Black Estate 2016 Chardonnay, 2015 Cabernet Franc, and Single Vineyard Pinot Noirs

The Naish family are making exciting and contemporary wines in the Waipara Valley. Core to their approach is the distinctiveness of the three estate vineyards they source fruit from. The ‘Home’ vineyard was originally planted in 1994 with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, and more recently to Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc. The soils are sedimentary clay fan. The ‘Damsteep’ vineyard was established in 1999, and Riesling and Pinot Noir are grown. The soil is sandstone and fractured limestone. The ‘Netherwood’ vineyard was planted in 1986 with Pinot Noir and a mass selection of Chardonnay, thought to be Mendoza clone. The soil is mudstone and sandstone. All three sites are farmed organically and biodynamically, the ‘Home’ and ‘Damsteep vineyards since 2010, and the ‘Netherwood’ since 2012, and all sites will be BioGro certified March 2017.

While all of the Black Estate wines show great interest, the Rieslings and Chardonnay are particularly fine, reflecting classical style. However, it is the three single vineyard Pinot Noirs that are especially fascinating. Winemaker Nicholas Brown aims to allow the different terroirs be expressed, and his winemaking inputs are designed to enhance their individuality. The wines join those of a small number of Pinot Noir producers who are highlighting site and terroir, and are thus worthy of serious study and enjoyment when comparing. Here, I review the 2016 ‘Home’ Chardonnay and 2015 ‘Home’ Cabernet Franc, this the first harvest and the wine unsulphured, plus the three 2015 single vineyard Pinot Noirs.


  • Black Estate ‘Home’ North Canterbury Chardonnay 2016
  • Black Estate ‘Home’ North Canterbury Cabernet Franc 2015
  • Black Estate ‘Home’ North Canterbury Pinot Noir 2015
  • Black Estate ‘Damsteep’ North Canterbury Pinot Noir 2015
  • Black Estate ‘Netherwood’ North Canterbury Pinot Noir 2015

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