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What Makes A Wine Special?

We take a look at what we expect will turn heads at Winetopia in Auckland this 30 & 31 October

No.1 Family Estate Cuvée Virginie 2016

At the end of this month Adele and Daniel Le Brun will be celebrating 40 years of pioneering Méthode Traditional in Marlborough with the launch of the No.1 Family Estate Cuvée Virginie 2016 at Winetopia Auckland.

Owner and winemaker Daniel Le Brun produces a vintage wine only in the years he deems to be exceptional and 2016 was one of those years. Each of these hand-crafted vintage wines are dedicated to a member of the Le Brun family and 2016 is a proud tribute to his daughter Virginie.

In 1985, five years after arriving in Marlborough, Daniel and Adele released their very first Daniel Le Brun NV. Their dream of being ‘New Zealand’s Champagne’ was underway. Over the years Daniel has achieved countless national and international awards and it was a significant milestone for him to be awarded Champion Wine of Show at the 1995 Liquorland Royal Easter Show. This was the first time in New Zealand this had been awarded to a Méthode Traditionelle.

From the growing period through to harvest 2016 all of the elements were in balance and the grapes ripened to perfection. They were hand-picked in pristine condition showing excellent fruit intensity and pretty aromatics from the Mendoza clone Chardonnay. The resulting Cuvée Virginie 2016 is a wine with elegance and finesse. The official release of the Virginie 2016 will be at Winetopia Auckland on 30th and 31st October.

Carrick Pinot Blanc 2018

We expect this gem from Central Otago will find some new followers at Winetopia. It seems to have already caught the of our gurus who are presenting talks and tastings at the event and you will find it being served during several presentations. It is not uncommon that rare frequently also equals special and when it tastes this good, it is almost a given.

Pinot Blanc is a cousin of Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir and this one is dry in style with yellow plum and lemon zest. It has done time in mature French oak barrels to add to the textural drinking experience. Wild fermented and certified Organic like the rest of the Carrick range, it is one to look out for.

As far as wine labels go, Decibel is definitely going to stand out. Could the quirky labels all be just a marketing ploy? We think not. The Decibel’s Malbec is another of the most requested this year by our wine gurus meaning there is substance contained within that playful “Divershead” packaging. “This is an elegantly-full Malbec with flavours of black fruit, spices, balanced acidity, mineral detail on a dark chocolate dry tannin structure” wrote reviewer Chandice Chow (just a mere snippet of her praise).

This is not however Wine Maker Daniel Brennan’s flagship wine – for that you’ll want to also enquire about his Testify range which are a step up in price and only made in exceptional vintages.

Nautilus Estate Albariño 2019

All hail the rise of Albariño – the Spanish grape variety that has early adopters raving and viticulturalists around NZ planting… It shows such great promise, recently Master of Wine Bob Campbell confided in us he thinks it will be the next big thing for New Zealand wine. You’ll find several albariños popping up at Winetopia (including some fine examples from Smith & Sheth, Moana Park and Forrest). A taste of the Nautilus Estate example and you can really see where Bob is coming from. Fragrant fresh apricots, white florals, with hints of melon and mandarin peel. The palate is flavoursome and fleshy with a refreshing zingy finish.

Te Mata Coleraine 2018

Probably the most collected wine of New Zealand, the Te Mata Estate Coleraine is one of the

finest Bordeaux-style reds produced in this country. It comes from some of our oldest vines (dating back to 1892 which arguably gives these vines an edge over younger siblings), and hails from one of our most respected wine growing regions. The flavour and colour is almost as distinctive as it’s reassuringly tall price point. 54% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc it was matured in mostly new oak barrels for 18 months and the new vintage release is always a well celebrated event. Coleraine is one of the wines available for tasting with our new Golden Coins at Winetopia this year (alongside other prestigious wines such as Craggy Range Sofia 2018, Tony Bish Zen Chardonnay 2018 and Church Rd TOM. Does the anticipation help to make a wine great? It certainly doesn’t hurt…

2003 and 2014 Vintages

Does age make a great wine? The answer to this question is almost certainly “yes sometimes, but not always.” Start with a wine of good quality, of a varietal trusted to age well then cellar it carefully and the results will hopefully be very rewarding. Two aged wines to look out for at Winetopia are the Pisa Range Estate Black Polar Block Pinot Noir 2003 and the recently released Villa Maria Ngakirikiri 2014. There is nothing sharp or tart about these wines. Rather depth, subtle complexity, harmony which can only be brought about by careful winemaking and time for the flavours to balance out. Also available for tasting with our new Golden Coins, you won’t find these in a supermarket, but you will be able to purchase them for a special occasion from the event.

Winetopia offers you a chance to meet the producers and taste their latest and greatest wines. Many participating wineries also have bottles for sale at the event for you to take home and will also have cases delivered to your house.

To join the new Winetopia Club and continue exploring great wines all year round, see here.


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