Marsden Estate, Kerikeri, Bay of Islands, Northland, New Zealand
Rod Macivor founder of Marsden was preparing for his earliest harvest on record. So early that he was having trouble acquiring the yeast supply. Never in the 27 years since commencing Marsden has the harvest been this early. It had been a particularly dry few months. How much may be down to global warming is unknown, but this felt like an ominous sign. I had travelled to Marsden in Kerikeri near The Bay of Islands having heard about Marsden’s quality and the award winning Black Rocks Chardonnay. I was lucky enough to be hosted by Rod despite him being immersed in work. They had one of their grape growers field day/workshops today. Marsden works a bit like a Co-op with Rod making wine for over 40 individual growers. This reflects the scattered nature of Northlands wine growing areas over a large distance, the remoteness and low volumes produced. It’s not the easiest place to grow grapes with the high rainfall and humidity increasing risks such as fungal disease.
I was lucky enough to meet Mark Nobilo who with his many years of knowledge and wisdom advises local growers and winemakers in his own time. I also met Ben Byrne, winemaker at the expansive and heavily invested property; The Landing, which is making quite a name for itself.
Marsden Pinot Gris 2019
Floral pear textured slight spicy finish
Marsden Black Rocks Chardonnay 2018 +
Lovely buttery malo nose vanilla toasty peach. lees contact, smooth toasty oak long vanilla finish 30 % new oak lees few months
Marsden Viognier 2019
apricot tinned peach, bitterness good acidity
Marsden Tempranillo 2015
Red berry, chocolate yoghurt oak soft tannins 12 months oak cellar savoury
Marsden Chambourcin 2015
American French hybrid recently commercial, salami nose peppery
Cured meats spice smooth good acidity
Marsden Syrah Vigot 2015 +
Mixture ripe blackberries spices turmeric pepper, lovely wine. I had to buy a bottle as well as the Chardonnay and Pinot Gris!
Barrel sample tannat
Blueberry and good tannin excellent development and approachability despite being a barrel sample.
The wines are made very well. I particularly enjoyed the Syrah and it was good to try a wine with 5 years of age.
It was interesting to try the Chambourcin, something more unusual which is adapted for the climate up here.
I enjoyed meeting Rod who exudes generosity, passion and ability which is reflected in his excellent wines.