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COUVE ~ Renski Rizling, Laski Rizling
DOLIUM WHITE ~ Muskat Ottonel
SAUVIGNON - magnums
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HETSZOLO, TOKAJ – Organic
The undisputed king of Hungarian vineyards, Mount Tokaj is located to the north of the country, 200 km east of Budapest.
This legendary location produces exceptional wines, protected since 1772 by the first appellation of origin awarded in the
The Royal Imperial Estate of Tokaj-Hétszolo owns beautiful land and cracking vines on the southern slopes of Mount Tokaj
since 1502. No surprise, then, that it has attracted the attention of the greats of the wine world for over 5 centuries!
The creation of the estate owes nothing to chance: the Garai family simply selected the best 7 parcels of the land in the region,
hence the name - Hét Szolo means "7 parcels of vineyard" in Hungarian. Thence followed a series of prestigious owners,
including Gaspar Karoli, translator of the Bible into Hungarian, Gabor Bethlen, prince of Transylvania and the Princes
Rakoczi, a grand aristocratic family. The Habsburg royal family finally took possession of the vineyard and Tokaj-Hétszolo
became an Imperial Estate in 1711. It was to remain the property of the Austro-Hungarian Crown for almost two centuries.
Following a turbulent 20th Century, the Tokaj-Hétszolo Estate became one of the Michel Reybier vineyards in 2009, joining
Cos d'Estournel, Saint-Estèphe Grand Cru classé, Château-Marbuzet and Goulée Médoc in their portfolio.
The terroir is special. The volcanic rock here is covered by a particularly thick layer of loess, and the directly south-facing
side of the hill benefits from optimum levels of sunshine. The parcels overlook the misty valley where the Rivers Tisza and
Bodrog meet, and enjoy the perfect microclimate for botrytris cinerea, which produces the much-prized noble rot.
Ecological responsibility is at the forefront of the winery’s objectives. There wasn’t any agriculture at Hétszőlő between the
1950’s and 1990 - in fact throughout the era of massive agrochemical use of Soviet regime. When the vineyards were
replanted in 1991 sustainability was put to the fore. To make organic culture more official, Hétszőlő began the conversion
process for organic certification in 2009 with the label of Hungária Ökogarancia, an official organic certifier in Hungary.
Today all the 55 hectares of vineyards of the estate are cultivated strictly in organic way. Minuscule amounts of copper and
sulphur are employed. Instead of systemic chemicals they use more natural products like orange oil, baking powder and other
substances. No artificial fertilizers, nor herbicides, are used and natural pest management is practised using predatory
insects. Soil management is done by means of composting and diverse cover crop. Ecological islands have been established
next to vine parcels to increase biodiversity. Allied to these changes is a move towards more natural wine making, using
indigenous yeasts and spontaneous fermentation.
The dry wine is 100% Furmint from the south-facing Nagyszőlő & Hétszőlő single vineyards on thick loess soil with more
complex volcanic subsoil. Yields are around 35 hl/ha, and the wine is fermented and aged for five months in stainless tanks
with weekly batonnage. The nose is quite reserved and a touch balsamic, but the palate is striking with lime, pear and green
apple notes. Elegant acidity and minerality. The wine benefits from not being served too cold.
Late Harvest is an important category nowadays for Tokaj. At Hétszőlő they use mostly use shrivelled berries with no botrytis,
the aim being to keep the wine fresh and fruity and easy to drink. This version comprised Furmint 70% + Hárslevelű 30%
from low-yielding vines (25hl/ha) and, like the dry wine, is fermented and matured in tank. On the nose we find citrus,
elderflower, linden blossom and fresh tropical fruit notes. The same fruit comes through on the palate along with minerality
and lovely balancing acidity.
TOKAJI DRY FURMINT
TOKAJI LATE HARVEST
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What’s bred in the bone…
“I will go on the slightest errand now to the Antipodes that you can
devise to send me on, said Benedick who ranked it as unpleasant a task
as plucking out a hair from the Great Cham’s beard or exchanging a word
with Beatrice. Our delightful errand in particular question was to seek
out evidence of life in the currently hibernating New Zealand wine
This is what I wrote a few years: it is no longer true. It is important to
bear in mind that while New Zealand is still comparatively in its infancy
as a wine producing country the wine industry is both dynamic and self-
questioning. The vines are still very young and the resulting wines,
although they can exhibit an exhilarating freshness of fruit, rarely have
the finesse and complexity associated with terroir. This is changing; low
yields and marginal climates keep the wines honest. The choice of grape
varieties is important: New Zealand has coasted on its ludicrously over-
inflated reputation for Sauvignon. To be taken seriously, however, you
have to master the red grape varieties, and we now judge New Zealand
especially in relation to other countries in its holy quest for the Pinot
world-class wines per producer at present, although quantities are small
and prices are scary. Here be great Pinot Noir and good Chardonnay.
Hawkes Bay works well for the Cabernet blends and the surprisingly
rarely planted Syrah. Central Otago has laid claim to Pinot Noir and
possibly Riesling and Pinot Gris. Marlborough (the biggest area of
production) is already renowned for the ubiquitous Sauvignon and other
grape varieties are showing promise. Waipara’s (Canterbury) superb
Burgundian terroir make it ideal for world-class Pinot and Chardonnay.
One criticism that might currently be levelled at New Zealand wines is
their tendency towards imbalance. Quite a lot of Pinot stew is still
brewed: alcoholic, with green tannins and overextracted. Chardonnay
can be hot and heavy and taste of melted oak girders, Riesling will often
resemble fruit loops and, on a bad day, the Sauvignon can be mean
enough to give your nostrils a gooseberry enema. Much work to be done
therefore, but no doubting the potential of the wines and the overall
standard is very high.
people trapped alive.
Apocryphal Headline, New Zealand Listener 1979
On the subject of sparkling wine Cloudy Bay have
released the new deluxe brand “Thesaurus”, as they
have run out of superlatives to promote their own
Wine News Headlines
We’ve revamped our selection from New Zealand
with some biodynamic offerings. Sato is a new name
in Central Otago. The 2009 vintage was their maiden
voyage and a fine wine, and for their encore the 2010
carries on the good work. We are also delighted to be
working with Mike and Claudia Weersing at Pyramid
Valley in northern Canterbury who make beautifully
eloquent Chardonnays, Pinots and Rieslings using
little or no sulphur. These are exhilarating, roller-
coaster wines, their unpredictability and mutability
part of their inherent charm.
Framingham continues to improve in leaps and
bounds. Andrew Hedley is surely the most talented
exponent of Riesling in New Zealand, making the
most ethereal (dare one say, Germanic) style at various
levels of sweetness. His dry wines from old vines are
also complex and remarkably ageworthy. Not that he
is one trick (or ten trick) pony. Excellent Sauvignon
with lees-contact and a touch of barrel work has more
mouthfeel and complexity than the run-of-the-mill
Marlborough Savvy, textural Pinot Gris has warmth
and spice in abundance, Pinot Noir is well-knit and
fruit-driven and Montepulciano has sweet ‘n’ spicy
cherry fruit – great fun.
From Science Today – 01/04/2012 – “High-Flying Sauvignon”
It had to happen and so it did. In the wake of the hugely successful Cloudy Bay locator, Les Caves de Pyrène, a small company based in
Guildford, has teamed up with top scientists and winery technicians to come up with a technological solution to keep tabs on their New
Zealand brands in order to determine precisely where and when they were selling. Christened the “Pinot Pinpointer” they devised a
system using the latest GPS smart technology wherein micro-chips could be implanted in the cork (or stelvin lining) before bottling; these
chips contain complex digital information and emit a periodic signal which can be uploaded via satellite and downloaded instantly onto a
web-site giving literally up-to-the-minute information regarding the sales history and whereabouts of every single bottle of that particular
wine in the world. The transmission signal, incidentally, is only “active” until the cork is pulled. New phone technology means that you
can now “Wap-Sauv” to locate and track down a bottle of your favourite Marlborough tipple and an inbuilt Sat-Sauv-Nav device will
enable you to calculate the quickest route between two bottles. Initial teething problems have included certain difficulties tracking
Riesling (the signals to the satellite are boosted by the alcoholic content of the wine) and the more ethereal nature of the grape variety has
resulted in signal interference from Talk Radio stations and low flying aircraft. A spokesman for Les Caves de Pyrène commented: “The
Pinot Pinpointer is the ultimate no-brainer for the wine trade”.
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“If it would not look too much like showing off, I would tell the reader where New Zealand is.” ..... Mark Twain 189
FELTON ROAD WINERY, Central Otago – Biodynamic
Felton Road winery is located in Bannockburn, Central Otago, the most southerly wine-growing region in the world.
Here, vineyards are nestled into small microclimates totally surrounded by high mountains, many of which are snow-
capped all year round. Though the location is on the edge of sustainable viticulture these microclimates consistently
combine hot days, cool nights and long dry autumns: perfect for the creation of fine Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Riesling.
The latitude of 45 degrees south is similar to the Willamette Valley in Oregon and some of the finest wine regions of
Central Otago is New Zealand’s only wine region with a continental climate rather than a maritime one. This brings the
risk of frosts but has the benefit of low rainfall and high sunshine hours. Of the five distinct microclimates so far identified
in Central Otago, Bannockburn, with its gentle north facing slopes and deep loess soils seems well suited to the
production of complex Pinot Noir. Viticulture makes extensive use of handwork and is heavily influenced by organic
practice. The canopies use the Vertical Shoot Position trellis system with all pruning, positioning, shoot thinning, leaf
plucking and fruit thinning performed carefully by hand. Cover crops are used to supply a natural biodiversity in the
vineyard which aids vine balance as well as helping control disease and pests. The use of natural manure obtained from
organic sources aids the “gentle touch” approach to the vines. Harvesting is by hand starting around the beginning of
April and each block is harvested and vinified separately. A three level gravity-flow winery has been specifically created
to make wine by hand in the gentlest way possible.
When making Pinot Noir, fruit passes by gravity to fermenters to prevent pumping of must. Fruit is not crushed so it
ferments as whole berries while the use of a percentage of whole bunches adds complexity and structure. Using wild
yeasts for the fermentation is an important part of the natural wine making philosophy, with wines being rested outdoors
in small fermenters for extended maceration with up to four punch downs per day, before being run by gravity to barrel.
All the barrels are Burgundian coopered, 3-year air dried (typically 30% new oak each vintage) and selected for their
slow extraction and subtlety of flavour.
White wines are all hand harvested and whole bunch pressed. Chardonnay for barrel fermentation passes by gravity
straight to the barrel from the press to await a wild yeast ferment. Again a natural malolactic follows in the spring. The
Chardonnay barrels are also 100% French oak, low extraction, 3 year air dried. This Chardonnay is stirred by batonnage
(stirring of the lees) regularly throughout its life.
The Felton Rieslings and Chardonnays are whole bunch pressed then wild yeast fermented, with the wines being left on
gross lees with stirring to develop complexity and mouthfeel.
So much for the technical detail. The wines themselves are wonderful, brilliantly exhibiting the terroir, full of aromatic
fruit and wild herbs, lacking the extraction and bitterness one associates with many New Zealand wines. Matthew Jukes
describes the 2004 Felton Road Riesling as “just about the best Riesling I’ve ever had”. You’re off your trolley, son; it is
wonderful, but is arguable whether it’s even the best Felton Road Riesling of the vintage. But then they are all bloody
cracking wines (pardon my New Zealandish).
All wines are bottled under stelvin.
FELTON ROAD “VIRTUAL” DRY RIESLING ~ limited availability
FELTON ROAD “VIRTUAL” RIESLING ~ limited availability
FELTON ROAD BLOCK 1 RIESLING – limited availability
FELTON ROAD BANNOCKBURN PINOT NOIR
FELTON ROAD CALVERT PINOT NOIR
FELTON ROAD BLOCK 3 PINOT NOIR ~ limited availability
FELTON ROAD BLOCK 5 PINOT NOIR ~ limited availability
FELTON ROAD VIN GRIS
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SATO ESTATE, YOSHIAKI & KYOKO SATO, Central Otago – Biodynamic
Sato Wines was established by Yoshiaki & Kyoko Sato, as a small project in 2009. Based in New Zealand since 2006 they have
also worked in traditional winegrowing countries in the last several years, having had experience working with natural
winegrowers in France and learning from them forms the core of their winemaking style.
Yoshiaki & Kyoko believe grape vines need to be grown in organic ways – preferably in biodynamic ways. They believe grapes
should be simply transformed to wine, with minimum intervention by human hands, chemicals or additives in order to protect
the natural microbiological balance in the vineyard and winemaking process, so that the real character of the terroir where the
grape vines grow is truly and purely expressed in the wine.
Sato Wines does not have its own vineyard. They purchase grapes from reliable local organic or biodynamic growers in Central
Otago that they form long lasting relationships with. Sato produces a dry mineral Riesling and two tiers of Pinot Noir in which
demand always outstrips supply.
The Chardonnay is whole bunch pressed slowly with no settling (though the wine was racked), no additions, fermentation starts
naturally in older barrels and the wine is kept on lees for 14 months. Bottled with around 15ppm SO2. This wine was actually
made by Kyoko, Yoshi’s wife, under his watchful eye. Complex bouquet of toast, honeyed oatmeal, stone fruit and blanched nuts.
Au natural kind of vibe, oxidative richness; close your eyes and you could be in Jura. Glorious to drink, but not in the usual
framework of linear elegance expected from en vogue chardonnay producers; an almost almond milk texture but with a bolt of
long, tight acidity lending a steely line through the texture of the wine. Precise stone fruit and citrus flavours – pristine, squeaky
fruit from cool climate Otago an anchor. Absolutely refreshing and delicious. Complex.
Entirely natural wine with just 10ppm of sulfur (about a tenth of most wines). The fruit is carefully selected and juice stays in
contact with the skins for 3 months. The wine is allowed to slowly macerate in a pretty oxidative environment with very gentle
pigeage for light extraction. This is an unusually aromatic wine showing cherry skin, spice, some menthol and rose petal notes.
The palate has rich in texture and has some notable tannin grip. Savoury, oxidative notes contrast the vibrancy of the cherry
skin fruit and floral components...almost as if a Pinot Gris rose had been aged in a fino sherry cask (if you can imagine that!)
Complex and esoteric.
Sourced from specific blocks of the organically certified "Pisa Terrace" Vineyard. Hand-picked and sorted Abel (DRC) and 115
clone Pinot Noir. Wild ferment, open tops, hand / foot plunged. Nothing added or taken away, no fining / filtration just a tiny
addition of sulfur at bottling after 18 months in French oak only 10% new. This Pinot shows fragrant purple flowers, lilac and
orange blossom. Subtle spice characters, and delicate wild thyme. The palate is very fine and elegant, tannins and just a
whisper with the vibrant acidity playing most of the structural role. Focused, elegant and honest
SATO NORTHBURN WHITE
SATO PINOT GRIS
SATO PINOT GRIS L’ATYPIQUE ~ Pinot Gris, Riesling
SATO PISA TERRACE PINOT NOIR
SATO PINOT NOIR L’INSOLITE
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PYRAMID VALLEY, MIKE AND CLAUDIA WEERSING, Canterbury – Biodynamic
Mike and Claudia Weersing came to New Zealand in 1996, when Mike began making wine with Tim and Judy Finn at Neudorf
Vineyards in Nelson. After a long and intensive search to find a site for their own vineyard, they purchased a farm in the
Pyramid Valley, near Waikari in North Canterbury, in 2000. Claudia is a committed 332elabeling332sts and she guides the
vineyard activities whilst Mike studied oenology and viticulture in Burgundy, beginning at the Lycee Viticole in Beaune, and
continuing at the Universite de Bourgogne in Dijon. He has worked extensively in the vineyards and cellars of Europe, for
producers such as Hubert de Montille, Domaine de la Pousse d’Or, and Nicolas Potel in Burgundy; Jean-Michel Deiss and
Marc Kreydenweiss in Alsace; and Ernst Loosen in the Mosel and many, many others.
The search for the “right” terroir has been rigorous- marginal climate, clay-limestone soils, scarp slopes, eastern to northern
aspect, etc. – finding their way home has been a ranging, rich and fascinating migration.
Mike and Claudia have developed four vineyards over the last twelve years, two of Pinot Noir, and two of Chardonnay. Their
unusual shapes and differing sizes have been determined by describing, and then adhering to, discrete areas of homogenous
soil and aspect. Each block is vinified and bottled separately, as an expression of its specific place. The vineyard names are
derived from common names of predominant weed species in each block. As soil conditions change, the weed mix responds
accordingly. They have managed these vineyards biodynamically from the very beginning, doing so by hand for the first two
This is a labour of love and of perfection: plant density is the highest in New Zealand, yields austere, and the vineyard
environment – embracing soils and plants and animals and insects and above all, people – is lavished with care.
“Wine to us is a genie, genius loci; our task is to coax it from its stone bottle. Wine’s magical capacity for evoking site, we
consider an obligation, as much as a gift. Every gesture we make, in the vineyard and winery, is a summons to the spirit of
place. Biodynamics, hand-based viticulture, natural winemaking – these are all means we’ve adopted better to record and to
transmit, with the greatest possible fidelity, this spirit’s song
Field of Fire Chardonnay (the name derives from a weed called twitch) has a glorious
yellow flowers – acacia and fennel blossom. Also a comfortable note of warm cornbread. Lush on entry, but quickly turns
streamlined, from stony acidity and girdling phenolics: great volume and energy, condensing and accelerating on the palate.
Lion’s Tooth Chardonnay has flavours of yellow peach, ground almonds, and lemon curd. Very fluid, very long.
Emergent aromas of sliced pear, hot stone, hawthorn (blossom), and alyssum.
Immediately dense and powerful, rich but stern; something nearly solid about this wine. An intense kind of inwardness, the
wine folding in upon itself, condensing to an astonishing saline core. Enormous force and length, with alternating assertions
of golden flavour – ripe pear, toast, flower honey, nuts – and chalk-hard structure.
Riverbrook Riesling is a delight. Powerful bouquet of yellow fruits – 332elabelin, muskmelon, golden peach – and herb and
weed flowers: chamomile, wild fennel, goldenrod. Also an unusual, but intriguing musky/dusty note, no doubt from the noble
Wonderfully rich and broad, mouthcoating and expansive, but with no troubling loss of detail or energy. Slippery and insistent
at the same time. Long, complex, ripe yellow finish, with an attractive almond-kernel grip balancing the fruit sweetness.
Calvert Pinot is from a schist and quartz sand vineyard managed by the Felton Road team in Bannockburn, Central Otago.
“Whole cluster, warm ferment on the indigenous yeasts and long cuvaison. 14 months on lees in French barriques (25% new)
before bottling without filtering or fining. Thyme branch, creosote, raspberry puree; a note of bruised blackberries in fresh
cream. Reelingly floral: hedgerose, nasturtium, lavender. An intriguing muscat/orange zest component – musk this year in
place of spice. Rich and broad, expansive, alluring and inviting without becoming profligate; very ripe, something almost
essential, but nothing reduced or preserved; really saturates the palate and senses, in a lush but invigorating way.
It is delicate
and finely wrought, with sinewy cherry and herb flavours and silky tannins that impart great elegance to the wine. While other
New Zealand Pinot Noirs display Burgundy-like attributes, this one tastes positively Burgundian, in a relatively light bodied,
Côte de Beaune sort of way.”
The “Earth Smoke” Pinot Noir gives a very pale ruby, slightly cloudy colour and a good intensity of funky, wild strawberry
and soy aromas with nuances of dried herbs and cloves. The medium bodied palate is very elegant with exquisitely soft
tannins, medium to high acid and a medium-long finish. Angel Flower is very fine with beautiful aromas of red berries,
minerals and dust, very beguiling. Finesse and elegance abounds on the palate, yet there is a wonderful richness and fullness
despite the elegance, harmoniously filling the mouth.
FIELDS OF FIRE CHARDONNAY
LION’S TOOTH CHARDONNAY
ANGEL FLOWER PINOT NOIR
EARTH SMOKE PINOT NOIR
ROSE LATE HARVEST RIESLING – ½ bottle
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