Nel­son and Can­ter­bury may pro­duce less than Marl­bor­ough, but the qual­ity is right up there.

New Zealand Listener - - CONTENTS - by Michael Cooper

Nel­son and Can­ter­bury may pro­duce less than Marl­bor­ough, but the qual­ity is right up there.

Ly­ing to the north­west and south of Marl­bor­ough, the less wine-sat­u­rated re­gions of Nel­son and Can­ter­bury are far smaller in terms of their vi­nous out­put, but they cer­tainly hold their own in terms of qual­ity.

The two re­gions have just 7% of the na­tional vine­yard but 15% of the winer­ies. In both re­gions, sauvi­gnon blanc is the ma­jor white-wine va­ri­ety and pinot noir heads the reds.

Pinot gris is also ex­ten­sively planted in both, but whereas Nel­son has a strong rep­u­ta­tion for chardon­nay, in Can­ter­bury, ries­ling shines.

CHARDON­NAY Black­en­brook Nel­son Chardon­nay 2016

This sturdy wine was ma­tured in Amer­i­can and French oak casks. Full-bod­ied (14% alc/ vol), it has gen­er­ous, vi­brant, peachy, slightly toasty flavours, show­ing con­sid­er­able com­plex­ity, and a well-rounded

fin­ish. De­li­cious now. $25

Moutere Hills Sa­rau Re­serve Chardon­nay 2015

This pow­er­ful, fra­grant wine was grown in Nel­son and bar­rel-fer­mented. Full-bod­ied (13.5% alc/vol) and fresh, it has vi­brant, cit­rusy, peachy flavours, show­ing ex­cel­lent con­cen­tra­tion and com­plex­ity, bal­anced acid­ity, and a last­ing fin­ish. $55

Neu­dorf Moutere Chardon­nay 2016

Cer­ti­fied or­ganic, this mul­ti­fac­eted wine was han­dled in French oak bar­riques. Richly fra­grant, it is mouth­fill­ing (13.5% alc/vol), with ripe, peachy, slightly toasty flavours, threaded with ap­petis­ing acid­ity, and lovely vi­brancy, com­plex­ity and depth. $74

Rich­mond Plains Nel­son Chardon­nay 2015

Lemon-scented, this fresh, ele­gant wine was han­dled in bar­rels and tanks. Full­bod­ied (13.5% alc/vol), it has vi­brant, cit­rusy, slightly but­tery flavours, a sub­tle sea­son­ing of oak, and good length. Cer­ti­fied or­ganic. $25

ALBARIÑO Aronui Sin­gle Vine­yard Nel­son Albariño 2015

This im­pres­sive wine was grown in Up­per Moutere. Aro­matic and full-bod­ied (13.5% alc/vol), it is an in­tensely va­ri­etal wine, with strong peach, grape­fruit and spice flavours, dry­ish, crisp, finely bal­anced and long. $25

PINOT GRIS Mount Brown Es­tates North Can­ter­bury Pinot Gris 2017

Priced sharply, this mouth­fill­ing (13.5% alc/vol) wine is fresh and smooth, with a gen­tle splash of sweet­ness and very good depth of ripe, peachy, spicy flavour. A slightly gewürz-like wine, it is al­ready drink­ing well. $17

Re­nato Nel­son Pinot Gris 2017 Es­tate-grown on the coast, this wine of­fers good value. Fra­grant and full-bod­ied (13% alc/vol), it has ripe, peachy, gen­tly spicy flavours, a sliver of sweet­ness and a slightly oily rich­ness. $18

Ter­race Edge Waipara Pinot Gris 2016

De­li­cious now, this sturdy, Al­sace-style wine was fer­mented in French oak bar­rels and tanks. Mouth­fill­ing (13.5% alc/vol) and soft, it has deep stone-fruit and spice flavours, gen­tle sweet­ness, and a rich, rounded fin­ish. $25

Tiki Es­tate Waipara Pinot Gris 2016

At­trac­tively scented, this is a weighty (13.5% alc/vol) wine with gen­er­ous, peachy, vaguely hon­eyed flavours, gen­tle acid­ity and an off-dry, smooth fin­ish. Fine value. $20

Waipara Hills Waipara Val­ley Pinot Gris 2017

Bar­gain-priced, this is an

off-dry style, fra­grant, full­bod­ied (13.5% alc/ vol) and finely tex­tured. Vi­brantly fruity, it has gen­er­ous peach and pear-like flavours, hints of spices and gin­ger, and a well-rounded fin­ish. $22

SAUVI­GNON BLANC Grey­stone Sauvi­gnon Blanc Bar­rel Fer­mented 2017

This North Can­ter­bury wine was fer­mented in old French oak casks. It is mouth­fill­ing (13.5% alc/vol), with strong, ripe, tightly struc­tured, vaguely hon­eyed flavours, show­ing ex­cel­lent com­plex­ity. $25

Kaimira Es­tate Bright­wa­ter Sauvi­gnon Blanc 2016

Cer­ti­fied or­ganic, this es­tate-grown Nel­son wine is full-bod­ied (13.5% alc/vol), with crisp, ripe pineap­ple and lime flavours, gen­er­ous and still youth­ful, and a dry, finely bal­anced fin­ish. $21

Mount Beau­ti­ful North Can­ter­bury Sauvi­gnon Blanc 2016

Es­tate-grown at Che­viot, north of Waipara, this is a weighty wine (14% alc/vol), with ex­cel­lent vigour and con­cen­tra­tion of ripe pas­sion­fruit/lime flavours, finely bal­anced, dry, crisp and long. Fine value. $24

Sher­wood Es­tate Stra­tum Waipara Val­ley Sauvi­gnon Blanc 2017

Priced right, this fresh, tangy, medium-bod­ied wine (12% alc/vol) is full of vigour. It of­fers good depth of trop­i­cal fruit and herba­ceous flavours, with a crisp, finely bal­anced fin­ish. $18

The Bone­line River­bone Waipara Sauvi­gnon Blanc 2014

Ma­tur­ing grace­fully, this dis­tinc­tive wine was fer­mented in French oak casks. Full-bod­ied (13% alc/vol), it is tightly struc­tured, with vi­brant, ripe, trop­i­cal fruit flavours, show­ing good com­plex­ity, a min­er­ally streak and a long, dry fin­ish. $30

RIES­LING Bright­wa­ter Vine­yards Nel­son Ries­ling 2017

Grown on the Waimea Plains, this is a youth­ful, off-dry style. Medium-bod­ied (11.5% alc/vol), it has strong, lively, lemony flavours, hints of limes and apri­cots, good acid spine and a long fin­ish. $22

Georges Road Block Three Waipara Ries­ling 2014

Still un­fold­ing, this is an invit­ingly fra­grant wine, medium-bod­ied (12% alc/vol), with good in­ten­sity of lemony, slightly ap­p­ley flavours, hints of honey and toast, and a slightly sweet, ap­petis­ingly crisp fin­ish. $25

SWEET WHITE Seifried Wine­mak­ers Col­lec­tion Sweet Agnes Nel­son Ries­ling 2017

This is Seifried’s most cel­e­brated wine. Still very youth­ful, it is light-bod­ied (9.5% alc/vol), with rich, peachy, hon­eyed flavours, abun­dant sweet­ness and crisp, steely acid­ity. $25 (375ml)

ROSÉ Bell­bird Spring Pinot Noir Rosé 2017

This is a “se­ri­ous” flavour­packed rosé from Waipara, fer­mented in bar­rels and made in a dry style. Pale pink/ slight orange, it is medi­um­bod­ied (12% alc/vol), with fresh, peachy, spicy flavours, show­ing un­usual depth and com­plex­ity. $27

MERLOT Ataahua Waipara Merlot 2014

De­li­cious now, this North Can­ter­bury red was ma­tured in French oak casks. Fra­grant and full-coloured, it is mouth­fill­ing (14% alc/vol), with vel­vety tan­nins and a strong surge of fresh plum/black­cur­rant flavours. $30

PINOTAGE Muddy Wa­ter Waipara Pinotage 2016

Tast­ing like a cross between pinot noir and syrah, this is a pow­er­ful red (15% alc/vol) but not heavy. Rich, savoury and soft, it has dense, youth­ful berry, spice and slight liquorice flavours, gen­tle tan­nins and ob­vi­ous po­ten­tial. $65

PINOT NOIR Black Es­tate Dam­steep Pinot Noir 2016

This classy Waipara red was bot­tled un­fined and un­fil­tered. Deeply coloured and mouth­fill­ing (13% alc/vol), it is very savoury, ripe and con­cen­trated, with finely bal­anced tan­nins and lovely plum, berry, spice and nut flavours. $45

Green­hough Hope Vine­yard Nel­son Pinot Noir 2015

This is one of Nel­son’s great­est reds. Cer­ti­fied or­ganic, it is deep ruby, with a fra­grant, com­plex bou­quet. A pow­er­ful (14% alc/vol) but ele­gant, sweet-fruited wine, it has deep, youth­ful plum, spice and nut flavours; firm, savoury and lin­ger­ing. $46

Bronte Nel­son Pinot Noir 2015

Made for early en­joy­ment, this is a deeply coloured, fra­grant, full-bod­ied red

(14% alc/vol). It has strong, fresh plum, cherry and spice flavours, some savoury com­plex­ity and a se­duc­tively smooth fin­ish. (From Rimu Grove.) $24

Pe­ga­sus Bay Prima Donna Pinot Noir 2013

From its old­est vines at Waipara, Pe­ga­sus Bay’s top red is deeply coloured, ripely scented and mouth­fill­ing (13% alc/vol), with lovely depth of plummy, spicy flavours, vel­vety tan­nins, and no­table com­plex­ity and har­mony. $95

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