Yvonne Lorkin wine column for week beginning March 10 2018

Several years ago I was fortunate enough to be invited by a group of Nelson wine producers to spend a couple of days in the region. I’d be meeting the local winemakers and generally triptrapping around, admiring the incredible land and seascape and soaking up the wine stories of a region that for whatever reason, I hadn’t spent much time in before. It was a glorious couple of days. In a good year the Nelson region can boast the highest annual sunshine hours in New Zealand, which makes it an absolute El Dorado for growing fruits of every description. In a wet year (and you could say 2018 has been one of those), it’s still a beautiful place despite the crestfallen looks on many a winemakers face. When I was a teenager I remember people talking about Nelson being all about orchards and tobacco. Yet these days it’s hops and grapes that are whipping tourist tastebuds into a tizz and I was keen to get amongst it. One of the highlights of my visit was spending time at Kina* Beach Vineyard, where I stayed in the beautifully renovated cottage that used to be the old Redwood Valley Schoolhouse. The wines were sensational (their chardonnay and pinot noir in particular) and I remember thinking there was nothing nicer than sitting on the tiny timber deck, looking out across the little vineyard toward Tasman Bay and the Moutere Inlet. This little, 6ha piece of paradise was created back in 1998 by Dave Birt and Pam Roberts who converted it from an old apple orchard, but it’s now owned by Swiss couple Achim Bauer, an ex-partner in accountancy giant PriceWaterhouseCoopers in London, and Karin Schoch, an ex-human resources manager in Zurich. They’d been looking to ditch the corporate life and follow their wine dream and this was too good an opportunity to miss. After coming to New Zealand on sabbatical with their two teenage daughters a decade ago, and working in different Hawke’s Bay wineries while doing certificates in viticulture, the couple took the leap into vineyard ownership on the Kina Peninsula and have never looked back.

*Kina (pronounced ‘kin-nah’) for any international readers, is the Maori name for ‘sea urchin’.

Kina Beach Vineyard Reserve Chardonnay 2015 $36 (5 stars)
Prepare for a big, grapefruity, toasty, roasty, caramelised and smoky glass of awesome right here. Deeply complex and richly textured, this is a classic, creamy, multi-layered chardonnay that will definitely win friends and influence people. Love it!

Kina Beach Vineyard Nelson Pinot Noir 2015 $30 (3.5 stars)

Here’s a lovely, bright, fruit saturated pinot that’s packed with spice and personality. Lifted and light on the palate, there’s a saucy, strawberries-and-cream character to round out the lengthy finish. It’s a crowd-pleaser pinot that’ll lend itself to any occasion. Nicely made.


Oak Estate Hawke’s Bay Merlot 2015 $23 (4.5 stars)
Scented with boysenberry, bay leaf, blueberries, pepper and leather, there’s also a lick of vanilla which wraps itself around big, muscular, pumping tannins, making this a definite new favourite in my house! Dry, yet curvy and complex, it’s a merlot with excellent concentration and sippability. Try it before it disappears! www.oakestatewines.co.nz

Nautilus Marlborough Chardonnay 2016 $35 (5 stars)
Winemaker Clive Jones is a serious talent. How he’s able to force so much flavour into this bottle I’ll never know, but it means every glass is a sensory overload. Prepare for preserved lemon, roast nectarine and grapefruity goodness. Caramelised, toasty oak and a vein of spice cloak a core of creaminess that adds delicious complexity on the finish. It’s rather wow-inducing.

Misty Cove Waitaria Marlborough Organic Barrel White Wine 2016 $39.99 (5 stars)
This is one extremely gorgeous blended white that’ll induce wow’s around the table I’m sure. Winemaker Andrew Bailey has co-fermented organically-grown sauvignon blanc, pinot gris and chardonnay grown in his Waitaria Bay vineyard in Kenepuru Sound and matured it in new and matured French oak for 12 months. The result? A wine bursting with tropical florals, marzipan, white pepper, apple and citrus, all crisply bound together by nutty, slighty smoky notes on the finish. Gorgeous!

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