Steve Voysey first started making wine in Marlborough with Montana in 1987 when, as he recalls, they crushed just 87 tons of Sauvignon Blanc. Three years later he was offered the job as Montana’s chief winemaker in Gisborne. Expecting to stay just 3 years, Steve is still there and still making wine at the winery – now operated by Indevin – under contract. He is justly proud of his achievements at Montana, creating wines such as the Montana “O” Chardonnay and “P” Gewurztraminer. Establishing his own vineyard in the early 1990s and supplying the fruit to Montana, Steve started trialling varieties that what he describes as “unlocking the region’s potential, creating wines of quality from a some say brave and eclectic selection of new and classic varieties.” The Voyseys were able to realise this vision with their own label in 2007. Tonight Steve presented wines from across the spectrum making for a varied and very interesting tasting line-up.

Spade Oak Le Champ NV $24.99

Produced for “fun and enjoyment”. Considering Steve’s past involvement with making Lindauer, it is no surprise he produces his own bubbly. Made from Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Muscat grapes using the Charmat method. This is light, fresh and easy drinking in a “Prosecco” style. Steve has planted Glera grapes and we will see a Prosecco from Voysey at some stage in the future.

Spade Oak Heart of Gold Albarino 2015 $20.99

This is produced in the Spanish style – crisp, fresh and fruit driven. Hand harvested fruit, whole bunch pressed to give gentle fruit extraction and to preserve the fresh ‘boxwood’, citrus and yellow stone fruit flavours.

Spade Oak Voysey Chardonnay 2014 $17.99

Steve produces three Chardonnays and this is the easy drinking style. Again, all hand harvested fruit, wild yeast ferment with partial barrel fermentation. The result is a soft creamy style – plenty of crème caramel, peach/fruit salad flavours.

Spade Oak Vigneron Chardonnay 2015 $28.99

A much richer fuller style of Chardonnay and very reminiscent of the old Montana “O” style. Produced entirely from Mendoza clone fruit, given full malolatic and fermentation and aging for 10 months in 25% new oak. Steve is not a fan of the reductive smokey styles preferring more fruit expression and nutty complexity. This is what I describe as a ‘golden fruit biscuits’ expression – rich and full with ripe peach, buttered corn, sweet pastry flavours with plenty of palate drive.

Spade Oak Vigneron Viognier 2014 $28.99

Steve makes this just like a Chardonnay. 2014 gave beautifully ripe fruit which was naturally fermented and aged in older French oak. A rich golden colour and wafts of apple crumble, apricot and floral spicy notes. This is an excellent Viognier that is an exemplar for the variety in New Zealand. Voted the wine of the night.

Spade Oak Petit Manseng “Orange” 2015 375ml $27.99

An intriguing variety that comes from the Jura region of France. With its naturally high acidity it is often made in a sweeter style, which Steve has done previously. With this 2015 Steve decided to have a play with a natural orange  wine style. Picked very ripe at 30 brix this was fermented on skins for 288 days (Steve was hoping for a year!), and then aged for a further year to reduce the phenolics with 15.5% alc and 2 gms rs.  Tawny colour and on the nose there is quite a lot of nutty/rancio (think dry sherry) characters, but then on the palate the wine reveals orange peel, tea leaf, light caramel, nuts and racy acidity with a pithy texture. Steve says this works really well with Pork belly.

Spade Oak Heart of Gold St Laurent 2013 $20.99

St Laurent is the main red wine variety in the Czech Republic and also widely planted in Austria and Canada. Its DNA relates it to Pinot Noir and the similarities are quite obvious. Steve got the cuttings from Judge Rock in Central Otago and thought that it may do well in Gisborne as it is a variety that doesn’t seem to over-ripen. Seems he was right in his choice and this works well and the addition of 5% Syrah also works. A dark colour with floral, raspberry fruit flavours and velvety tannins. There is a little ‘tart spiced fruit’ character, and this adds to its appeal.

Spade Oak Heart of Gold Tempranillo 2013 $20.99

Another of Steve’s ‘projects’. Although early days in NZ a number of producers are playing around with this Spanish variety from Waiheke to Central Otago with good results. Steve’s rendition is probably more “Spanish” than others. A first pick selection is made into Rose whilst the rest is left on the vine to fully ripen.  This, in addition to 15 months in oak gives a deep, earthy, black fruit character to wine. There is a meaty, tobacco character here and a suppleness on the palate.

Spade Oak Vigneron Syrah 2012 $28.99

Gisborne’s warm climate allows a long ripening season for the Syrah. It also allows Viognier to ripen fully and Steve in the Northern Rhone style adds up to 10% Viognier to the Syrah. He picks the Viognier really ripe and co-ferments with the Syrah. This is one smooth wine. Being 5 years old has allowed development and integration. Black fruits, violets, spice and light pepperiness. A very close second favourite wine of the night, but the one we sold most of.