New Zealand Listener - - THIS LIFE -

As a coun­try, we drink our wine far too young,” be­lieves wine­maker Alas­tair Mal­ing. “In a restau­rant, if you are or­der­ing chardon­nay, al­ways try to get one that’s three or four years old. And it’s a crime that we’re al­ready drink­ing the 2017-vin­tage pinot noirs from Cen­tral Otago.”

As chief wine­maker and head of viti­cul­ture for Fo­ley Fam­ily Wines, Mal­ing, a Mas­ter of Wine, has over­all re­spon­si­bil­ity for sev­eral pop­u­lar brands, in­clud­ing Vava­sour, Dash­wood, Grove Mill, Gold­wa­ter, Te Kairanga and Mart­in­bor­ough Vine­yard. Its lat­est ac­qui­si­tion, of high-pro­file Mt Dif­fi­culty vine­yards and win­ery in Cen­tral Otago for about $55 mil­lion, has been ap­proved by the Over­seas In­vest­ment Of­fice.

Fo­ley Fam­ily Wines is con­trolled by Amer­i­can bil­lion­aire Bill Fo­ley, who owns nu­mer­ous winer­ies in Cal­i­for­nia and Wash­ing­ton state. Fo­ley built his for­tune in ti­tle in­surance and has chaired a be­wil­der­ing ar­ray of fast­food and other groups. Now, his goal is to “bring fi­nan­cial dis­ci­pline to the wine in­dus­try”.

Since mak­ing his first move here in 2009, Fo­ley has steadily ex­panded his wine em­pire, while boost­ing qual­ity. Many of the wines of­fer ex­cep­tional value.

Gold­wa­ter Wairau Val­ley Marl­bor­ough Sauvi­gnon Blanc 2018

This is a punchy, medium to full­bod­ied wine (12.5% alc/vol), with fresh, strong, trop­i­cal-fruit aro­mas and vi­brant pas­sion­fruit/lime flavours. $21

Grove Mill Wairau Val­ley Marl­bor­ough Chardon­nay 2017

De­li­cious young, but also well worth cel­lar­ing, this youth­ful wine was French oak-aged for 10 months. It is fra­grant, full-bod­ied (13% alc/vol) and vi­brant, with a slightly smoky bou­quet, gen­er­ous stone fruit flavours, show­ing good com­plex­ity and a dry, per­sis­tent fin­ish. Fine value. $20

Te Kairanga Run­holder Mart­in­bor­ough Pinot Noir 2017

This classy young red was es­tate­grown and ma­tured for 10 months in French oak casks. Deep ruby, it is grace­ful and sweet-fruited, with sat­is­fy­ing body (13% alc/vol), gen­er­ous cherry, plum and spice flavours, finely in­te­grated oak adding com­plex­ity and a rich, rounded fin­ish. $32

Vava­sour Awa­tere Val­ley Marl­bor­ough Rosé 2018

Hard to re­sist, this vi­va­cious, light­pink wine is full-bod­ied (13% alc/ vol), with fresh acid­ity and strong wa­ter­melon, straw­berry, peach and spice flavours. Made from pinot noir, it’s a dry style, show­ing lovely depth, del­i­cacy and har­mony. $25

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