Malborough

Clos Henri Pinot Noir 2010, Marlborough, New Zealand

 

Fermented-Grape Favourite

Drunk October 2013, Hakkasan Mayfair, London

 

The winery

Clos Henri based in Marlborough, New Zealand was begun by the internationally recognised winemaking family of Henri Bourgeois of Sancerre, France.

Domaine Henri Bourgeois was founded by Etienne Henri Bourgeois in 1952, in the village of Chavignol; a village famous for goats cheese. At this early stage, the Bourgeois family had only two acres of vines, along with several hectares of farmland and pastures for goats and cattle. Always an innovator, Henri was among the first in Sancerre to concentrate his efforts into being a full-time vigneron - "wine producer". With help from his family and two young sons. The Bourgeois family now own 120 different vineyards on 80 acres, the largest in the region, to create their Sancerre and Pouilly-Fume.

The Bourgeois New Zealand vineyard was christened "Clos Henri", pronounced "Klo Enrie" for two reasons; first as a homage to the patriarch of the Bourgeois family, Henri and secondly its vineyard of special terroir, or "Clos".

"Clos" is an old French word, representing an ancient custom of delineating a unique vineyard site by enclosing it in a wall or barrier. The Clos Henri site, with its untouched land, three soil types and unique hillsides, is also enclosed and represents the term well.
Marlbrough's South Island climate is colder, drier, sunnier and particularly has more predictable Autumns than the North Island for the growing of grapes making it the premier wine region of New Zealand.
The valley of Wairau where is located Clos Henri has a moderated oceanic climate. The temperatures surplus seldom 24°C in the hottest months and the variations days/nights are marked. The spring frosts are rather rare but there can be frosts at the end of the season before the harvest. The annual
precipitations are 740 mm and are spread out throughout the year, but they can be unforeseeable. The valley has more sun than any other area of New Zealand.
The alluvial grounds of the Wairau and the Awatere Riverbeds and patches of low-vigor clay soils from the nearby Wither Hills, offer conditions ideal for viticulture. The first Clos Henri wines were made in 2003.

The wine

A beautfully complex nose of blackcurant, spices and mocha with a hint of earthiness. This Pinot Noir is rich and robust with ripe tannins and balanced acidity with berries and damson. The finish is very, very long. This is what NZ Pinot is about. Wow! The taste of Burgundy captured in Marlborough, but with a New Zealand twist.

Two Rivers Awatere Selection Pinot Noir 2011, Malborough, New Zealand

Drunk October 2013

The winery

David Clouston is originally from Marlborough, and after 22 vintages abroad from Oregon to Chile, Corsica to Alsace, he returned home and set about exploring the valleys and diverse terroirs of Marlborough. The main production is the Sauvignon made from fruit from both the Awatere and Wairau river valleys, whence the 'Two Rivers of Marlborough' name, but his hillside Pinot Noir is showing great potential.


The wine

Sourced from Richmond Brook and Seddon vineyards in the Awatere with 10% from Brancott in the Wairau. These two north facing, low yielding vineyards are at an elevation of up to 1000 feet. 

The grapes were hand-picked and gently de-stemmed before undergoing fermentation by naturally occurring wild yeasts. 5% whole bunch clusters were added to the ferment for an increased lift in aromatics and structure. The resulting wine was aged in both new and seasoned French barrels for 11 months with intermittent stirring of the malolactic lees for increased palate weight and mouthfeel. The wine was unfiltered and unfined.

This is a ruby coloured red with typical New Zealand Pinot Noir aroma of fruit and earthy spices. The palate is medium bodied, blackcurrants, cherry and spice on the finish. Not as intense and complex as some NZ Pinot's but very rewarding and an excellent example of what  a Malborough micro-climate can offer in terms of this grape.

Seresin Estate - Rachel, Pinot Noir 2010, Wairau Valley, Malborough, New Zealand

Drunk September 2013

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The Seresin wine estate was founded by Michael Seresin. He was born in Wellington, New Zealand, but left in the 1960s, when sheep, not grapevines, covered the Wairau Plains. He settled in Italy, where he was captivated by Italian food and wine culture, and began his career as a cinematographer. Over time Michael's interest in wine developed into a passion. In the early 1990s after investigating opportunities to start a winery in Italy, he became aware of the quality wines starting to emerge from his homeland. After visiting Marlborough, and falling in love with the Marlborough Sounds, Michael decided to purchase a home there, followed by the purchase of some land in the Wairau Valley, which became Seresin's Home vineyard. Planting of vines began immediately, followed by the importation and planting of Tuscan olive varieties and significant plantings of natives.

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Michael Seresin

Seresin's first vintage was in 1996. In 2000 the Tatou vineyard was purchased, followed a year later by land in the Omaka Valley which has become the Raupo Creek vineyard.

Located in the central pocket of the Wairau Valley, this certified organic and biodynamic 45 hectare vineyard is made up of alluvial, free-draining Waimakariri soils. The land is planted with Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, and Riesling. Olive groves, orchards, and vegetable gardens are an important part of the vineyard and add to the diversity of the Estate.

This team has largely been assembled in the last seven years, beginning with the arrival in 2006 of winemaker Clive Dougall, who came fresh from a stint as assistant winemaker at Pegasus Bay, and estate manager (or "Farm Manager" as he prefers) Colin Ross. Ross is an import from Australia, where he spent the previous ten years of his career converting Brooklyn Valley Vineyard to biodynamics, before arriving at Seresin to do the same thing.

Assistant winemaker Richard Gabrielsson, a Swedish-born sommelier who came to New Zealand looking for work in the industry, started behind the counter at the winery's cellar door, but was quickly drafted by the winemaking team and has spent the last four years in the cellar with Dougall.

This triumvirate of gentlemen is filled out (or perhaps balanced) by a young woman named Wendy Tillman, who joined the winery in 2008 under the title of Biodynamic Viticulture Practitioner. Tillman has a masters in viticulture from the University of Adelaide, and serves as the conductor of the multivariate regimen both for Seresin, and for a local group of Marlborough winemakers who don't have the luxury of the self-contained farm over which Tillman presides.

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The Seresin Rachel Pinot Noir grapes are hand picked and then hand-sorted before being de-stemmed and cooled. After a pre-fermentation soaking period juice is allowed to warm and fermentation started with wild yeast. During fermentation the caps are hand-plunged daily. The wine is then left to sit on skins for two weeks for post ferment maceration; a total of four weeks is spent in contact with the skins. It was then drained and lightly pressed before being transferred to French barriques, approximately 30% of which were new. The Rachel Pinot Noir went through natural malolactic fermentation during fifteen months spent maturing in barrel, before being bottled unfiltered and without fining. The finished wine has an alcohol of 14.0 percent, pH of 3.65, and 5.90g/L titratable acid.

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Another great New Zealand Pinot Noir, this time from Malborough on the Northern tip of the South Island. Concentrated flavours and aromas, a wonderful ruby colour in the glass.. Great nose of strawberry, blackberry and black cherry, and typical Burgundy like earthiness on the palate with a beautifully long finish.

Nautilus Pinot Noir 2010 Malborough, New Zealand

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I am trying to be excited by this Pinot Noir from Malborough but despite the fact it is one of my favourite grapes, Nautilus 2010 is failing. It is certainly a smooth number but lacks nose and any real dynamism. Somewhat frustrating that I have another 5 bottles and I am hoping that they deliver. With food, it has a very strong sweet after taste.

I was expecting better.