It has been quite a successful year for Brent Marris and his team down at New Zealand's Marisco Vineyards. Following on from picking up last year's International Wine & Spirit Competition award for New Zealand winery of the year, both his labels, The Ned and King Series, have been reaping the accolades too.
A few weeks ago The Ned Sauvignon Blanc scooped the international trophy at the prestigious DWWA for best Sauvignon Blanc under £10. More recently Brent's wines have picked up a further nine medals at the 2012 China Wine Awards, including a double gold for The Ned - Noble Sauvignon Blanc 2011 and The Ned - Pinot Grigio 2012 plus a double gold for the King's Series, The Kings Favour 2011.
Marris discovered the land for his site back in 2003, a 268 hectare plot situated on the banks of the Waihopai River, Marlborough.
Brent comments "I knew immediately it had enormous potential. The property flows over three distinct terraces of clay and ancient river shingles providing the fruit variation and complexity a winemaker can only dream of."In 2007 The Ned found its way from vineyard to bottle for the first time.
After the medal winning success of The Ned, I had the opportunity to try the Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio (Gris) and Pinot Noir. I will keep my comments short on the Sauvignon and Pinot Noir, not because I didn't like them, far from it, but because the Pinot Grigio deserves my full attention.
The Sauvignon Blanc offers what I like about New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. Good fresh acidity, well balanced levels of tropical, citrus fruit flavours without being over powering. It is a good Sauvignon and sits well at an RRP of £9.99. The same said for the Pinot Noir! It can be very hard to find decent Kiwi Pinot Noir under £15, reason for this is volume. More white wines are produced in New Zealand then red, in particularly Marlborough. The Ned Pinot Noir 2011 is very easy on the palate. Soft red cherry fruit, some minerals, low in tannins, relatively light, RRP £12.99.
Now the Pinot Grigio is a different animal all together. On the whole the unfortunate thing about this grape variety is the amount of bland Pinot Grigio we see on UK shelves. How this grape is perceived by most; light and flavourless. Usually not my cup of tea. I tend to find this style has about as much class, style and charisma as a middle aged drag queen. Luckily for all The Ned Pinot Grigio is superb! Firstly the wine has an obvious light pink tinge, something you don't often see. The nose delivers delicate notes of peach and grapefruit, with similar levels of grapefruit and soft citrus fruit on the palate. I've not had a new world Grigio like this for a long time. This is a wine that sticks in the memory for a long time. What's more, the price! Like its Sauvignon buddy, RRP - £9.99. A fine example of what good Pinot Grigio is all about. If only others could follow Marris' lead.
All these wines are available from Majestic. I suggest you go and check them out!
Mike's ratings -
The Ned Sauvignon Blanc, 7.5-10
The Ned Pinot Noir, 7.5-10
The Ned Pinot Grigio, 9-10
Next time I'll be taking a peak at the Kings Series.
Prices correct at time of publication. Subject to availability.