Tag Archives: wine

Sauvignon Gris – now Sauvignon Blanc / Pinot Gris?

November 24th, 2010

Marketing experts at major NZ wineries are asking you a question?

What question? Have you heard of Sauvignon Gris?

Seemingly over a very short time transition……..has the nomenclature of this above “new to NZ” variety changed?

No it hasn’t – the bottle above is from the one grape variety, whereas the bottle below is a new blend winemakers are testing out on the public of New Zealand.

time will tell.....

time will tell.....

The bottle I brought the other day is above, and its official blended title is the mouthful of “Sauvignon Blanc / Pinot Gris.”

Kim Crawford also had a similarly named drop I tried earlier. And Selaks have one too.

I spoke before of where the name Sauvignon Gris came from…….now this new blend may just confuse the issue even more?

I was first introduced to Pinot Gris nearly 10 years ago  – at a small vineyard about 5 – 10 kms south of the Cookie Time factory near Christchurch.

Then some months ago I posted that I had just sampled my first glass of Sauvignon Gris, which is not at first what it seems. As I explained then, its was definitely not in fact a blend of the two formerly named varieties at all. Went very well with a Salmon salad.

With all the extra capacity currently in the vineyards, it probably makes sense to introduce new blends for Summer 2010 – 2011.

So don’t get confused when shopping for a bottle of wine for Xmas.


Montana Sauvignon Gris Tasting Notes Sheet

Montana Sauvignon Blanc / Pinot Gris Tasting Notes Sheet

Selaks Sauvignon Blanc / Pinot Gris details / Tasting Notes

The Great Kiwi Road Trip – starting in Nelson

September 22nd, 2010

Our national motoring organisation has launched a new website and an associated competition that celebrates what Kiwis already know.

....not the Holden?

....not the Holden?

The Road Trip.

We are truly blessed with some unique topography and modern cars need no longer worry about stopping at the top of the Kaimais or the top of Takaka Hill to let the radiator boil and cool down.

I was down at Tahunanui Beach today having a quick lunch break and coffee and the person I was with commented, “look up.”


I did and there was blue sky….but that wasn’t the reason why I was looking up….no to the west the Western ranges were covered in cloud that looked very much like snow cloud….and to the east behind us again clouds…although they looked more like rain clouds than snow ladden ones.

And then it hit me…..Nelson again was trying hard to edge up on its annual sunshine hours tally all by itself. Over the Nelson city area, and nearby coastal zone – there were no clouds just a perfect blue sky. And yes it did hit me, because not 5 minutes earlier I had been in the car and the 12 noon news was on the radio. It seemed we were about the only place in NZ enjoying a blue sky & sunshine according to media reports.

I digress…..back to the Road Trip, the AA have launched a new website to celebrate the driving experience that is the quintessential…… “Kiwi Road Trip.”

The site offers you the opportunity to start your road trip from any one of 23 designated NZ locations.

starting from here...

starting from here...

Then…well off you go…..

If you did select Nelson the site offers two different trips.

The first one is a very scenic trip with plenty of stop-overs, a visit to NZ’s smallest National Park, Abel Tasman and an AA recommended trip time of 3 days to get over to Picton.

As the AA Great Kiwi Road Trip site explains thus;

On the outskirts of Takaka are Te Waikoropupu Springs – the world’s clearest freshwater springs. Te Waikoropupu Springs, known as Pupu Springs, is Golden Bay’s most popular and famous attraction. The spring system is New Zealand’s largest and among the 100 largest in the world.

The springs are wahi tapu (a sacred site) to Maori and the water from the springs has been used for healing and ceremonial blessings. From Te Waikoropupu Springs, a route inland passes through the Aorere Valley, past the old-world atmosphere of Langford’s Store to the Aorere Goldfields (where the first flush of gold fever happened in 1857).

There is more than enough things to keep your eyes busy as the downloadable map guides you around the region.

For me that would have to be the longest recorded trip I have ever heard of….but when you see the fantastic itinerary they set you can see why.

That oughta give you plenty of time to not only see for yourself, but also to enjoy what our sunny region of NZ has to offer.

The second trip they recommend is one very familiar to Nelsonians, heck I travel it at least every 2 months, and that is the trip to Christchurch.

click to see more details about the trip....

click to see more details about the trip....

But hey don’t just let me tell you about it, head on over there yourself, you might even win a Mazda 2 car or other prizes.

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New Sauvignon Gris from the Top of the South to you

20th March 2010

The tag line on the bottle says….

Montana was first to create Marlborough Sauvignon Gris

….and as every Kiwi knows Marlborough started the whole Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc renaissance.

And so today when I spotted a bottle** on the shelf, I brought my eagerly anticipated first.

The taste, well……… probably more to the Sauv character than the Pinot Gris side, but altogether a not displeasing taste that could almost be classed as a mixture of the two tastes.

As I mentioned the last time I talked about this ancient grape variety from the famous Bordeaux region of France, I think Montana are onto a winner here.

According to Patrick Materman, Montanas new Chief Winemaker

“Sauvignon Gris is an exciting new, premium variety for New Zealand with an ancient lineage in the classic winemaking world”

“After some years of trialling Sauvignon Gris in our Marlborough vineyards, we are proud to present this varietal in our Montana Reserve range. With aromas of pear and blackcurrant balanced with ripe grapefruit and nectarine notes, Sauvignon Gris is a rich textural wine with vibrant aromas.”

The Nelson and Marlborough regions are truly blessed with many old alluvial riverbed areas, grounds that for some varieties form the almost perfect growing environment.

It is said that one of the important contributing factors is those rocks, they heat up during the day, and then when the cool of evening comes, those same rocks impart/radiate their warmth upwards towards the vines/grapes above.

So hopefully in your own neck of the woods you will see one of these on the shelves soon. Do yourself a favour and try it out, I’m sure you will be pleasantly surprised. Best enjoyed on a balmy /warm summers evening (or in this case a late summers evening because the cicadas are still singing)

**  was initially introduced to NZ last year on a small scale to key premise outlets and fine wine retailers as a part of the limited release Montana Showcase Series.

Bet you haven’t heard of Sauvignon Gris

Courtesy of our temperate climate here in the Top of The South, vineyards and therefore the products they create, seem to flourish.

When friends and family visit from far away, there’s nothing more enjoyable that driving around (with a designated driver of course) vineyards for a tasting, then dropping off for a light lunch to test out another sample combination of wine & food. It’s one of the great pleasures of living here in the Nelson / Marlborough district.

You could buy your own winery, shop for vines to grow in your own special spot or purchase in bulk.

Media reports in the last few days have shed light on a new wine that I’m sure not many have heard of. (although it did win a Silver Award at last weeks Christchurch Royal New Zealand Show 2009 in the International Aromatic Wine Competition)

In difference to what the name may suggest, this wine is not a blend.

Sauvignon Gris is a grape variety in itself.

So it comes as no surprise then, that the company that brought us Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 30 years ago, Montana, is launching this new wine for the first time in NZ, in Marlborough.

In commenting on the areas unique topography and climate, media reports quote Jeff Clarke, Montanas’ Chief Winemaker as saying;

“We are privileged to have access to the most diverse range of quality vineyards in the country, whereby we can trial and plant new and promising varieties in small numbers leading to new discoveries,”

And no doubt the alluival soils / old river beds scattered around the Top of the South combined with the regions acknowledgement that we have officially the “clearest water in the world” in our region, all add to the equation locally.

According to a press release on the Voxy News site;

Sauvignon Gris is a largely unknown, ancient grape variety native to the Bordeaux region of France, not a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris as might be expected.

It would seem that from reading between the lines though, that the wine actually does what its name suggests, in other words it actually does taste like what you could imagine a mix of those two would.

Gisborne Arneis 2008 was one of the three new wines released, ……another one I also hadn’t heard of before?

Like the Sauvignon Gris above that I haven’t seen on any local shop shelves yet ….

Arneis is a rare, though highly-prized variety originally from the Piedmont region of North Italy, a late ripener that demands time in the vineyard

Can’t wait to taste either. And blessed with the outstanding success that our Top of the South region has had with Sauvignon Blanc lets watch this one develop, because if the taste is as they describe, then I firmly believe they will be on to another winner.

In related news Nelson’s own Waimea Estates has just been awarded Blue-Gold (standing for Double Gold Awards that is) at this weeks Sydney International Wine Competition for not just one wine, but two. Waimea’s Chardonnay 2008 and Bolitho SV Pinot Noir 2007 were the ones that did it.

Waimea Estates Winemaker Mike Brown said the companies products have garnered 31 golds and 5 trophies across 6 wine styles – most of these in 2009 alone.

Nelson / Tasman / Marlborough ….its the lifestyle that counts.

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Marlborough abuzz, Frost Fighters attack!

The control tower responds “yes Hotel-Echo-Lima-India. You are free to start”.

Nelson helicopter pilots made a mass exodus to Marlborough on Thursday and Friday nights this week to join a squadron of “Frost Fighters”.

Frost Fighters?

At this time of year the fruit and the leaves on the grape vines are vulnerable to any unseasonably late cold snap / frost. And it has been reported that in recent years up to 100 helicopters have been in the air over Marlborough buzzing the vineyards.

Helicopters, although a very expensive option, prevent frost damage by circulating the warm air trapped above the freezing conditions closer to the ground.

They weren’t required on Thursday night, but there’s talk of being on standby for the next few nights. According to an article in The Nelson Mail there are 670 Helicopters in NZ, and 85-90% of them will be out on a big frost night at this time of year.

Helicopters were also on standby in other wine growing regions of NZ. Happened a few times last year too.

In recent years we have seen local growers implement large windmill type objects that spin wide blades as a substitute for what the helicopter can do.

PHOTO – http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/