Published by Joelle Thomson, www.joellethomson.com
A group of 12 Marlborough winemakers are embracing the late Lily Bollinger’s mantra to drink top notch bubbles any time, to celebrate with it when happy and commiserate with it when sad. The ‘it’ in question is New Zealand sparkling wine made by members of Méthode Marlborough, a group of likeminded winemakers who use 100% locally grown grapes and the traditional French method for producing their sparkling wine.
The group launched their first annual Méthode Marlborough Day at the end of this year’s sparkling wine harvest, which takes places earlier than that of grapes harvested to make still wine. The aim of picking grapes earlier for bubbly is to preserve the acidity in the grapes and the freshness in wines made from them.
“Our group is dedicated to producing sparkling wines in the traditional method of Champagne. But we are crafting our wines right here in the centre of New Zealand, so whilst you are confidently purchasing a bottle of delicious and premium méthode, you are also supporting local,” says Taylor.
The grapes sparkling wines are generally harvested earlier than those for still wine to ensure moderate sugar levels and higher acid levels. Marlborough is known for its high sunshine hours and cool nights. This combination can produce crisp and zesty wines, which can suit high quality méthode traditionnelle bubbles.
“When I first visited Marlborough in 1978 I was immediately convinced this was the best place in New Zealand to produce méthode traditionelle. he soil and the climate reminded me of Champagne in the best vintage years, yet it happens every year here in Marlborough,” says Daniel Le Brun, owner and winemaker at No.1 Family Estate.
Méthode Marlborough Day will be held at the end of sparkling wine harvest in Marlborough each year by the 12 members of the group, which includes Allan Scott Family Winemakers, Hunter’s Wines, Johanneshof Cellars, LV Wines, Nautilus Estate, No1 Family Estate, Pernod Ricard (Deutz), Saint Clair Family Estate, Spy Valley Wines, Tohu Wines, Whitehaven Wines and Wither Hills (Daniel Le Brun).