Pyramid Valley ‘Growers’ and ‘Home’ Collection Wines

27-Jun-2017
The Pyramid Valley life and environmentally sensitive wine venture of Mike and Claudia Weersing was established when they purchased their property in the Waikari Valley in North Canterbury in 2000 to make Chardonnay and Pinot Noir on clay-limestone soils. Their respect for the environment and philosophy has led to Pyramid Valley becoming a cult winery and for many an iconic winery. Their adoption of techniques to make the wine as naturally as possible includes biodynamics as the foundation for doing so, and Pyramid Valley is certified Demeter biodynamic.

The ‘Home’ vineyard is small, only 2.2 ha in size and divided into four blocks, two each for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, the vines close-planted at a density of 10-12,000 vines per hectare. The ‘Lion’s Tooth’ and ‘Field of Fire’ Chardonnays and ‘Earth Smoke’ and ‘Angel Flower’ Pinot Noirs are labelled after the common names of the predominant weed species in each block. The Chardonnays employ the use of clay amphora, and both Chardonnay and Pinot Noirs predominantly use seasoned oak as part of the philosophy of maximising natural influences and minimalizing external inputs which may affect the wine expressing their provenance.

Pyramid Valley also has wines under the ‘Growers Collection’, made from fruit from vineyards of friends with like-minded growing philosophies. Pyramid Valley leases portions of these vineyards and apply their own viticultural regimes. The ‘Growers Collection’ has considerably broadened the range of wines in the Pyramid Valley portfolio, providing wines from different varieties and regions. However, the same standards and approaches in the winemaking remain identical to the making of the ‘Home Collection’ wines.

Due to the strong philosophies in the growing and making of the wines, it is fair to say that they do not generally sit with mainstream or conventional wines. This has attracted outstanding acclaim from critics within New Zealand and internationally. But there are others who find the wines very extreme and difficult to come to grips with according to their beliefs and experience. I can only say that with so many positive comments, one must keep an open mind in approaching and drinking them. As I’ve noted before, making the Pyramid Valley wines entails considerable risk taking for the conventional and conservative, but if lateral thinking is a positive trait, then the Pyramid Valley wines can be brilliant. Mike Weersing is assisted by Lynnette Hudson in the winery, and Struan McDuff tends to the viticulture at the ‘Home Block’ at Waikari.

At present, Pyramid Valley is undergoing a sale, with the process not yet finalised. The news is due to be released shortly. In the meantime, it is business as usual at Pyramid Valley. Here, I review a selection of current and new ‘Grower Collection’ and ‘Home Collection’ wines. www.pyramidvalley.co.nz


FEATURED WINES IN THIS REVIEW

  • Pyramid Valley ‘Growers Collection’ ‘Kerner Estate Vineyard’ Marlborough Pinot Blanc 2015
  • Pyramid Valley ‘Growers Collection’ ‘Rose Family Vineyard’ Marlborough Riesling 2015
  • Pyramid Valley ‘Growers Collection’ Pinot Blanc/Pinot Gris/Gewurztraminer Marlborough On Skins 2016
  • Pyramid Valley ‘Growers Collection’ Howell Family Vineyard’ Hawke’s Bay Cabernet Franc 2015
  • Pyramid Valley ‘Lion’s Tooth’ Canterbury Chardonnay 2015
  • Pyramid Valley ‘Field of Fire’ Canterbury Chardonnay 2015
  • Pyramid Valley ‘Earth Smoke’ Canterbury Pinot Noir 2015
  • Pyramid Valley ‘Angel Flower’ Canterbury Pinot Noir 2015

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