Nelson is not only one of the sunniest regions in New Zealand, it’s also home to some incredibly talented artisan makers and family businesses.
Blackenbrook, a 20ha boutique operation in the Moutere sub-region of this picturesque part of the country, is owned and operated by the Schwarzenbach family, producing seven varieties of premium New Zealand wine.
Ursula kindly sent some Blackenbrook wines for us to try including their new Pinot Blanc but let’s find out a bit more about their family operation first in our latest Q&A:
Hi Ursula, thanks a lot for your time!
Which three adjectives best describe Blackenbrook?
Family-run, hands-on, genuine.
What’s your most exciting winemaking moment to date?
The fabulous 2014 vintage! The season was near-perfect and with the gentle help of our fantastic vineyard team every single variety produced grapes of outstanding concentration and balance. Winemaking was so simple and hands-off and the wines turned out amazing – a dream.
What’s the wine you’re most proud of in your portfolio and why?
Our Pinot Blanc 2019 – it’s our debut Pinot Blanc, beautifully fruity and excitingly vibrant.
There are only 11 hectares of Pinot Blanc planted in the country. Nearly all of these grapes are blended into other white varietals or matured in oak, which brings the texture and flavour closer to a Chardonnay.
But Pinot Blanc is aromatic and fruit-driven all on its own. We have made the wine in a way that allows the varietal flavours to shine by maturing it in stainless steel rather than oak. This way the grape expresses its pure style from our Nelson vineyard.
If you were a wine, what wine would you both be?
Ursula: Blackenbrook Pinot Rosé 2019 – off-dry with a nose of red-currants and a seriously good tannin structure. Playful and feminine, but focused and driven at the same time.
Daniel: Blackenbrook Family Reserve Montepulciano 2016 – dark in colour, amazing fruit concentration and focussed tannin structure combined with an intriguing softness.
What would you do if you wouldn’t be making wines in Nelson?
No idea, making wines in Nelson is hard to beat…
The NZ wine industry is….
… exciting, going places and still a little pioneering.
Top 3 things to do in the Nelson region
Jumping off the Mapua Wharf, trail-running up to Rocks Hut – Richmond Ranges, swim at Rabbit Island.
What’s your favourite New Zealand wine and food match?
Asian stir-fry with Pinot Blanc.
Blackenbrook produces seven grape varieties including Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Gewürztraminer, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Montepulciano.
Here are three luscious aromatic Blackenbrook wines worth sipping this Summer:
Blackenbrook Gewürztraminer 2019
This incredibly perfumed varietal can be polarising but even if you’re not a huge fan of Gewürz I suggest giving this one a go.
While it delivers all characters you’d expect in a Gewürz – think fragrant rose petals, indulgent Turkish delight, tropical fruit to the max and a touch of spice – it’s certainly not the jammy kind of drop that often gives this beautiful varietal a bad rep.
Well balanced, with a crisp finish, this Sip is simply delicious and an excellent reward after a hard day’s work in the garden!
Blackenbrook Pinot Gris 2019
Gisborne and Nelson often compete for the most luscious Gris in the country and this one is certainly right up there.
Packed with tropical fruit, ripe pear and a hint of spice, it’s the curvy kind that leaves a long lasting impression on you. A fabulous match for a summer picnic with the family!
Blackenbrook Pinot Blanc 2019
Pinot Blanc, also known as Pinot Bianco or Weissburgunder, is a lively white wine that is often compared to Chardonnay. Most commonly blended away, it’s a rather rare find in New Zealand, so I’ve been excited to try it.
This 2019 Pinot Blanc is the first release of this versatile varietal for the Schwarzenbach’s. But be warned Chardy lovers, this wine hasn’t seen any oak on the way, so you’re in for a much lighter, off-dry, but intensely fruity and a wee bit spicy sip. Try it with a crispy Flammkuchen straight from the outdoor pizza oven!