This week’s staff tasting revolved around our wines from New Zealand. The Kiwi wine scene is a relatively new one of course, but it has quickly become a region of real quality with its wines and winemakers rivalling those at the very top of the pile from around the world. Production has increased too, with the 14 producers of 1997 multiplying to total 82 by 2006.

We’re very proud to list a fantastic portfolio of wines from Archangel in Central Otago. The Archangel Vineyard was established in 2003 by Mary and Janusz Zurakowski, who are the respectively married offspring of two women who shared a compelling wartime story of survival and destiny from their native Poland to the Arkhangel’sk labour camp in Siberia, through Russia, Persia, India, Africa and finally to England. Mary and Janusz’s drive is to honour their mothers through their vineyard and wines. Situated at Queensberry, just north of Lake Dunstan on the road from Cromwell to Wanaka, the Archangel vineyard measures 23 hectares, of which 7.41 are planted to Pinot Noir, 1.54 to Pinot Gris, 1.17 to Chardonnay and just 1.0 to Riesling, totaling 11.12 hectares at present, all managed sustainably and heading towards an organic regime.

Archangel Estate

Archangel Estate

We tasted across the whole range of wines from Archangel and they were showing wonderfully. The Chardonnay 2012 was the star of the show though. The wine has really come into its peak drinking time; distinctive and classy, the nose is broad, full of blossom and honeysuckle followed by a peach abundant palate with vanilla sweet spice. It is truly delicious and would work wonderfully with chicken and pork dishes. Of course, the Riesling ‘Halina’ 2012 and Pinot Gris 2013 are already favourites for many of you and are tasting as good as ever.

Archangel also make cracking Pinot Noir. We list two wines of theirs, Long Trek Pinot Noir 2011 and Archangel Pinot Noir 2010. The Long Trek is effectively the winery’s second wine and only made in selective years. It was delicious –  a spicy red plum palate is balanced with a fresh leafiness that makes the wines really approachable.  The Archangel Pinot Noir 2010 is a wine we’re enormously fond of. From a first-rate vintage, it has even greater concentration and depth than previous years and has huge ageing potential. Drink this between now and 2016 and we’re convinced it will turn into something very special.

Alongside the brilliant range from Archangel, we tasted our Main Divide Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon 2010. Main Divide is owned by the Donaldson family who also own the prestigious Pinot Noir winery, Pegasus Bay. The name ‘Main Divide’ is in fact the local name of the range of Southern Alps which form the backbone of  Te Wai Pounamu (the South Island of New Zealand). The wine is a Kiwi version of a classic Bordeaux blend. Using the traditional Bordeaux grape variety of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, Matthew and  Lynnette also mature the wine in French oak barriques for two years. With a palate of wild blackberries and plums with vanilla and dark chocolate, this is the perfect autumnal food wine – enjoy it with beef and game dishes.

The stars of the tasting the Archangel Chardonnay 2012 and Main Divide Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 are our new Wines of Month. Snap them up now at the special-offer price and enjoy.