Every vineyard has its own unique story to tell. We put the questions to a distinguished winemaker from New Zealand.

Interview with Mike Brown (Winemaker)

Q. What is the future for the New Zealand wine industry?

A. Life beyond Sauvignon. It’s what we do well of course, but there is so much more. Pinot Noir and increasingly Pinot Gris are becoming important in the export mix, but New Zealand also makes fantastic Gewürztraminer, Riesling, Viognier, Chardonnay, Bordeaux blends and Syrah. Watch out also for Grüner Veltliner and Albariño in years to come, I think those varieties will transport particularly well to New Zealand conditions.

Q. Outside of Nelson, what’s you most interesting winemaking location and why?

A. I’ve worked in Australia, California, Chile, Argentina, France and Spain…but possibly my favourite experience was working in Somontano in northeast Aragon, cooler climate by Spanish standards the wines from here are gems, if you can find them! Loved Chile though too, great people, great wines.

Q. Are you a Bordeaux or Burgundy man?

A. Burgundy tends to be a more friendly wine if you cook vegetarian… but aside from that I respond better to the more ‘down-home’ authenticity of Burgundy’s Domaines, I distrust the façade of wealth and privilege that is Bordeaux. A great love is Chablis (with Margaret River a close second when it comes to Chardonnay). For French wine though I guess my heart is really in Alsace, Grand Cru Riesling and onion tart, yum.

Q. What’s the best part of your job?

A. Tasting the wines with people, with other winemakers for usefulfeedback, or with punters to tell the stories of the wines. The problem is that they are like your children, and it’s knowing when to shut up for risk of boring people!

Q. Will the All Blacks choke again at the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand in 2011?

A. Not a great track record is it? I still prefer to remember ’87 – I lived next to Eden Park at the time. If Richie is in charge and Dan is kicking, we should be alright. And you may not know, but our football team, the All Whites, are off to the Soccer World Cup in 2010. First time since Madrid in ’82!

Waimea Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2008, Nelson
£9.99 or £6.99 when you buy 2 bottles*

Ripe gooseberry and tropical fruits complemented by delicate floral notes and mineral characters. An ideal accompaniment to all kinds of seafood, particularly oysters.

Waimea Estate Pinot Gris 2008, Nelson
£10.99 or £8.99 when you buy 2 bottles*

Pinot Gris is an increasingly fashionable grape variety, bursting with aromas of pear, honey, spiced apple and cream. It is also a perfect match to Thai or other Asian food.

Waimea Estate Pinot Noir 2007/08, Nelson

Red cherry, rose petal and cranberry aromas lead to luscious dark berry fruits intermingled with silky oak tannins. Great with red meat, game and dishes with wild mushroom sauces.

*All prices valid until 26th April 2010

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