Summer is Still Going Ahead, in Rain, Hail or Shine!

Hello? Is that Spring? It’s Nelson here. We’d like to order some weather, please. Instead of your classic ‘mixed bag of everything,’ we’d like a larger portion of sunshine. We don’t mind the odd rain shower, but hold the blustery wind. And, please, no late frosts this year — some of us are intolerant. Thank you.

Abel Tasman National Park at the top of the South Island of New Zealand on a clear spring’s day.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could order up a few more sunny days this spring? Families are really hanging out for fun at the beach after some pretty disappointing school holiday weather. 

And our food producers could definitely do with a lucky break. Growers all over Nelson are praying that we don’t get a repeat of last year’s devastating frost and hail. With the grape vines coming into flower very soon, warm sunny days are just what’s needed. 

Lots of lovely, clean fruit with intense flavours — that’s what our winemakes would order up if they had their way. It’s so much better when the growers can thin the fruit themselves, rather than having nature do it for them. 

Flowering grape vine in spring.

The good news is that the low yield of 2021 did produce some beautiful wine. Our Kahurangi Sauvignon Blanc is getting great reviews. As for the oak aged wines from last year’s harvest, they’re still maturing in the barrel, but early tastings are very promising.

In fact, we reckon we’re going to have a hard job deciding which barrels will go into our premium Mt Arthur Estate Range this year — they’re all so good! 

Our clever winemakers take great delight in crafting delicious wines. Every season throws up different possibilities — it’s up to the winemaker to make decisions that will enhance the natural qualities of the grapes. The winemaker’s craft demands knowledge, experience and a touch of intuition. As Emmanuelle puts it: “There’s an alchemy about making wine — a certain magic.” 

Both Emmanuelle and Neil enjoy the challenge of making barrel-aged wine, but they also confess a soft spot for Riesling. This is partly due to the special vines we have at Kahurangi. 

Our Riesling vines are 45 years old, making them some of the oldest in New Zealand. Because the vines are older, the yield is naturally lower, leading to intensified fruit flavours. The established roots are also able to pull up minerals from deeper in the soils. The result is every winemaker’s dream: truly delicious grapes. 

Riesling can be made in a great range of styles, from sweet to bone dry. You’ll even find low alcohol styles. It really is a wine with many faces.  Nelson Rieslings are considered some of the best in New Zealand. Fresh and fruity, with stone fruit flavours, a hint of honey, lime, jasmine and earthy minerals, these beauties are a far cry from the mundane Rieslings of the early New Zealand wine days. If you haven’t tried a Riesling for a while, this summer might be the time to reacquaint yourself with a cheeky glass or two. 

Riesling is a fantastic wine to keep in mind when you’re planning Christmas meals and events — just in case you are thinking that far ahead!  Riesling pairs particularly well with rich foods. Pork, duck and bacon are great matches, especially if you add a citrus or garlicky sauce. A slightly sweeter style will work really well with spicy dishes, too. If you’re after something a bit fancy for ‘afters,’ you can even find a sticky, late harvest Riesling to pair with a soft cheese platter. 

It’s a great shame we can’t order up the perfect weather. Thank goodness we can order wine! We’ve got a heap of specials planned for the summer season, so keep a lookout for some delicious bargains to share with your friends and family.

If you’re organising an outdoor Christmas event — apparently picnics are ever so chic this year —  check out our website, or give us a call for some great wine ideas.

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