Top wines for Easter Print

altBWS finds the pick of the bunch for a festive occasion.

After 13 generations of making Champagne, Daniel Le Brun’s family name is synonymous with the production of fine, sparkling wines.

At his company, No.1 Family Estate, Daniel Le Brun uses only specialised equipment imported from Champagne to continue the ritual of hand-crafting superb Methode Traditionelle. Established in 1999 in Marlborough’s beautiful Wairau Valley, Daniel focuses on six very special wines; the rich and creamy Cuvée No 1, a non-vintage blanc de blancs made from 100% Chardonnay, Cuvée Number 8, a non-vintage blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, No 1 Rosé, a delicate rosé made from 100% Pinot Noir, Reserve Cuvée No 10, Cuvée Virginie – named after their daughter – and Cuvée Remy – named after their son – the latter three all limited edition wines and only made in the finest of years.

With numerous awards and trophies for his wines over the 30 years since coming to Marlborough, Daniel continues to achieve the utmost in quality, year in, year out.

No. 1 Family Estate is exactly as the name suggests – a family business comprising Daniel and his wife Adele together with their daughter, Virginie and son, Remy.

A labour of love, the Le Brun family excel at their passion for producing some of the best sparkling wines in New Zealand.

altPol Roger

Pol Roger is one of the few remaining great family-owned Champagne Houses and a personal favourite of Sir Winston Churchill. Epernay is the heart of Champagne and at the heart of Epernay is Pol Roger, with its cellars running under the Avenue de Champagne. Pol Roger Champagne has a soul, created by the union of a family’s spirit and the character of a vineyard. The purity and nobility of Pol Roger Champagne is also the fruit of the knowhow, passed down from generation to generation. From the harvest in the region’s best vineyards to the painstaking work in the cellar, each step has importance.

The firm has an unwavering dedication to two essential values: excellence and independence. Excellence means the rigorous selection of vine growers and the strict selection of the grapes. It also means that the family in complete independence chooses the blends which give birth to the wines. Excellence and independence are closely linked. One guarantees the continuing existence of the other.

All of this is revealed in the ability to reproduce each year a blend which is consistent in style and in quality, to compose that subtle bouquet of aromas, that unique mix of complexity and balance, of freshness and distinction which is at the origin of Pol Roger.

Piper Heidsieck

The Piper Heidsieck brand is internationally renowned and rewarded with countless medals, with a long history and a touch of glamour and elegance since 1785. The winemakers and their team have received the coveted “Winemaker of the Year” distinction from the International Wine Challenge on 11 occasions.

The wines of Piper Heidsieck are radiant and crisp. Regis Camus, Piper Heidsieck’s winemaker, has raised the wines of Piper-Heidsieck to a new level of excellence, led by

a strong belief in consistency of quality. Regis has chosen to use a majority of carefully selected Pinot Noir, to bring crispness and radiance to the range of medal and trophy winning wines. The Piper style has freshness, vivacity and fruit. The Piper Heidsieck wines have charm and drive but also structure and precision. Over the last 220 years the spirit of the House has evolved without really changing. The wines are easy to approach and offer sophisticated simplicity.

Henkell Trocken

Founded in 1856, Henkell Trocken is an absolute exception in the German and international markets for sparkling wine. For over 150 years, the brand Henkell has stood for the cultured enjoyment of dry sparkling wine. Henkell Trocken combines sparkling wine competence, elegance and class like no other in an independent and inimitable way, making it the ideal sparkling wine for stylish celebrations.

Henkell Trocken is a top-quality brand presenting itself on the market with verve. Thanks to the superior quality of the Henkell Trocken brand, you have the assurance of experiencing the same, perfect taste every time. The taste is fresh, lively, with a subtle fragrant suggestion of tropical fruit on the bouquet.

Henkell can also be enjoyed on ice, or in delightfully tasty cocktails. The finely blended, harmonious composition makes Henkell Trocken a well balanced taste experience. Henkell is enjoyed in over 70 countries across the globe, making it the largest exported sparkling wine from Germany and the epitome of sophisticated German sparkling wine culture.

Freixenet

Freixenet (pronounced Fresh - a - net) was founded by Pedro Ferrer in 1889 and is the largest producer of sparkling wine in the world. At the same time Freixenet are the leaders in the field of Cava production. Cava is the Latin name for cave and this is where the sparkling wines from Freixenet mature. There are over 150 million bottles of Freixenet maturing in 20km of Limestone caves in Penedes near Barcelona in Spain. High quality, but much less expensive than Champagne, Freixenet is produced in the same painstaking manner. Just like French Champagne all the grapes are handpicked and gently pressed to produce a high quality, delicious sparkling wine. Over more than 30 years Freixenet has undergone a remarkable international expansion, due in part to the great success of its best selling label, Cordon Negro, which was launched in 1974 and is packaged in a specially ground, distinctive black bottle.

altMission Estate

Mission Estate Winery is the birthplace of New Zealand wine.

“Established in 1851 by pioneering French missionaries, we have been crafting wine for 160 years,” says brand manager Vanessa McMahon.

As one of New Zealand’s most experienced winemakers, Paul Mooney has been at Mission for over 30 years. Mooney’s winemaking philosophies are heavily influenced by his mentor, Brother John, who trained in Bordeaux during the 1960s. The winemaking approach at Mission is a blend of traditional old world practice with the latest in research and technology. The focus is on developing elegant, food friendly wines of superior structure and texture. Precision viticultural techniques are implemented on all Mission vineyards, with canopy sensors and GPS technology used to identify quality zones for specific wine styles. Attention to detail is seen as the difference between making good wine and making great wine. Mission is ISO14001 accredited and has been benchmarked as one of the most energy-efficient wineries in New Zealand.

The winery is also a major tourist destination. Nestled in the Taradale Hills, visitors can enjoy sweeping views of Napier city and the coast beyond. The cellar door encourages visitors to taste the extensive range of wines or take a tour of the historic complex and the fine dining Mission Restaurant has a reputation as one of New Zealand’s best.

Soljans Estate

Few NZ wineries can claim to have a prouder winemaking heritage than Soljans Estate Wines. The Soljans family name has been synonymous with winemaking in New Zealand since 1937 and this year marks the company’s 75th anniversary.

In 2002 Soljans Estate moved from Lincoln Road to the present site in Kumeu. Today, Soljans is a stunning establishment on State Highway 16 and is the proud gateway to Kumeu Wine Country – Auckland’s heritage wine trail. Amongst other community events each Easter long-weekend Soljans hosts Berba the traditional Croatian Harvest Festival.

In 2011 Soljans was awarded the mid-size business category of the Westpac Auckland West Business Awards. In declaring Soljans Estate Winery and Café the winner the judges commended Soljans management team, the attractive appearance of the venue and the diversification of the services offered.

The quality of Soljans cafe was also recognised in 2011 when Soljans in Kumeu was chosen as one of the 20 best winery restaurants in the world by the Canadian Wine Access magazine. Each restaurant had to offer not just outstanding wines, but also wonderful meals, service and ambience – the sort of place you’d go back to again and again.

Soljans range of award-winning wines including the outstanding and well recognised Fusion Sparkling Muscat can be found in select wineshops and restaurants and of course at the spacious cellar door.

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