Anyone fancy a picnic at the beach? How about a barbecue with friends? Or a delicious dinner served al fresco? We say bring on all the fun stuff — because that’s exactly what’s needed in these interesting times. So hunt out your jandals, dust off the picnic blanket, and pop a bottle of lovely Nelson wine into the chilly bin. It’s time to relax.
The holiday season is the perfect time to seek out some extra special treats to share with your favourite people. If you’re thinking what we’re thinking — that life could do with some extra sparkle — be sure to check out some of our region’s gorgeous sparkling wine varieties.
We’re completely biased of course, but we genuinely believe that New Zealand sparkling wine gives French Champagne a run for its money.
Nelson/Marlborough bubbly in particular enjoys a fantastic international reputation these days. Lots of our customers insist on buying New Zealand sparkling wine — not just to support our regional growers and winemakers, but because these wines are truly delightful in their own right. They’re also a fair bit cheaper.
New Zealand wines don’t just taste fresh — we have a fresh approach to winemaking in general. As our French winemaker at Kahurangi points out: “The co-ops in France are very restrictive. There’s a big fat ‘bible’ of things you are not allowed to do. There is so much freedom here to experiment here in New Zealand.”
Our regional styles taste quite different to French Champagne. This has a lot to do with differences in soils. The soils around Champagne are mostly limestone. In Nelson we are lucky to have Moutere clays, stony alluvial plains and the maritime influences of the Kina Peninsula. It’s a winemaker’s dream.
The actual bubbles in our sparkling wines are created using the traditional French process, méthode traditionnelle. For our Blanc de Blancs we use the earliest pick of Chardonnay grapes. These have the lowest brix (sugar levels) and usually come from blocks that struggle to ripen fully.
Waiting to taste our Blanc de Blancs vintage is just like waiting for Christmas — except we have to be patient for a whole two years! That’s how long the wine is left ‘on the lees’ in the bottle. A lot can happen in those two years — it’s very exciting getting to taste the final product.
If you prefer your wine without the bubbles, don’t forget about our Mt Arthur Reserve Range when planning your Christmas events. Carefully selected from the best barrels, these wines are the perfect match for festive celebrations. They go beautifully with all sorts of delicious seasonal treats.
Psst… If you’re looking for an insider’s tip — keep a look out for the 2021 Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. “The wine in the barrels is starting to be very nice indeed,” according to our winemakers. They should be ready for customers to try some time around March in 2022.
As we head towards summer, our busy growers will be lifting the wires in their vineyards. This technique holds the delicate shoots together, allowing upwards growth while giving some protection from the wind.
It’s a little early to tell what the grapes will be like this year, but so far the crop level is looking promising. Keep your fingers crossed winelovers! The weather for the next few weeks will be crucial. It’s no secret what our winemakers are wishing for at Christmas time.
Nelson really is beautiful at this time of the year. There’s a real buzz of excitement in the air as the weather starts to get warmer and families look forward to the holidays. It’s such a delight to see people getting out and about and having fun.
We are very much looking forward to welcoming Aucklanders back to our lovely region — just in time for Christmas. We’ve missed you guys!