A personal passion for Pinot Gris has netted Blackenbrook Vineyard in Tasman, near Nelson, its fourth year running of top awards, with a five star rating in New Zealand’s premier wine guide – Michael Cooper’s Buyers Guide.
Family owned and run Blackenbrook was one of the first vineyards in the Nelson region to plant Pinot Gris in 2001. Since 2007, owner and winemaker Daniel Schwarzenbach has consistently earned five star ratings and gold medals for his Pinot Gris including a Trophy for Best Pinot Gris at the New Zealand International Wine Show (2008 Reserve Pinot Gris), a Bragato Gold (2008), and five stars from leading wine commentators Michael Cooper (2009 and 2010) and Bob Campbell MW (2007).
In his latest Wine Buyers Guide, Michael Cooper describes the Blackenbrook Pinot Gris as an ‘emerging classic’:
“The estate-grown 2009 vintage is a powerful, Alsace-style, very ripely scented wine with fresh, rich flavours of stonefruit, lychees and spices, gentle sweetness and balanced acidity. The 2010 was hand-picked at 25.7 brix. Harbouring 15 per cent alcohol, it is beautifully floral, with fresh, very vibrant peach, pear and spice aromas and flavours, a hint of ginger, slight sweetness (20 grams/litre of residual sugar), and lovely purity, delicacy and richness.”
Daniel Schwarzenbach says he has always had a desire to produce outstanding Pinot Gris:
“Before starting our own vineyard, I worked as a cellar hand for Domaine Zind-Humbrecht in Alsace, one of the top Pinot Gris producers worldwide. It was a fantastic experience and I couldn’t wait to get home and start planting our own Aromatics.”
Pinot Gris always took centre stage in the Blackenbrook vineyard: the best part of their land was planted with the latest clones. “We hand pick the grapes and they’re processed as gently as possible through our gravity-fed sustainable winery. I believe that has a lot to do with the outcome in the glass,” says Daniel.
“I am delighted to see our Pinot Gris doing well year after year and each accolade spurs me on to keep fine-tuning my vineyard management and winemaking. Every year brings new challenges and there is so much more to be learnt about this wonderful grape variety.”
Not only the wine judges rate Blackenbrook highly, but it is also a favourite of Weta Studios in Wellington. For the second year in a row Blackenbrook has been asked to supply wine for their Christmas function. Last year it was the Blackenbrook 2008 Chardonnay and this year the film crew of The Hobbit will be enjoying the very last cases of Blackenbrook’s 2007 Riesling.
All Blackenbrook wines are 100% sustainably produced and accredited by Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand. The 2009 and 2010 top-rated Pinot Gris are available for sale directly from the Blackenbrook website.