Black Estate Waipara Valley Riesling 2014

The 2014 growing season proved to be a most challenging one for the winegrowers of the Waipara Valley. Less than ideal heat summation, rain and disease pressures all had their impact. Many of the wines from the region were made from fruit picked earlier, and as a consequence the resultant wines are lighter and less rich. One might see these conditions as having an adverse effect, but interestingly, some varieties and styles, such as Sauvignon Blanc and rosé are being increasingly regarded as successful in the district. As time goes on, many wines have put on weight and grown in character.

The Black Estate Rieslings figure among this country’s most interesting for me, with greater flavour and textural qualities from lees (and skin) contact. There is an expression of ‘house style’ which is being explored by some of the world’s leading Riesling winemakers, and Black Estate is in this group. Nicholas Brown of Black Estate adapted his winemaking approach especially for the 2014 vintage with Riesling. Rather than impose a stylistic regime of picking, winemaking and elevage, he allowed the natural expression and balance of the fruit to set the scene. There was a significant amount of botrytis in the fruit he sourced, and the wine incorporates that. He sees this vintage a departure from what he has normally been making, the wine being sweeter, and more expressive of regionality. I review the wine here.


  • Black Estate Waipara Valley Riesling 2014

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