What a wonderful evening that was!
We had the pleasure of hosting Hans & Therese Herzog
at Caviste Newlyns, over two sessions, with a selection of customers and incredible wines. Words really do struggle to give them justice.
On a journey that saw The Herzogs scope out a number of sites around the world, it was Marlborough that kept calling back to Hans as the perfect site to plant his vineyard.
Due to Marlborough's alluvial soils - once an ancient fast-flowing river - and cooler, sunny climate, the region was the perfect choice.
They employ a completely organic and natural philosophy in the vineyard and the winery. When we, and they, say "natural", you must put those more "cidery" style wines to one side. Here, their winemaking results in the purest of fruit flavours. No additions, natural yeasts, as it should be.
The process starts in the organic single vineyard site. Planted with at least 20 different varietals(!) where the utmost care is given to each. For example, at harvest, it takes no more than 10 minutes for the hand-picked fruit to get from the vine to the winery.
We started the evening with the 2015 Hans Herzog ‘Cuvée Therese’ Brut Rosé
( Pinot Noir, Chardonnay). A deep and powerful traditional method sparkling that emphasised the beauty of Pinot-dominant bubbles. Sometimes the red fruit is lightly hinted at, but not here.
From there we moved onto the Sauvignon Blanc "Sur Lie" 2017
and Sauvignon Blanc "Sur Lie" 2019
. As we were told prior to tasting, cast all those thoughts of a "usual" Marlborough Savvy B to one side. This is soft and delicate, none of that bracing acidity and lip-smacking gooseberry here. The wines have both enjoyed a lovely period of aging on the lees, time in oak, and further in bottle to round out those spikes and deliver a rich, complex, and very grown up, Sauvignon Blanc.
The skin contact Pinot Gris, a light pink in the glass, was divine with its additional weight, complexity, and richness. When the wine was first shown, Hans & Therese were aghast to be told that it was "faulty" due to the colour and flavour. How wrong that critic was!
Viognier should be so much more popular than it is (in my opinion - Alex). If only people had the chance to taste to see how layered and juicy the varietal can be. From the aroma alone you can tell this is the epitome of Viognier. Rich without being too heavy; juicy and fresh apricot, peach, honeysuckle, and a touch of cinnamon. Joint top for "Favourite Wine of the Night" alongside the 2017 Sauvignon Blanc.
A Chardonnay that perfectly steps between fruit purity that's been seasoned by a gentle layer of oak. The weight is there, plus melon and citrus, but the faint notes of toast and vanilla compliment without overpowering.
Onto the reds...
Starting off with the most "normal" of the range: 2017 Hans Herzog Pinot Noir
. Gentle, floral, berries, a delicate delight of a New Zealand Pinot. As with many Hans Herzog wines, this leans so much more towards the classical "Old World" pallet than the richer Pinots with higher extraction.
There can't be much of these varietals - Zweigelt & Montepulciano - in New Zealand, and this shows why there should be more!
From the same vintage we showed the 2016 Hans Herzog Zweigelt
and the 2016 Hans Herzog ‘Secret of Marlborough’ Montepulciano
. Both enticing and bewitching in their own ways with nods to the homelands, but distinctly different. The Montepulciano was a revelation to those who hadn't tasted it before. Rich and juicy, cherry and dark chocolate depth. (Probably the Caviste Team's favourite of the reds!)
To finish, we enjoyed the 2015 Hans Herzog ‘Spirit of Marlborough’
Bordeaux blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon. An even split between the three varietals gives the best of all worlds. There's spice and structure, dark fruit and cedar, and a light cigar box.
Both Hans & Therese used a phrase that summed up their ethos so well: "It's not winemaking, it's wine growing".
Hans Herzog wines are an excellent microcosm of Caviste: we've focused on one amazing producer and taken the breadth of the portfolio. Instead of one or two wines, we currently have at least 9 of their wines, with 2 new ones - the Nebbiolo & Tempranillo - on the way shortly.
Thank you Hans & Therese, a pleasure to have you and we all thoroughly enjoyed the evening!