Sea Level 2014 Rosé, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and 2012 Chenin Blanc

The Nelson wine brand ‘Sea Level’ of the Smail family came into existence ironically with the release of a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc from the 2009 vintage which went on to win gold. It was an auspicious start, especially for Sam Smail who has his full-time job as chief winemaker at Whitehaven. However the home base for the Sea Level wines is a 14 ha site at Mariri, opposite the Kina Peninsula in Nelson. The Smail family planted 8 ha of grapes in 2008 yielding the first Nelson vintage in 2011. Approx. half the vines are Pinot Gris with smaller amounts of Gewurztraminer, clone 95 Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc and Pinot Noir. The vineyard is under the care of viticulturist Dan Manuge who lives on the property. While the Pinot Gris is made at the nearby Anchorage facility to minimise skin contact, the other varieties are made at Whitehaven in Marlborough. Here, I review the current 2014 releases of the Rosé, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and the 2012 Chenin Blanc.


  • Sea Level ‘Home Block’ Nelson Rosé 2014
  • Sea Level ‘Home Block’ Nelson Pinot Gris 2014
  • Sea Level ‘Home Block’ Nelson Chardonnay 2014
  • Sea Level ‘Home Block’ Nelson Chenin Blanc 2012

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