended for the evening and orders for the wine & 5 cookbooks exceeded $3K which is one of our more successful orders.
An interesting note from our orders is that the 2019 Wairarapa Viognier was the preferred wine, with 2018 From the Ashes Riesling second. The Viognier also illustrates how they grow grapes and bottle wine from various areas around NZ, even though they are based in North Canterbury.
The list of wines we sampled during the evening for your recollection is below:
Another great evening with nice wines and an informative presenter. John Loughlin was a pleasure to deal with and kept the meeting running to time. A good level of orders resulted. But that all our tastings were as easy to organize as this one was. John says he would be more than happy to come back and has some interesting wines that we haven’t yet tried. We will keep this in mind.
The wines tasted included; Askerne Sauv Blanc / Sauv Gris / Semillon 2018 as the quaffer; followed by; Askerne Reserve Chardonnay 2016; Askerne Viognier 2018; Askerne Gewürztraminer 2016; Askerne Syrah 2015; Askerne Merlot Cab Franc Cab Sauv Malbec 2015; Askerne 2016 Cabernet Franc; rounded off with the Askerne Dessert Cabernet 2018.
This was a very enjoyable tasting. Cenna was a very knowledgeable presenter with a great relaxed style. She admitted to a few nerves to start with but was soon interacting nicely with the members. The wines presented were great wines at a good value for money. The tasting was a good night.
Whilst we haven’t used Negociants before, the fact that we are now licensed means we can deal with this type of operation in the future. We will keep it in mind to pencil Negociants in for another tasting soon, as they have a really good provider base.
Being the first vineyard in Gladstone in 1986, Christine and David Kernohan took over the vineyard in 1996. Only 20km from Martinborough, GV soils exhibit similar properties probably due to its proximity to the old terrace riverbed of the Ruamahanga River.
With ideal soil conditions, free draining stony silt loam for growing vines, production has steadily stepped up over the past 20 years. Christine mentioned the wine growing area in Gladstone is in the process of identifying its own sub-region characteristics.
The wines from first impressions seemed to be a little flat. First impressions can be deceiving as they were in this case. The bouquet for most wines were on the light side but still clean and fresh.
The 2014 Viognier gave a hint on lemon peel and spice with a dry, ripe apricot finish. The GC Sauv. Blanc hinted at young pineapple and again a dry, crisp lingering (for more) finish. The Pinot Gris offered up fresh melons with off-dry ripe stonefruit to finish and the Rosé, made from Bordeaux-style grapes. strawberries and cream, beautiful and elegant.
Into the reds. The tasting notes were not wrong. What they don’t mention is their elegant subtle perfume and rich long finish. 12.000 Pinot Noir offered hints of blackberry and liquorice with a savoury finish.
Despite a wet few months before picking, the 2011 GV Pinot Noir displayed a warmth from the extra time on the vine allowing the tannins to build. This would go perfectly with lamb or pork infused with Asian-inspired flavours; star anise, dark soy, sugar and salt.
The club appreciates Christine’s time and wonderfully crafted wines. Now looking forward to how 2014 Pinot’s stack up.
Venue: Johnsonville Community Centre Hall, 30 Moorefield Rd, Johnsonville, Wellington 6037 – Directions
Christine is the chief winemaker at Gladstone, involved in all stages of winemaking and manages the business. One of only three Scottish women winemakers in the world (not being a common career aspiration where or when she grew up). Christine ‘fell’ into the wine industry after a happenstance visit to Gladstone Vineyard with David one spring weekend in 1995.
She previously worked in the computer industry in business analysis and project management and was also involved in social research and agriculture industry research. She has an MBA from Massey University and farming experience from involvement in a goat, sheep and beef farm at Hunterville.
Gladstone Vineyard was the opportunity to run her own business, bring together the rural life with business, and apply her scientific bent from way back.
David Kernohan is owner/taster, architect and former Associate Professor at the School of Architecture at Wellington’s Victoria University. He has been operating his own research and building heritage consultancy, Architecture Diagnostics, from the vineyard for the past eight years.
He is the author of five books on architecture including Wairarapa Buildings published in 2003. David is a Deputy Environment Commissioner, was co-author of the Hunn Report on the weather tightness of buildings that precipitated the Building Act 2004, and is a former Director of Wellington Waterfront Limited.
‘Quaffing wine’ – 12,000 Miles Sauvignon Blanc 2014 Move over Marlborough… try the ‘more grown up’, easy drinking summer Wairarapa SB. The wine shows excellent fruit purity and finishes long and attractive. At its best: now to 2017.” 4.5 Stars, Wine Orbit, Jan 2015
Gladstone Vineyard Viognier 2014 White peach and mandarin on the nose, echoed by orange blossom and subtle clove spice. An elegant, cool climate Viognier. 5 Stars 93/100. Wine Orbit; 4 Stars” Cameron Douglas MS
Gladstone Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2013 More serious, wonderful food wine. Careful batch selection and winemaking produce this textural elegant Sauvignon Blanc. Silver Medals, San Francisco and Canada, 91/100 Sam Kim.
12,000 Miles Pinot Gris 2014 A lovely bouquet of yellow peach, loquat and nectarine opens up to a musky floral and cinnamon spice nose. The palate is rich and rounded with a soft, mealy character from the extended lees contact. Silver Medal NZ International Wine Show 2014
Gladstone Vineyard Rose 2014 THINK PINK! A perfect ‘all year round’ rose. The nose is all summery desserts with strawberry, raspberry and pannacotta with hints of spice. Creamy and generous entry with a juicy fruit core and a clean finish. Made from Cabernet Franc and Merlot grapes.
12,000 Miles Pinot Noir 2013 New release, dark berry flavours are balanced with subtle spice, chocolate, earth and savoury characteristics that enhance and lengthen the palate. Pure Gold Air New Zealand Wine Awards 2014, Gold Melbourne International Wine Competition 2014
Gladstone Vineyard Pinot Noir 2011 “Light ruby-red with purple hues, fresh and fragrant with lifted red cherry and berry fruit aromas and a little savoury interest. Attractively elegant”. Silver Medal International Wine Challenge 2013, & Decanter World Wine Awards 2013, International Wine Challenge 2013
Note: Every case purchased goes into the draw to win a magnum of Gladstone Vineyard Reserve Pinot Noir 09.
Gladstone Vineyard is a family business with an international reputation for distinctive, high-quality wines of finesse and complexity. Established on the old riverbed of the Ruamahanga River at Gladstone, their focus is simply to craft beautiful wine that expresses the exceptional characteristics of the soil, the climate and the region.
At Gladstone Vineyard, they are committed to growing vines and producing wine in a thoughtful and environmentally responsible manner. They like to call this “intelligent winegrowing”. It means making smart, considered decisions about everything they do, with the interests of the land, the vines and the wine top of mind.
Their principal varieties are the internationally acclaimed Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris. They also make a Viognier, a Rosé, a dry Riesling, and the “Auld Alliance” their premier Bordeaux-style wine. Christine Kernohan is Owner/Winemaker and I assume she will do the presentation. More about the tasting and the wines next month.
The evening was excellent and the presenter was superb. Simon Bell’s style of presenting a tasting was the right balance showing that he knew about wine and was enthusiastic about what they were doing at Ash Ridge. We were rapt with the turnout and the response to orders. In addition a number of members joined up to the Ash Ridge Wine Club. A great evening, and a bonus at such short notice.
Simon presented Ash Ridge’s Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Chardonnay 2013, Viognier 2013, Vintners Reserve Chardonnay 2013, Rose 2014, Syrah 2013 and the Vintners Reserve “The Blend” 2013 (a bottle of which landed on the floor when one of the tables collapsed. Fortunately no-one went without.)
Venue: Johnsonville Community Centre Hall, 30 Moorefield Rd, Johnsonville, Wellington 6037 – Directions.
Cost: Members or guests $10, member with a guest $14.
Presenter: Simon Bell, Sales Manager. An EIT graduate, Simon spends his time ensuring that the public has access to Ash Ridge wines whether through the cellar door or charming the wine trade to ensure that you can enjoy our wines in restaurants and shops around the country.
Wines offered at the tasting are likely to include:
2014 Ash Ridge Sauvignon Blanc
2013 Ash Ridge Chardonnay
2013 Ash Ridge Viognier
2013 Ash Ridge Vintners Reserve Chardonnay
2014 Ash Ridge Rosé
2013 Ash Ridge Syrah
2013 Ash Ridge Vintners Reserve “The Blend”
In January 2014, in their biggest step to date, Ash Ridge opened a brand new Winery on their home site in Maraekakaho. The 100 tonne winery was designed to offer all modern winemaking facilities in a boutique size, allowing them to be truly hands on in their winemaking. The small winemaking team can nurture the process from vineyard to bottle.
Ash Ridge wines are all hand-crafted, single estate wines which reflect the unique vineyard location, the passion for winemaking and the premium quality that they make. Ash Ridge produce premium Hawkes Bay Syrah, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
In order to create a range of Bridge Pa Triangle wines they have partnered with the Peet Vineyard. The vineyard is based on an ash pumice ridge of soil, and is planted in sauvignon blanc, merlot, cabernet sauvignon. In more recent years they have also partnered with neighbour Shawn Hill, of Raptor Rise Vineyard, to source Malbec and Viognier grapes. With the vineyard being over the fence and on the same soil they are truly staying local.
Anne opened the evening with a thud and spilt wine. One of the tables with Ash Ridge wines broke sending bottles all over the place. What an introduction for Simon to the Cellar Club. Anne went on to thank Simon and Ash Ridge Wines for their effort in replacing Man O’ War at short notice. We’ll have Man O’ War presenting in October.
A gifted and passionate speaker, Simon spoke in some detail about the Bridge Pa Triangle convincing even the most steadfast Gimblett Gravels supporter that wines from Bridge Pa are worth more than a passing sip. In fact it’s those differences that gives Ash Ridge wines that expression of the terroir in which the grapes are grown. This was expressed exquisitely across the range of wines tasted.
Simon had obviously presented Ash Ridge Wines a few times before because his knowledge of the winery, the wines being produced and allround wine knowledge was outstanding.
After a brief history lesson of Ash Ridge Wines, it wasn’t that bad in fact it made you realise just how much effort has gone into developing the vineyard since 2000, Simon got into his stride with the tasting. Simon’s wine knowledge allowed members to understand nuances between Ash Ridge and other regions in New Zealand and around the world. This made interesting listening and even taught us a thing or two.
The wines selected for the night showcased all Ash Ridge wine styles. The 2014 Sauvignon Blanc was definitely Hawkes Bay, tropical rather than grassy. The Chardonnays were very fruit driven with the Estate making an exceptional replacement for non-savvy drinkers with its acidity just right for seafood and salads but would go just as well with most meats. The Viognier was elegant and true to its style.
The Syrah was well rounded needing several years, I’d suggest five to seven, to reach its potential so well worth stocking up on.
The showstopper of the night for most members was the first release of five varietals that make-up “The Blend”. Well balanced with great mouth feel now just wait ten to fifteen years for it to develop further. We were privileged to be the first outside Ash Ridge’s own cellar club to taste this wine.
A great evening with wines representative of the terror from a winery voted Winery of the Year 2014 at the Hawkes Bay Bayleys A&P. The only truly boutique winery to do so.
Tip: Start collecting “The Blend” as I’m sure overtime it will get as great a following as similar wine styles like Quintology, Sophia, Talisman and others.
When next visiting Ash Ridge Wines, ask about joining the Cellar Club.
Date: Wednesday 10 September 2014 Time: 7:45 – 9:45 pm Venue: Johnsonville Community Centre Hall, 30 Moorefield Rd, Johnsonville, Wellington 6037 – Directions. Cost: Members $10 Guests $14 Presenter: Jason (Jase) Pearce (Central and Lower North Island Sales and Marketing for RM Wines and a Master Sommelier level 1)
Details: We have secured a future star for this tasting – guess which one?
Jase comes from over 15 years in the Wellington Hospitality industry, where he built and managed bars and restaurants, including St Johns Bar and The Occidental.
While living and working in in Wellington Jase gained a passion for wine and achieved the distinction of Master Sommelier level 1.
On moving to Hawkes Bay, with a view to expanding his wine knowledge and a change of lifestyle, Jase contacted Rod McDonald who offered him a job in the prestigious position of cellar rat in the winery.
Jase worked through the fantastic 2013 vintage and continues to lend a hand in the winery when he’s not working in his usual role in sales and marketing for Rod McDonald wines covering the Central and Lower North Island.
Jase started the night with an apology from Rod. Rod was in China with a
delegation promoting the virtues of Hawkes Bay’s fine vintners, vigneron’s and négociants. Johnsonville – China; I know what I’d choose too.
After being introduced by our President Anne, Jase launched into the RM Wines philosophy of making wines that promise to deliver great drinking from release right through to giving it time to develop.
Extremely passionate about the RM wines, Jase talked about his own experiences in the winery where he still spends a day a week keeping his hand in the production side. I think this makes for a marketer that knows the wines instinctively, and that instinctiveness comes across.
Jase highlighted just how well respected and in demand Rod is. From winemaker at Vidals where Rod became New Zealand Winemaker of the year in 2006 to making not only his own wines but wines for more than 10 other labels, Rod has developed a cult following.
Jase was right on the money with the wines for the night. The wines selected are a tribute to the winemaker and his team. There was the strong RM distinction of flavour and character in each varietal when you compared it with similar type wines from other winemakers.
Some wines you may not associate right away (Sauv. Blanc and Viognier) but at least you’d know it was better than just a good drop; they were exceptional. Each left you feeling a sample was never going to be enough; hence Jase left enough order forms for each person on your table.
It was hard to pick just one white or red as each wine was distinctive. The highlights for me were the Viognier and Trademark Syrah. The Viognier baked apricot on the nose, rich tropical flavour of pineapple and mango with a long warm spicy finish. The Trademark was simply elegant; reminds me of a lightly spiced plum cake on the nose with a rich mouth feel of dark ripe plums and baked cherry pie with plain yoghurt. The finish was a little tight and sharp so I know I’ll enjoy it in another 10 – 15 years.
Tip: If you can get it, the 2012 Blanket Hills Syrah is the best value Syrah around. Stock up on it before it all goes.
Venue: Johnsonville Community Centre Hall, 30 Moorefield Rd, Johnsonville, Wellington 6037 – Directions
Cost: Members: $14, Guests: $18
Presenter: Dan Barker, Winemaker/Owner
Details: Moana Park produces three unique sets of wines – the Estate Series, Single Vineyard Reserve Series and the Harmony Series. All the tiers are clearly distinct from one another, and reflect the unique characters of the micro climates and vineyards they originate from. Each is aimed at a specific sector of the wine drinking market.