13 November 2011From the Air New Zealand Wine Awards

The Air New Zealand Wine Awards is the premier wine competition in New Zealand.  To receive an award wines need to reach a higher standard than in almost all other shows in the world.  Minimum score to achieve a medal is 16 out of 20 and there is an Elite level of Gold Medals for those scoring 19 and over out of 20.

Judging was held over 3 days earlier this month (well done to all the judges!), and the awards dinner was held last night in Auckland. 

We are pleased to announce that 36 bottles Pinot Noir 2009 received a Bronze medal, taking our accolades for this wine to seven medals -included medals at the New Zealand International Wine Show and Spielegau Wine Show earlier this year.

The wine is currently available online at our web site (www.36bottles.co.nz) or from selected fine wine retailers and restaurants around New Zealand.

As well, our congratulations to all the other Central Otago wineries who achieved great results at the Air New Zealand Awards.  Well done, everybody!!
0 Comments  |  written by Douglas Brett

22 August 2011Neil McCallum retiring

I'm not sure if 'retiring' is the right word - but it will have to do.

I must admit is was a bit of a surprise to open my Spring 2011 mailer from Dry River Wines and read that Neil was finally stepping away from Dry River completely.  Good on him in one sense, but sad in another.

For me I have known of Neil, Dawn and Dry River since my first introduction to Martinborough in the mid / late 1980's.  It was clear that Neil was intent on doing something pretty special and he; with Clive Paton and Larry McKenna; established Martinborough's awesome reputation with Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and Riesling.  The focus on being boutique, attention to detail and general excellence is what makes Dry River outstanding.

I've always admired Dry River wines, especially the style, finesse and class of the white wines.  Dry River has to be one of my heros since "for ever", and are wines that I aspire to emulate in my own way.

It's sad that Neil won't be at the forefront of New Zealand winemaking any more, but his place in the history of modern New Zealand winemaking is certain and has to be applauded.  Thanks for getting us to where we are.

All the best for 'the excitment of pastures new' and a toast to the past and the future.  Cheers, Neil & Dawn!

Douglas Brett.
written by Douglas Brett

3 December 2010Kapiti Food Fair 2010 tomorrow

This weekend, on Saturday, 4th of December, sees the third annual Kapiti Food Fair return to the  grounds of  the Whitireia Polytechnic Campus, on State Highway One just north of Paraparaumu.  The Fair has been a great success the last two years and its going to be bigger and better this year . 

We at 36 bottles are, or have been, residents of the Kapiti Coast so we think it is important to get involved in the local activities and look forward to again sharing our love of wine and winemaking with our fellow Coasters.

Our site is close to the entrance, so we you can catch up with us on the way in and then say 'bye' on the way out! 

We will be tasting our awarding winning 36 Bottles Pinot Noir 2008 and the newly released Pinot Gris 2010 at the Fair from 10:00 AM through to 3:00 PM.  In fact the Pinot Noir has collected 3 Silver Medals, including most recently at the Air New Zealand Wine Awards 2010 (the national show).

We will have available a number of specially gift wrapped bottles, and presentation boxes that would be perfect Christmas gifts for any winelover.

We would love to see all our local and Greater Wellington based Friends during the day, so please come on out, see the wonderful produce the Coast has to offer and catch up with us.

Please bring a can of food with you, as admission to the fair is by donation to the local Food Bank to assist those less fortunate at this time of the year.

See you Saturday!
written by Douglas Brett

9 November 2010Success in Hong Kong

The Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International Wines & Spirits (IWSC) Competition has just completed, and results announced.

In the words of Gabriel Savage in an article for the Drinks Business website this was an 'Antipodean triumph'!  Australia with 14 gold and 48 silver awards, topped the medals board. And New Zealand achieved an outstanding 'second place' with a total of 13 gold and 38 silver awards. NZ also collected several of the trophies as well!

We are very happy to report that we contributed to the triumph, collecting a Silver Medal for our (as yet to be released) '36 Bottles' Pinot Noir 2009.  We also took part in the food matching challenge and were very pleased to receive a Bronze medal for a match of the Pinot Noir with Braised Abalone.

The Pinot Noir 2009 looked lovely as grapes on the vine, and we were thrilled with the wine as it fermented and matured in barrel.  And we were excited by the result when we completed the final blend in February this year.  The medal is the icing on the cake.

So look out for this wine when we make it available to our on line customers in the next few weeks.
written by Douglas Brett

12 October 2010weddings and medals

Its been a bit exciting of late for us here at Mt Aspiring Wines (you know - the home of '36 bottles'!)

In the recent New Zealand International Wine Show 2010 we received a Silver medal for the Pinot Noir 2008.  That's our second Silver for this lovely wine, and it is definitely improving with age!

Then at the start of October Jane and I took off to Rarotonga for a little tropical R&R, with much of the family in tow.  It was, as far as most of the others thought, a chance to celebrate Jane's birthday.  But we had a surprise in store - we turned it into our wedding.  A lovely sunny day, by Muri lagoon with a reception at Sails Restaurant.  It was fantastic.

Have to say that Sails Restaurant is a great place to dine, not matter the occasion.  So if you are ever in Rarotonga (and I recommend going there) definitely go there at least once for lunch or dinner (or even a cocktail sitting right on the beach).
written by Douglas Brett

18 May 2010Silver Success in London ...

Great news today! 

We have received news that our Pinot Noir 2008 (our first vintage / first wine) has been awarded a Silver Medal in the very prestigious International Wine Challenge 2010.

We are absolutely stoked, and this comes just a few days after we received news that our Pinot Gris 2009 received a Silver Medal in the Liquorland International Wine Show / Top 100 held here in New Zealand.  We certainly feel that we are well on the way to achieving our first goal of creating high quality artisan small batch wines that are classically Central Otago. 

We have to say thanks to the great team who have help us achieve these great results - Tim and Nikki Kerruish of Knox Estate and their vineyard team; Dan and Sarah-Kate Dineen and their winemaking team at Maude Wines; and Patrick Caudle who was a key palate in the team that created the final blend for bottling.  Great wine is the result of great grapes and the ability to husband the grapes into wine that expresses their place of origin.

Thanks everyone!!!

Now the plug - please go to our online shop or visit one of the retailers listed in the "Where to Buy" page on our web site to get yourself some of our wonderful wines.  Then enjoy with great food in the company of good friends.

Regards,  Douglas & Jane.
0 Comments  |  written by Douglas

4 May 2010Vintage 2010 -Over and Out

The last few days have been a bit hectic.  Finished up working at our winemakers last Friday.  Back to Wellington and returned to the 'day job'.  Special thanks to everyone at Maude for having me on board as part of the team - it was a super experience.

In Wanaka the daily cycle of plunging ferments continued as did the in flow of grapes as the vineyards continued to pick round the showers.   No issues with quality, just getting a break in the weather to pick as we have low disease pressure  and the vines are now almost into 'hibernation' mode.  As I left to return to the big smoke many of the early red ferments were into post ferment maceration - the slow extraction of tannins and colour from the Pinot Noir skins, pips and stalks.  Our 36 bottles Pinot ferments for clone 5 and 6 were in this category.  Pressing off and 'barrelling' of the new wine will commence shortly once we are happy the tannin and colour etc are in balance.

I see that in the last day or so that its being reported in the press that the NZ harvest will be at the lower end of the harvest predictions.  The cool temperatures at flowering in spring last year in most regions and the tight management of vineyards in Marlborough are factors in this.  Can't say that I'm upset, it will be good for the industry to have supply more in line with demand again.

The harvest volume in Central has come in pretty much at the projected tonnage, and has been of great quality overall.   The last point makes me happy - I believe we have to work to the quality end of the market and not deliver huge quantities, as the NZ input cost structure doesn't work at the quantity end of the market.  And I'm also very happy about what I see in our ferments - we will deliver a wine with a great structure and taste when we bring the 2010 wine to market next year.

In the mean time we can all enjoy the 2008 vintage, while waiting for the 2009 to be ready for release later this year.

In vino veratis!
0 Comments  |  written by Douglas

28 April 2010Vintage 'Intern' 2010 - It does rain in Central

It's Tuesday, and its being raining since Sunday.

Not a lot happened over the weekend - I had some time off to visit family in Dunedin.  Great to hang out with the kids and recover from the manual labour.  Back in Central there have been intermittent showers that mean little happened on the picking front on Monday, or on Tuesday.  Our efforts have concentrated on fruit already in the fermenters and on cleaning - followed by some more cleaning.  Then for a change do the plunging to keep the cap on the fermenting wines moist.

The workout continues to be good for the waist line!

It dawns fine on Wednesday, I get some video of the lovely red sun rise as I arrive at work.  However, ominously, the mountains to the west are shrouded in low cloud. 

Our two fermenters of Pinot are ticked off as 'dry' in the morning sampling.  This is great news - I have been on site to see the '36 bottles ' Pinot Noir through the whole fermentation process - I even have my photo taken doing the plunging of the cap to prove it.  I'll have to publish that one day soon! 

From now on we will watch and taste test the wine to pick the moment when the colour and tannin extraction are in balance and we can run the wine off into barrels to quietly mature and develop over the next 12 months.

At our winemakers, Maude Wines in Wanaka, we start to set up for processing the fruit that will arrive in the late afternoon / early evening and will be processed through Thursday.  Fruit will come in for their own wines and for other users of the Dan and the teams skills.  We clean fermenters and establish the fuit processing line for the next batches of fruit.

As an intern its not just about my wines but helping out with other folks stuff as well - and try to soak up knowledge that will be useful in future.

We spent the afternoon out to the Mt Maude Wines vineyard to help finish the harvest of some reisling and transport it back to the winery.  All is fine until the threatening cloud starts to deliver more rain.  Then it is all on to get this batch of fruit  to the winery and undercover. 

It will be a busy day tomorrow!
0 Comments  |  written by Douglas

25 April 2010Vintage 2010 - Being a Vintage 'Intern'

Currently I’m in the middle of an ‘intern’ vintage role with our wine makers at Maude Wines. Being rather older than the last time I did this and not necessarily that much wiser it has been a bit difficult getting back up to speed with the hard yakka of a full sized winery vintage cellarhand’s life.  But its all been more positive than negative.

The good things from the first week – seeing my own grapes in the fermenter quietly cold soaking, and all those lovely fruit aromas; being right on site to make critical decisions regarding the fermentation of our Pinot Noir; finding out (again) that vintage work is really good at helping shed the kilos – it’s the best diet – eat as much as you can because the physical work load will burn off anything you can eat and then some; great people to work with, dinners made by S-K (she is a fantastic cook).

The not so good things – feeling stuffed at the end of the day, being so tired that my thought of writing something each day went out the window for the whole of the first week.  But now I’m into week two I’m feeling up to speed.

So with a bit of luck I can write a little something on each of the remaining few days as a vintage ‘intern’.

PS –fermentation of the wine that will become ’36 bottles’ Pinot Noir 2010 is now well and truly ‘kicking’; and the aromas and flavours are very nice.  Fingers crossed!

written by Douglas

11 February 2010Wine tasting in Johnsonville

Patrick and I  attended the February meeting of the Cellar Club last night and presented all the wines that we have produced to date.  These were the Pinot Gris 2009 and 2008 and the Pinot Noir 2008.  There was a good and knowledgable crowd in attendance, which made for a very enjoyable evening.  It was also good to catch up with folk we know from other tasting circles and wine options competitions.

The wines were all well received; thanks everyone for the kind comments.  The Pinot Gris section definitely generated plenty of discussion regarding the diversity of approaches still evident in many NZ Pinot Gris.  Consumers find it a problem not knowing how dry or sweet a Gris is going to be, unlike Chardonnays or Sav Blancs which have standard styles.  But the balance of bright primary aromas, palate texture, great acid backbone and a hint of residual sugar definitely hit the spot for many tasters.  I wish I had a recording of the comment "The 2008 has to be the best NZ Pinot Gris I have ever tasted."  Thank you that man!

The Pinot Noir even has me getting excited.  It's been a few weeks (2 months?) since I last tasted it and the aromas, flavours and textures are definitely opening up.  Many commented on the cherry, plum and chocolate / mocha and spice notes.  So pleased that many enjoyed it.

Thank you to the Johnsonville Cellar Club for having us along as part of the nights events, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and we hope that they will have us back in the future.  Any one for 'Pinot 2010 blending trial' evening next year?
written by Douglas Brett
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