Marlborough 2011 – Part One


House sitting in Blenheim for a while has given me the opportunity to plan visits to most, if not all Marlborough wineries and vineyards over the next few months. I usually bow to Marlborough (my Mecca) each morning when I get up in Christchurch and now I’m here and enjoying the fantastic weather and the close proximity to nearly 100 Wineries and Vineyards…

I started on Saturday at the eastern end of Marlborough with a visit to Brancott Estate Visitor’s Centre and then on Lawson Dry Hills – Mt Riley is closed for the winter so may have to phone and make an appointment to visit them.

At Brancott I was welcomed by Julie and a colleague and we had a great chat,  some laughs and tasted a number of wines – Brancott have such a vast portfolio that I had to pick just a few from those available to taste. I tried the Brancott Letter series Brancott ‘B’ Sauvignon Blanc and Renwick ‘R’ Sauvignon Gris, followed by the Reserve Sauvignon Blanc, three very different approaches to Savvy, the Savvy Gris tricking the palate a bit with a juxtaposition of Savvy and Pinot Gris characters – enjoyed all three though and starting to love Savvies with a bit of oak treatment/lees contact etc now.  On to a new series from Stoneleigh – 2010 Latitude Chardonnay then the Brancott Estate Reserve Merlot and The 2009 Terraces ‘T’ Pinot Noir. All nice clean well made and consistently good value wine in my humble opinion – Will have to re-visit and try a few others…

Thanks to Nigel Whittaker (Cellar Door Manager) at Lawson Dry Hills for spending time taking me through the Lawson Dry Hills range – more stunning wines including the 2009 Pioneer Gewurztraminer one of three wines made during special vintages in honor of Ross Lawson who passed away after losing his battle with cancer in early 2009 – took a bottle of this home for Glenys to try – she loved it too… Lawson Dry Hills has a fantastic range of wines – managed to try 2010 Sauvignon Blanc, 2010 Pinot Gris, 2007 Riesling, 2007 Chardonnay and 2008 Pinot Noir – all superb wines made with great care and attention to excellence. This was my first visit to Lawson Dry Hills and I was lucky enough to have a brief chat with Marcus Wright – Winemaker as he passed through the tasting room to get a beer after fixing fences in the vineyard…

I’d recommend a visit to both Brancott Estate, a very large producer from the Pernod Ricard brand and Lawson Dry hills a smaller boutique family owned and operated Marlborough vineyard one of the Family of Twelve alliance. Thanks to both for a great wine tasting experience.

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