Back in June last year I discovered a new producer in Marlborough, Eureka Wines. Hugh Girling and Stephen Rae are experimenting with some unusual and innovative wine making techniques including using wine barrels made from Acacia, Oak and 50/50 barrels that have alternative staves of oak and acacia.
They also make a Straw Wine, where the whole bunches of Sauvignon Blanc grapes are carefully picked, then laid on beds of straw in greenhouses for several weeks to dry and concentrate the fruit flavours. There might be a Straw Pinot Noir soon too… Their wine making techniques may seem radical, but have been used in the old world for centuries.
In my previous review I tasted their 2011 Eureka Marlborough Gewurztraminer and the wonderful 2011 Eureka Marlborough Straw Wine Sauvignon Blanc. Chatting to Stephen at the Marlborough Farmers Market recently, he introduced me to three of their latest releases, also very interesting & innovative wines from their always expending portfolio. Here we go then…
Eureka Barrel Fermented Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2012.
Grapes from the Escaroth Vineyard are 100% fermented in a mix of seasoned American and their new Acacia / American Oak barrels. Pale straw green in the glass, soft floral and tropical notes in the nose, palate is beautifully textured with time on lees and a subtle but “different” oak influence, fresh tropical, zingy grapefruit acidity and a spicy warming finish. This is a really good example of what can be made with Sauvignon fermented and aged in oak, and not just your normal French oak either. Recommend you try a bottle of this and let them know what you think! A/V 12.5% RRP: $25.00
Eureka Pinot Gris Marlborough 2012
Three rows and 3 different clones of Pinot Gris from the Ormond Estate Nursery were selected for this PG – again Stephen & Hugh pressed whole bunches which were then 100% fermented on the skins/solids in a mix of American Oak and Acacia barrels. Gorgeous pale onion skin / straw colour in the glass, and I got lots of sweet stone fruit (nectarine) and pear on the nose. On the palate it’s complex savoury and textured, stone fruit again with ginger and warm spicy finish. Luscious, textured, complex and interesting wine which I really enjoyed on day two once it had a bit of air it really opened up. A/V 14.5% RRP $20.00
Eureka Late Harvest Pinot Gris Marlborough 2011
This is a new release with grapes coming from the Foundry Vineyard where they had been left on the vines past leaf fall and picked at 55 brix. Again 100% fermented in new and seasoned French and American Oak barrels – Stephen told me it took over year to finish fermenting! Wow – in the glass a deep golden amber colour and viscosity almost of liquid honey. In the nose there’s masses of apricots, peach and sweet pear, citrus and spice. On the palate? Unctuous! Silky! Creamy, Sweet, succulent, jammy, honey with vanilla spice (American Oak I expect) This is a stunning dessert wine with a difference. A 375ml bottle was not enough!
A/V 11% R/S 250g RRP $25.00