As far as terroirs go, the Marlborough wine region is pretty special. Which is why Brancott Estate has released a new range of wines celebrating its ‘identity’.
Words Carolyn Enting. Artwork Lisa Lodge
Aptly named Brancott Estate Identity, the range of five new wines have been crafted to capture the individual personalities of the Marlborough region’s most popular varieties – sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, pinot gris, rosé, and pinot noir.
“One of the words most frequently used to describe Marlborough wines is ‘vibrant’,” says Brancott Estate chief winemaker Patrick Materman. “With this range of wines, we set out to really amplify that vibrancy, and to do so in a way that lets the individual personalities of each grape variety shine through.
These wines bring together everything we have learned since we first planted sauvignon blanc and pinot noir in 1975. In that time, we’ve uncovered different pockets of the Marlborough region where particular varieties flourish, and we’ve used that knowledge to create wines that really capture the individual qualities or personalities of each grape variety.”
Brancott Estate has been looking to the future since its beginning, helping found sustainable winemaking in New Zealand. This programme has since transformed into Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand (SWNZ).
The winery and vineyards that make up Brancott Estate won the Biodiversity Award at the Drinks Business Green Awards 2017, in recognition of its local initiatives to both protect and enhance biodiversity. This includes restoration of wetlands, protection and monitoring of creeks, planting of native trees and shrubs to create habitats for birds and wildlife across Marlborough, and wild flower planting to both reduce mowing and provide food for bees.
Some of the initiatives are small things that make a big difference, such as planting certain flowers between the rows of vines to attract beneficial insects that control pests and provide ground cover to prevent weeds coming through.
Since 2010, Brancott Estate has supported the Marlborough Falcon Trust with both financial contributions as well as providing land on which to house their rehabilitation and breeding aviary. The Brancott Estate Cellar Door offers space for the Marlborough Falcon Trust to run flying demonstrations to raise awareness of the preservation of New Zealand’s only endemic bird of prey. At certain times of the year, too, the sheltered pockets of the Awatere Valley vineyard become a winter holiday home for local beekeepers looking for a warm spot for their hives.
The Awatere Valley is the most southern grape-growing region in Marlborough and this small valley, with its long, cool growing season, creates wines with distinctive intense personalities – the Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris from the Identity range all hail from this small but diverse region.
The Identity packaging reflects the wines’ distinctive personalities, with tasting notes hidden within the label.