Joelle Thomson

Writer, author, journalist

Month: October 2018 (page 1 of 4)

Coal Pit in Otago appoints new winemaker

It sounds more like an interesting piece of earth than a winery but therein lies the beauty of the evocatively named Coal Pit Wines in Gibbston Valley, one of Otago’s coolest grape growing sub regions – and today it announced a new winemaker – Anika Willner.

Coal Pit winery & vineyard in Gibbston Valley, Central Otago

The Coal Pit name comes from an historic area in nearby mountain ranges, which provided early pioneers, musterers and gold miners with coal. Many of Central Otago’s best wine brands are named after striking nearby landmarks, such as Chard Farm’s Judge and Jury Chardonnay, to name one of many examples.

Rosie Dunphy, Coal Pit Winery owner

Willner will be joined by winemaker Olly Masters, the man in charge of defining wine style and quality at Misha’s Vineyard and formerly of Ata Rangi fame. Masters is one of New Zealand’s most highly respected winemakers and he will work as a consultant to Coal Pit.

Willner is a graduate of Ohio State University and was part of the Coal Pit winemaking team for the 2018 vintage. She also has winemaking experience in Oregon, Australia, Germany, South Africa as well as New Zealand.

“We are thrilled at these additions to our Coal Pit team… We have been focussed on improving the vineyard since we purchased in 2001 and have made wine on-site since 2007 to ensure maximum quality from vine through to bottle,” says winery owner Rosie Dunphy, who produces Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc for domestic and international markets from her 12 hectare vineyard.

The name Tiwha (the brand name of the winery’s Pinot Noir) is a Maori name, which pays tribute to Rosie’s late father and to her family heritage.

Big bodied Chardonnay tasting

The most popular white wine on Earth

Flowering on vines in Marlborough’s sunny southern valleys; no wonder the wines taste so good from these hillside vineyards

If you had to name the most popular white wine on Earth today, big bodied Chardonnay would be the first to spring to mind, but where do you find it in a world of ever increasing diversity?

A tasting in Wellington on Thursday 15 November at Regional Wines is one place to start – we will open four top shelf Chardonnays, all big bodied beauties made from one vineyard in Marlborough – Clayvin.

Big bodied Chardonnays

2015 Fuder Clayvin Chardonnay

2012 Fuder Clayvin Chardonnay

2016 Fromm Clayvin Vineyard Chardonnay

2009 Fromm Clayvin Vineyard Chardonnay

The Clayvin Vineyard’s long, sunny days take Chardonnay to new heights of ripeness in Marlborough – New Zealand’s biggest wine region.

About Clayvin Vineyard

Clayvin was the first vineyard ever to be planted on a hillside in Marlborough back in 1991.

It is in an area of Marlborough called the Southern Valleys, which is a series of rolling hillsides that face north, which helps to maximise the sunshine hours that grapes receive. This means that grapes growing here tend to ripen more evenly and develop lots of tasty stonefruit types of flavours on the ripening journey. The hot days need to be balanced. Enter cool nights. These enable grapes growing here to retain their fresh vibrant acidity, which balances the bold and powerful fruit flavours deliciously well.

And don’t just take our word for it.

In two weeks’ time, we have two of Marlborough’s most talented winemakers winging their way to Wellington for a tasting of these big bodied Chardonnays (with some top reds thrown in for good measure too).

Taste big bodied Chardonnays

Winemakers Hätsch Kalberer of Fromm and Nikolai St George of  Giesen will take us on a tasting tour in our wine glasses with a great line up of wines made from these dramatic hillside vineyards in Marlborough’s southern valleys.

The whole tasting

2015 Fuder Clayvin Chardonnay

2012 Fuder Clayvin Chardonnay

2016 Fromm Clayvin Vineyard Chardonnay

2009 Fromm Clayvin Vineyard Chardonnay

2014 Giesen Single Vineyard Clayvin Pinot Noir

2011 Giesen Single Vineyard Clayvin Pinot Noir

2016 Fromm Clayvin Vineyard Pinot Noir

2006 Fromm Clayvin Vineyard Pinot Noir

2016 Giesen Single Vineyard Clayvin Syrah

Bookings are essential…

Book here: email John

Pinot Celebration 2019 tickets now out

Pinot Noir is the key ingredient in Rudi Bauer’s bubbles as well as Central Otago’s main claim to vinous fame – Pinot Noir.

Where better to spend three long, sunny days in late January next year than Central Otago? And even better, it’s all about Pinot.

Noir, that is.

The Pinot Celebration 2019 is to be held in Queenstown from 24 to 26 January. It’s open to everyone who enjoys wine, wants to find out more or works with it in a professional capacity.

The wineries are confirmed from A to W – Akarua to Wooing Tree, with all the boxes ticked in between.

Join Pinot lovers at the Pinot Celebration from January 24 to 26 in the world’s most southern wine region, Central Otago.

Buy tickets here or email:

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