ClaireFergusonOur work rarely stops when the store closes. In our ceaseless quest for insider knowledge to share with you, our evenings are often filled with tastings hosted by winemakers from all over the world. Claire Ferguson, Manager of Majestic Brentford Lock, reports on two recent tastings held by a pair of ground-breaking Antipodean winemakers…

Brent Marris

BrentMarrisBrent Marris’ Marlborough heritage is incomparable. His father, John, was New Zealand’s first contract grape grower back in the 1970s, giving Brent valuable insight of the Marlborough wine industry. He compounded this with a degree in Oenology from Australia’s prestigious Roseworthy College, later becoming the winemaker who put Oyster Bay on the world map.

The Ned and Kings Favour TastingThe man himself conducted our tasting to showcase his two latest ventures. The Ned Series and the Marisco King’s Series are both from vineyards on the banks of the Waihopai, where long, warm summer days make for concentrated flavours, with cooler nights providing refreshing acidity. The Ned’s impressive new vintages offer stunning value for money, but it was the Marisco King’s Series that Brent was especially keen for us to try. With a name inspired by the family’s medieval royal connections, these wines really blew us away for quality and pure fruit expression. A label definitely fit for a king.

The Ned Waihopai River Sauvignon Blanc 2010, Marlborough
£7.49 or £5.99* when you buy two bottles
Ripe citrus fruit, gunflint and mineral aromas and flavours enhanced by a fresh herb and nettle character. Refreshing, well-integrated acidity. Fantastic with seafood.


The-Ned-RecommendationThe Ned Waihopai River Pinot Grigio, 2010, Marlborough
£8.74 or £6.99* when you buy two bottles
The naturally occurring pink “blush” is left in the wine to preserve as much aroma and flavour as possible. Refreshingly dry with ripe stone fruit and spicy flavours on the palate and perfumed nose.

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The Ned Noble Sauvignon Blanc 2009, Half Bottle
£12.49 or £9.99* when you buy two bottles
This fantastic new dessert wine, made from 70% botrytised grapes, is purposely not too sweet. Great with lighter fruit desserts and meringues.

The Ned Waihopai River Pinot Noir, 2009, Marlborough
£12.49 or £9.99* when you buy two bottles
Lovely fresh berry fruits and subtle smoky aromas and flavours. Only tannin from the skin is included to give a soft, silky structure. Great now but will age for several years.

The King’s Favour Sauvignon Blanc, 2010, Marlborough New!
£12.49 or £9.99* when you buy two bottles
Both the nose and the palate are very clean and fresh with complex lime, nettle and mineral characters typical of the Waihopai valley. The length is fantastic.

The King’s Thorn Pinot Gris, 2010, Marlborough New!
£12.49 or £9.99* when you buy two bottles
With a signature pink “blush”, this shows fresh, ripe pear, almond, stone fruit and white pepper aromas with rich fruit and spice lingering on the palate. Very well-rounded with refreshing, balanced acidity.

Kevin O’Brien

Kevin O'BrienNot to be outdone by his Kiwi counterpart, Australian Kevin O’Brien came in a few days later to showcase the latest vintages from his Kangarilla Road winery in the McLaren Vale. A fellow Roseworthy graduate, Kevin has been instrumental in elevating the McLaren Vale’s vinification standards during his 20 years in the wine trade. And like Brent, he is a disciple of terroir in his winemaking.

As well as offering us a taste of Kangarilla’s latest Viognier and Chardonnay, Kevin enthused about the progress his team have made with their Shiraz. Grapes from different blocks of the vineyard are blended every year for consistency of style and quality. This has produced a stunning 2008 vintage that’s set to be a huge hit in stores this winter. But there’s no need to wait for a special occasion to open an award-winning Kangarilla Road Shiraz. We also tried the mid-priced ‘2 Up’ Shiraz; a lovely, soft, easy drinker that’s perfect for a midweek treat.

2 Up Shiraz 2007, Kangarilla Road, South Australia
£7.99 or £6.39* when you buy two bottles
Made with grapes from three different regions and packed full of blackcurrants and plums, plus hints of spice. Soft, approachable tannins for a real easy-drinking style.

Kangarilla Road Chardonnay 2008/09, McLaren Vale
£12.49 or £8.79* when you buy two bottles
A modern, Chablis-influenced style dominated by pure citrus fruits with lighter hints of tropical fruit and mineral characters. Great on its own or with lighter foods.

Kangarilla Road Shiraz 2008, McLaren Vale
£12.49 or £9.99* when you buy two bottles
Rich blackcurrant, black plum and spicy aromas follow through to a palate with well-integrated soft tannins. Great now but will age well for several years.

Kangarilla Road Viognier 2009, McLaren Vale
£12.99 or £10.39* when you buy two bottles
A light, fresh nose, with orange, mandarin and spicy notes on the palate. It’s very refreshing now, but will age gracefully for several years. Serve only slightly chilled to make the most of its aromatic nature.

*Prices are valid from 02 November 2010 to 31 January 2011.

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