New pop up cellar door in Martinborough

The new owners of Nga Waka Wines are opening their new pop up cellar door wine facility on election day this year, Saturday 17 October.

Nga Waka Wines has made small volumes of high quality wine since 1993. Founding winemaker Roger Parkinson  continues to steer the winemaking under the new(ish) ownership of Jay Short and Peggy Dupey, who have significant expansion plans in place to increase both their vineyard area, wine production and also at a new winery cellar door, scheduled to open in October 2021. Plans for the new cellar facility and landscape designs are almost complete and will go to the South Wairarapa District Council for consent this month, says general manager Mick Hodson.

“Saturday 17 October is election day – but we can’t let politics get in the way of wine tasting a pop up cellar door for summer. This pop up will use the existing buildings with a couple of barrels and a tray of glasses. It  will be a good way to test systems, talk to customers and sell wine,” says Hodson, who has worked in marketing the company’s wines for many years and joined as GM this year.

It is 20 years since Nga Waka was last open for cellar door tasting and sales, he says. “It will be a great opportunity for people hear our story directly and taste and buy our wines. I am very excited about this and looking forward to getting back in front of customers – doing what I love – talking about wine.”

  • Covid 19 will have little impact for Nga Waka’s 2021 vintage with winery staff and contractors from Wall Horticulture able to supply the staff needed for hand picking grapes, says Hodson.

Cloudy Bay appoints new head winemaker

Cloudy Bay has appointed Nikolai St George as its new senior winemaker following his past four years at Giesen Wines as chief winemaker in Marlborough

“Cloudy Bay is one of the flagships of Marlborough, with a long history and an uncompromising approach to quality,” says St George, “They re still seeking to grow and improve, which is what drives me and attracted me to Cloudy Bay.”

He will work closely with Cloudy Bay’s technical director Jim White and the existing winemakers, Dan Sorrell and Victor Joyeux, on Cloudy Bay’s ongoing winemaking strategy. Cloudy Bay Estate director Yang Shen says the position of senior winemaker is a vital one for the business.

“We have been waiting a long time for the right person for that role. We are delighted to welcome Nikolai to our family and look forward to all that he will bring to the exciting future of Cloudy Bay Vineyards.”

Wine of week… organic white burgundy with the X factor

It’s often said that we only regret the things we don’t do and the list of those is too numerous to name. Some of them I’m happy not to do. Getting up at 5am to exercise sounds great in theory but not being a morning person makes me a tad dubious about it. As does buying extremely expensive wines when I can taste the diminishing law of returns quite clearly in the wine analysis I do. But this week my perceptions were altered and I realised I haven’t been drinking enough great Chardonnay.

Two wines made from the world’s most popular white grape opened doors of flavour that I don’t often get to walk through. They are from Domaine Pattes Loup in Burgundy, both made with grapes from Premier Cru vineyards, which automatically raises the cost of production. They are Butteaux and Beauregard.
This one was my top pick and is my wine of this week.

2016 Domaine Pattes Loup Chablis Butteaux 1er $130

Winemaker Thomas Pico is at the forefront of new wave producers in the chilly region of Chablis, Burgundy’s northern outpost, where he grew up in a small village called Courgis and fell in love with wine from his father and grape growing grandfather. He studied viticulture and winemaking in Beaune then took over eight hectares of the family’s vineyard estate in 2004, converting it to certified organic land, creating his own small domain, Pattes Loup. The name means wolf’s paws, hence the artwork on some of his labels.

Butteaux is one of three premier crus vineyards planted in vines between 30 and 55 years old. This wine is matured purely in older French oak, in which it is typically aged for between 14 to 16 months. All grapes are hand harvested and fully certified organic. It tastes like Chardonnay at top speed; concentrated lemon zest and a creamy texture provide huge immediacy and a flavour that says ‘drink me now’ but the structure suggests that this gorgeous full bodied, dry and impressive white wine could also last the distance for the very long term.

This wine is a keeper.