MARL­BOR­OUGH GIRL

Meet Jules Tay­lor, the wine­maker be­hind the award-win­ning Marl­bor­ough bou­tique la­bel named af­ter her

Wine & Dine - - CONTENTS - Jules Tay­lor is ex­clu­sively dis­trib­uted by SUTL in Sin­ga­pore. julestay­lor.com; sutl.com

Meet Jules Tay­lor, the wine­maker be­hind the epony­mous award-win­ning bou­tique la­bel

Jules Tay­lor was born in 1973, the year the first com­mer­cial vines were planted in Marl­bor­ough, New Zealand. She stud­ied zo­ol­ogy in col­lege, but the call of the vines proved ir­re­sistible. She took her first job in Vin­tech, one of Marl­bor­ough’s orig­i­nal cus­tom winer­ies and never looked back.

In 2001, Tay­lor took the plunge to launch her epony­mous la­bel af­ter some en­cour­age­ment from her men­tors— Kim Craw­ford, Si­mon Waghorn and Matt Thomp­son, three of New Zealand’s most re­spected wine­mak­ers. By then, she had honed her skills at top winer­ies around the world, in­clud­ing some of the coun­try’s best such as Kim Craw­ford and Cloudy Bay. Still, her first re­lease was a very mod­est 200 cases of Ries­ling and Pinot Gri­gio. But fast for­ward sev­eral years, and Jules Tay­lor has be­come an es­tab­lished name on the New Zealand wine scene, with well-de­served accolades for its crisp, racy Sau­vi­gnon Blancs and el­e­gant, per­fumed Pinot Noirs.

The best thing about mak­ing wines un­der my own la­bel is that I can make what I want, how I want. Stylis­ti­cally, there are so many vari­ables, and I love be­ing able to set the style for each of the wines. Also, I am fully ac­count­able to our loyal cus­tomers.

Work­ing at Kim Craw­ford taught me many things… At Kim Craw­ford, fruit came from many dif­fer­ent sub-re­gions in Marl­bor­ough (and other re­gions) and was fer­mented separately, which gave us great in­sights into the di­ver­sity of flavour pro­files in each va­ri­ety, de­pend­ing on where it was grown. This def­i­nitely helped shape the wines at Jules Tay­lor in terms of where we wanted to be sourc­ing fruit (and where not to).

We source fruit from around 14 dif­fer­ent con­tract grow­ers. There is no way we could ever own all th­ese lit­tle pock­ets of vine­yards all over the re­gion...The lot­tery wouldn’t even do it! We have cho­sen sites that give us fruit with flavour pro­files we like. Our Sau­vi­gnon Blanc, for ex­am­ple, would not have as many lay­ers of flavour if it came from one site only.

If I have to pick a favourite va­ri­etal, Sau­vi­gnon Blanc is the one for me. I love it be­cause it is so ver­sa­tile. We make three dif­fer­ent styles. I love The Clas­sic be­cause it re­ally screams Marl­bor­ough and has so many flavours. The OTQ Sau­vi­gnon Blanc—OTQ stands for ‘On The Quiet— is more of a ‘sexy’ take on Sau­vi­gnon Blanc. It is not as acidic as the Clas­sic; it has more trop­i­cal notes and a much dif­fer­ent tex­ture. Chardon­nay lovers and peo­ple who find the clas­sic Marl­bor­ough Sau­vi­gnon too acidic and sour al­ways love the OTQ.

Fi­nally, we also have the botry­tised style—our Late Har­vest Sau­vi­gnon Blanc, which is in­cred­i­bly vis­cous and sweet. It tastes like liq­uid gold and pas­sion fruit and is a dream with vanilla bean ice cream!

Our OTQ wines are born of an in­dul­gence. And we all need our in­dul­gences! It is an in­cred­i­bly se­duc­tive wine and ex­tremely lim­ited, hence the ‘hush hush’ el­e­ment. Some­times, we see in­cred­i­ble parcels of fruit in cer­tain

vine­yards. We call them the ‘golden pick’. We can­not bring our­selves to blend th­ese spe­cial bunches away in larger blends, so I hide them away and do some­thing ex­tra spe­cial with them, which is to make the OTQ wines.

Th­ese are sin­gle vine­yard wines that ex­press their place and vin­tage per­fectly. If you get your hands on one of th­ese gor­geous wines… hold on to it and open for a spe­cial oc­ca­sion!

In the years since I have been mak­ing wines, the wine­mak­ing scene in New Zealand has evolved. The first thing that comes to mind is the scale of the in­dus­try here. Since my very first in 1994, many more hectares have been planted and newer ar­eas ex­panded. We have seen many new brands pop up along with va­ri­eties that hadn’t been planted here be­fore.

I am ex­cited by the chang­ing land­scape of Sau­vi­gnon Blanc .... the al­ter­na­tive styles are be­com­ing more widely made and ac­cepted.

I am ex­cited too by the reach of our wines and the suc­cess we have on the world stage even though we are a small wine pro­duc­ing na­tion.

Jules Tay­lor sits nicely in the New Zealand scene. I think we make wines that de­liver good value for money at their price point, speak of their place and va­ri­ety. For a small fam­ily-owned win­ery, with only five staff (in­clud­ing my hus­band Ge­orge and I!) we are be­com­ing rel­a­tively well known. I think this is down to the fact that we are quite in­di­vid­ual in the way we do things here—we are small, bou­tique, we have fun, and we do things our way. I think peo­ple res­onate with that.

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