Appellation Marlborough Wine comes of age……

February 7, 2020

Early settlers in Marlborough planted vines as early as the 1870s. A small block of Brown Muscat was planted in 1873 by David Herd, but in 1931 his son pulled up the last of the vines, and no others were recorded in the region for the next forty years. Commercial wine-making began in earnest only in 1973 when the first large-scale vineyards were planted by Montana Wines, at the time New Zealand’s largest producer (now Brancott Estate, owned by Pernod Ricard). Meanwhile in 1975 Daniel Le Brun, a Champagne maker, emigrated to New Zealand to begin producing méthode traditionelle in Marlborough. Wineries in the Marlborough region were producing outstanding Sauvignon Blanc by the early 1980s, and in 1985 the Sauvignon Blanc from Cloudy Bay Vineyards finally garnered international attention and critical acclaim for New Zealand wine. Wine writer George Taber recounted in 2006 that Cloudy Bay is “what many people consider to be the world’s best Sauvignon Blanc” and Oz Clarke wrote that New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is “arguably the best in the world.” The suitability of the region and later success of Daniel Le Brun’s sparkling wines were also sufficient to attract significant investment from Champagne producers.

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