It’s 17 years since Jules Taylor created her own wine brand and when she first began it was with 400 cases. That’s modest production, by anyone’s standards. She has since built Jules Taylor Wines into a well known, commercially successful wine and added a side brand. It’s called OTQ.

It stands for On the Quiet.

It began under the radar as a labour of love but OTQ has grown well beyond that now. Last month’s launch of her latest OTQ wines in Christchurch proved the point.

The restaurant was buzzing with wine trade and the odd writer (yours truly). And while the event was fun – it’s always great to catch up with Jules and the Sauvignon cocktail tasted delicious, by the way – the wines have grown in quality and push boundaries of flavour well outside the straightforward fruity spectrum, while remaining true to type – the South Island’s hallmark fresh acidity cuts a refreshing path through these interesting savoury wines. My picks of the new OTQ wines are the 2017 OTQ Chardonnay and her two Pinots – 2017 OTQ Pinot Noir and 2018 OTQ Rosé (intentionally made from grapes grown specifically for rosé – rather than bled off Pinot Noir to concentrate colour – aka the saignée method).

A word about colour in rosé and pink wines

The new OTQ Rosé is pale pink, very good quality and dry as a bone but that’s not because of its colour. The colour of pink wine has nothing to do with whether it tastes dry – that’s all about the winemaking, although it would seem mad right now not to run with the pale theme, given the urban myth that pale equals dry.

Jules made her first OTQ Rose in 2017 and, yes, she also makes a rosé from Merlot grapes grown in Gisborne, which is bottled under the banner of her Jules Taylor wine. That’s another story.

I love the new OTQ Chardonnay, which shows yet again that Marlborough has a hell of a lot more than one string to its white wine bow.

2018 Jules Taylor OTQ Rosé $32.99

Marlborough Pinot rosés often tend to be made as a result of Pinot Noir production rather than as an intentional wine but here’s a lovely dry pinkie with a difference; it’s made from the Branken Hill Vineyard in the Hawkesbury area in Marlborough’s Southern Valleys. The grapes were all hand harvested and the wine is pale in colour with crisp acidity and bright fresh red fruity flavours. It not only looks pretty, it tastes it.

 

2017 Jules Taylor OTQ Pinot Noir $42.99

Hand harvested, wild fermented and aged in French oak. This fresh new Pinot Noir is made from grapes grown on the Wrekin Vineyard in Marlborough’s Brancott Valley, an elevated sloping hillside where grapes benefit from more intense sunshine, due to elevation. This provides riper flavours, which retain their hall mark fresh acidity, due to Marlborough’s cool nights. It’s a youthful Pinot Noir with savoury flavours that I’m looking forward to checking out in years to come; it has at least seven to eight years up its youthful sleeve, potentially a lot longer in optimum cellars – cool, dark, temperature-stable and all that jazz.

Lovely wines, yet again from the not so quiet OTQ.