The Earthquakes put paid to Jules Taylor making it down here personally for the tasting, but assisted by some of Jules’ video clips and local rep Don McLorinan adding his knowledge, we still did justice to showing off Jules’ very good wines, albeit without the flair and panache that we know Jules would have brought.

After graduating as a Zoologist and “knowing full well it was never going to get me a job”, Jules did a post-graduate degree in winemaking at Lincoln. After spending a few years making wines both in Marlborough and around the world, her move to her own label came in 2000 whilst working for Marlborough Valley Cellars. Making wines for the likes of Kim Crawford and Saint Clair she was asked if she would like to set up her own label. In 2006 she went out on her own, working full-time on her own account from 2008. Much to her eternal surprise, from those ‘humble’ beginnings Jules and husband George Elworthy have turned the brand into an international label and one that is especially much loved throughout New Zealand. Tonight we had an opportunity to taste through the range produced including the new OTQ (On The Quiet) wines – the specially etched bottles are beautiful. We’ve already made the pledge to get Jules back here in person.

Jules Taylor Rosé 2016 $19.99

Made from Merlot, grown in Gisborne with a touch of Pinot Noir. A candy-floss pink colour with quite distinct strawberry, summer fruits on the nose. The palate has a sense of lushness and palate presence. Almost dry with the acidity nicely hidden this is will be enjoyed by many on a warm summers day.

Jules Taylor Pinot Gris 2016 $19.99

Quite a serious, textural, dry style of Pinot Gris. A portion is wild yeast fermented in older barrels with full malo-lactic whilst the balance is cool fermented in stainless steel to give fresh fruitiness. It results in a Pinot Gris with great flavour and balance. There’s plenty to enjoy here, even amongst the Pinot Gris critics.

Jules Taylor Grüner Veltliner 2015 $19.99

Jules has been playing around with this Austrian variety for a while and if this is anything to by, she’s got a real handle on it. This is delicious. Tropical and stonefruits with a hint of Gruner’s pepperiness; dry and with a gorgeous texture.

Jules Taylor Chardonnay 2015 $19.99

Jules doesn’t want her Chardonnay to be in the ‘big and heavy’ category, rather having a more delicate touch with winemaking. Although wild yeast fermented in barrel, this is as Jules describes ” A wine that is fresh and has great fruit flavours that expresses the vineyard without the winemaker’s boots stamping all over it.” It works – chill a bottle and enjoy for those ‘5 o’clock’ drinks.

Jules Taylor Sauvignon Blanc 2016 $19.99

Jules made her name with Sauvignon Blanc and she is, by her own admission, a lover of the variety. And we love her Sauvignon Blanc. Consistently hers is one of the best and certainly one of our best sellers. This 2016 is one of the better ones around with plenty of flavour – although almost bone dry, this has plenty juiciness with ripe citrus, tropical fruits and herb- jalopeno pepper and finishing with a crisp line of minerality.

Jules Taylor OTQ Sauvignon Blanc 2015 $29.99

“Sometimes you get very special grapes which make very special wines. And sometimes, just sometimes, you don’t tell anybody that you’ve got these special grapes and that you’re going to make a very special wine. This was one of those sometimes.
This wine was made on the quiet by Jules, hence the name. She had spotted pockets of fruit in certain vineyards that showed great promise. Combining this with her desire to try something a little different, to challenge the conventional winemaking interpretations of Marlborough’s signature varieties, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir she hid her project in the back of the barrel hall. After quiet months maturing in French oak barrels a very special wine has emerged, as did, after a certain amount of wrestling to the ground, Jules’ secret.” Hand-picked fruit from the Plunkett vineyard and fermented with wild yeasts in old French oak barrels, matured on its lees in barrel for nearly 12 months. Rich and golden this is a gorgeous expression of Sauvignon Blanc.

Jules Taylor Pinot Noir 2015 $29.99

This almost leaps out of the glass with its aroma – dark cherry spice, berry – Wine Spectator describes it as “Fragrant and ebullient”, which is quite apt. The palate is a combination of a really ripe juicy black plum with liquid chocolate. Fruit-filled yet with enough spiced notes and structure to satisfy.

Jules Taylor OTQ Pinot Noir 2015 $39.99

From a single vineyard – Ballochdale Esate high up in the Awatere Valley. A more ‘serious’ expression with dark savoury notes that rumble around the palate. This is a wine that will evolve much more slowly than the Estate Pinot.

Jules Taylor Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc 2014 375ml $26.99

And a decadent way to finish the tasting. A small portion of a vineayrd was set aside for the development of botrytis and in late April Jules was rewarded with a block of sweet raisined grapes. At 222gms/ rs this is very sweet, but the acidity balances that. Nectar indeed.