On the quiet… Modern Marlborough Sauvignon

Jules Taylor’s new wines may be named ‘On the quiet’ but their flavours have been dialled up so we can all hear them…

It’s anything but quiet on the day that Jules Taylor unveils two new  wines made on the sly, so to speak (read: the high cost of production meant that these wines began life as a labour of love, sort of hidden at the back of the winery, behind the more commercially produced, higher volume wines).

“These wines are my equivalent of that new pair of expensive shoes that your partner notices – ‘oh these old things’ you say,” she jokes to a roomful of hospitality industry bar owners and yours truly.

The launch is on a loud and stormy day. The type of day that epitomises what a maritime climate is all about – a glimmer of sunshine one second, complete cloud cover, torrential rain and stormy wind, the next. It’s mid winter on Auckland’s south coast near to Clevedon, when Taylor introduces her new OTQ wines: the 2015 Jules Taylor Plunkett Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, which was made from riper fruit than her standard Sauvignon Blanc (it was all harvested from the ripest side of the row of vines) at 24 brix and hand picked fruit with a significant proportion of malolactic fermentation, which reduces the acidity, making the wine soft, smooth and full bodied. About 50% of the wine went through malolactic fermentation, but who’s counting, says Taylor, who is not a strong advocate of recipe winemaking for this particular wine.

The second OTQ wine is the 2015 OTQ Ballochdale Estate Pinot Noir. It is also made from riper grapes than usual – “When I think of Pinot Noir, I think of ripeness, devoid of green flavours and I think Marlborough Pinot Noir is finding a new path forward because there are more wines like this than ever before,” she says of the wine she made from hand harvested grapes which were destemmed, hence, no potential stalky influence at all in this wine, which was aged for 10 months in oak. A third of the wine was aged in new oak, with the other two thirds being a staggered range of older barrels.

The OTQ Pinot Noir also spent 6 – 7 days on its skins, post ferment, in order to extract colour, flavour and tannins, without over doing things – “The last thing I want to make is a Pinot Noir that tastes like it’s riding a Harley Davidson,” she tells the room full of tasters.

Marlborough Pinot Noir’s big shift, in Taylor’s view, was when winemakers moved to new Dijon clones, which were planted in the late 1990s. This makes these vines young by many measures, but relatively old by New Zealand standards.

“Wine changes the way we look at life from the taste of the food we prepare and eat to the way we see that food grow,” says Taylor, who fell in love with wine when studying a science degree and later added a year’s post graduate in viticulture and winemaking at Lincoln in Canterbury.

Jules Taylor Wines are distributed in New Zealand by Hancocks Wine Spirit and Beer Merchants; in the USA by Maritime Wine Trading Collective and in the UK by Decorum Wines.




Author: Joelle Thomson

I am a wine writer, author and educator... first bitten by a big buttery Chardonnay on a dark and stormy night in the 1980s and there was no turning back... Follow my tastings and join some too on this new site.

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