Many people ask me: how do you know so much about the wines on your list? Well, let me tell you… there’s been many a late-night chats with James (Tommy’s brother, head of our front of house team and the main man behind our wine list) A late night chat, a small glass of wine to hand, absorbing his knowledge, tasting, and of course, enjoying (it’s a hard life I know). Homework is always carried out too. Trawling the internet not only researching the wines themselves but also gaining insight into the vineyard and the masters behind the wine’s creation. But one thing that we pride ourselves on, here at The Black Swan at Oldstead, is meeting with the producers themselves, inviting them to meet with our team. A gathering to learn from them first hand, tasting the wines they produce. After all, what’s better than hearing the story from the horse’s mouth.
This month we had the pleasure of meeting Chris Seifried from Seifried Wines, Nelson, New Zealand. Family wine growers for over 40 years. Bin number 4 on our wine list here at The Black Swan being their Pinot Gris. This a wine proving to be one most popular with our guests.
Nelson wines are not very common in our supermarkets here in the United Kingdom, the New Zealand section down the ‘wine’ isle being so dominated by wines from Marlborough (I have to say I am one quite partial to a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc). I found out from Chris that Nelson holds only 3% of New Zealand’s wine production with his family vineyard consisting of around 800 acres of land across Nelson. With all that land they are able to produce a diverse range of wines, ranging from (that popular grape variety) Sauvignon Blanc to the more obscure Wurzer, which is an Austrian grape variety. Finding out from Chris that his father is Austrian it was great to see that the family had decided to plant Austrian varieties too, a homage to their family heritage.
Having around 800 acres of land across Nelson can surely be a little troublesome to manage but the family just take it in their stride, seeing the parcels planted as separate vineyards with their own names.
The Clover Road vineyard, making up the majority of this blend, has exceptionally ‘stony free draining soils’, which is very hard on their farm equipment. The large stones however are vital for holding the warmth of the Nelson sun and for ripening the grapes. The unirrigated Redwood Valley vineyard (a smaller part of the blend), by contrast, is situated on a gently sloping, north facing clay site which optimises the heat of the sun. The Pinot Gris vines in this site have root systems going deep into the clay which have been established over the past three decades. Mature grapes which give this wine exceptional character.
Tasting the 2016 Seifried Pinot Gris, we all agreed that it is lush and flavoursome. The nose has pear, fresh peach and soft spice. The palate is broad, with layers of fruit and gently textured phenolics which linger on the finish. The wine really is full flavoured, bringing a unique and complex spectrum. Why not come and enjoy a glass with us?
You can take a look at The Black Swan Oldstead’s wine list here.