Book profiles wine 'heroes' of NZ

21:39, Jan 02 2013
The Wild Bunch

‘Wine is the most exciting subject in the world. Why wouldn't you want to read more, taste more and drink more widely? It's just like this massive plate of candy out there waiting to be enjoyed. It totally rocks my world."

This quote from Lynnette Hudson at Pegasus Bay winery is one of Joelle Thomson's favourites from among the many she gathered during her research for her book, The Wild Bunch: Movers, shakers and ground breakers of the New Zealand wine industry.

The Wild Bunch has many attributes, not the least of which is the choice of those interviewed for the book. As Thomson has said, she admires those with quiet determination. Because they are busy searching for the best way to create great wine, rather than shout about it from the rooftops.

A selection of wines from Osawa Wines

We couldn't agree more. Too often it's a company with a gimmick or touting a fashionable cause that gets all the media attention, when there's a wealth of stories out there - largely untapped for a wide readership until now.

The 18 profiles provide interesting reading.

Each chapter has some occasionally quirky subheadings (making it a great book for dipping in and out of) such as "Take to a desert island". This personal information helps reinforce the fact that the story of wine is a story about people.


As wine is made from grapes grown in a fairly orderly manner - where did the title The Wild Bunch spring from? Thomson told New Zealand Winegrower magazine that most of the people profiled freely admit they like to push boundaries.

This book will have wide appeal. It is a terrific read, made more so because it is about dedicated people who know what it is like to do hard graft. Here we have some of the people who have pushed one of the most exciting industries in New Zealand forward and their background and musings make for a captivating story.

The Wild Bunch: movers, shakers and groundbreakers in the New Zealand wine industry is published by New Holland and retails for $39.99.

Osawa Hawke's Bay Noble Gewurztraminer 2011 ($28)

Gold in the glass with an aroma as close to heaven a gewurztraminer fan is likely to find. The rich marmalade fruitiness, rose petals and honey are just glorious together.

The palate is smooth as silk and mirrors the aroma. Nectar-like with some citrus crispness delivering poise - there's no cloying to the sweetness. There is a creamy toffee apple aftertaste that lingers.

Sacred Hill Halo Hawke's Bay Merlot/Cabernet Franc 2011 ($27.99)

Crimson with flashes of purple - young and very attractive with an aroma of fresh ripe plums, subtle oak and boot polish. There's great balance between the fruit and secondary notes.

The palate is dry, fruity and woody with green herbal notes. The tannins are furry and the acids firm. Grainy cocoa powder notes towards the finish add interest. This wine has length, depth and complexity; one to cellar as time will integrate all those fabulous flavours into an even more rewarding wine.

Te Mania Nelson Syrah 2011 ($21.99)

Crimson with flashes of purple on a black background.

The intense aroma is peppery with old plums, saddlery and meaty notes - there's excellent varietal definition here.

The palate is assertive without being overbearing. Plums, pepper and earth, sit well alongside gentle tannins and sweet, lively dark fruitiness. Pepper, leather and a flick of dark chocolate at the finish complete the picture.

Seresin Momo Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2011 ($19.95)

The aroma is a prickly/tropical blend suggesting weight and integration.

The bright, fruity palate delivers some spicy heat alongside crisp, lively gooseberry, passionfruit and herbaceous flavours. There's good palate weight here and a zingy lingering finish. A fine example at a good price.

Greywacke Marlborough Wild Sauvignon 2010 ($32)

Winemaker Kevin Judd creates a better version of this wine every vintage.

The 2010 is rich and creamy with an intensity that has to be experienced to be truly appreciated.

The creamy stonefruit and gentle oak notes on the aroma are very chardonnay-like. Yet there's some subtle "bite" that gives a nod to the zestfulness of sauvignon blanc.

The palate is soft, full-bodied and complex. Creamy citrus acids and spice complement the integrated flavours - a melange of caramel, marmalade and ripe apple.

There is excellent length and superb texture. This weighty wine delivers an intense and very rewarding finish.

Judd refers to this as his "wild child" sauvignon - it is a wildly exciting wine.

Brown Brothers Patricia Shiraz 2008 ($55.99)

Opaque and deep inky red with an aroma that's rich and ripe. Mulberry/boysenberry notes are laced with oak and some early plum crispness acts as a good foil to the sweeter berryfruit, tobacco and eucalyptus notes.

Smooth as silk across the palate, the soft acids deliver the merest tingle.

Boysenberry and vanilla flavours are abundant, while eucalyptus notes deliver a hint of freshness. Soft, supple with good length and a lingering berryfruit and cream finish.

A magnificent wine - buy to enjoy now.

The Marlborough Express