Spade Oak ‘Vigneron’ Gisborne Viognier 2014

Billed a few years ago as one of the new and exciting varieties for New Zealand, Viognier has lost its lustre with fewer winegrowers, winemakers and wine drinkers interested in it. Plantings nationwide now only number around 125 ha, with Hawke’s Bay having just over 55 ha and Gisborne with just over 30 ha. The 726 tonnes crushed in 2016, is less than that in 2009. There are more of the simpler, uncomplicated, fruit-focussed wines being made, in an effort to attract and not offend the more casual, modern drinker.

However, I believe that winegrowers and producers here should look at the successful classical expressions from the Condrieu region of the Rhone in France, and the well-performing examples from Australia and California. The best wines are truly complex, with careful, but considerable winemaker inputs to build in rich and layered flavours, beautiful textures and sophistication. If this happens, I’m sure that Viognier will see a revival, very much in the way Chardonnay has in the last few years. One of the producers that has remained true to the complex Viognier style is Spade Oak, the label of Steve and Eileen Voysey in Gisborne. I don’t think it is a coincidence that they and James and Annie Millton, also of Gisborne take Viognier seriously. Here, I review the 2014 Spade Oak ‘Vigneron’ Viognier, the first release since the 2010 vintage.


  • Spade Oak ‘Vigneron’ Gisborne Viognier 2014

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