Gold Medal – NZ Organic Wine Awards 2022
Winery notes (2020 Vintage)
"Like its fellow Loire grape sauvignon blanc, chenin blanc flourishes in our climate. In my youth as a winemaker, most chenin blanc was used as a high acid blending variety for cask wine. Some makers understood its strengths and treated it properly. For the few passionate chenin blanc winemakers in New Zealand, it can be a rewarding varietal and produce very serious, elegant and ageworthy wine.
The Astrolabe Wrekin Chenin Blanc is made from grapes grown on a loess clay slope. We hand pick the grapes to give a delicacy to the phenolics. The chenin blanc is partially barrel fermented with wild yeast for complexity, with the remainder in stainless steel to preserve the fruit flavours. All fruit is free-run to retain purity. I love the chenin grape because of its distinct flavour profile, the crisp acidity and the ability of the wine to age with interest and grace.
On the nose green apple and honeysuckle, with lemon honey and a little vanilla from the oak. The palate is medium-bodied, with a focused, mineral length and flavours of crisp apple, lemon and peach."
Rated Outstanding & 95/100 Cameron Douglas MS, April 2022 (2020 Vintage)
"Aromas of apples and pears, wet wool mineral and a lifted fragrant floral quality. Youthful, fine and pure. On the palate – intense, youthful, crisp and just dry. Flavours mirror the bouquet with baked apple and pear, a plush silky texture and back bone of acidity. A mineral layer adds complexity and depth to an already impressive tasting wine. Delicious, drinkable today and through 2040+."
5 Stars Michael Cooper (2020 Vintage)
"Certified organic, the fragrant, energetic 2020 vintage is a single-vineyard wine, hand-harvested in the Southern Valleys and fermented in a mix of stainless steel tanks and old oak barrels. Still very youthful, it is mouthfilling, with concentrated, peachy, slightly spicy flavours, showing good complexity, and a crisp, fully dry (1 gram/litre of residual sugar), long finish. Best drinking 2024+."
Reviews for previous vintages below…
94/100 Bob Campbell MW, The Real Review, August 2020 (2018 Vintage)
"Fermented by indigenous yeasts in oak puncheons. Dry, crisply refreshing chenin blanc with green apple, lime, citrus, saline and oyster-shell flavours supported by attractive, lively acidity. Good now but should age well."
4 Stars Yvonne Lorkin, August 2021 (2018 Vintage)
"Simon Waghorn and his wife Jane Forrest-Waghorn set up Astrolabe in Marlborough back in 1996 after years of making wine in Australia and Gisborne. I love that they’ve taken a leap and planted chenin blanc because it produces an apple and honeysuckle-scented dry white wine that’s rarely seen in NZ. The 2018 is delicate, fresh and feisty, packed with yellow apple, pear and peach notes. It’s gorgeous with creamy, savoury foods, so I’m thinking smoked fish pie for sure."
Joelle Thomson, March 2020 (2018 Vintage)
"Wrekin Vineyard is a gently sloping, north facing, organically certified slice of wine real estate in Marlborough’s southern valleys. It’s named after an historic English hill and it’s home to the Chenin Blanc grapes that go into this crisp, refreshing, dry, zesty white. It has less than 2 grams per litre of residual sugar (making it bone dry) and it’s medium to full bodied, thanks to being made from hand harvested, whole cluster pressed grapes, which were fermented on lees, with about 30-40 per cent of the barrel ferment in old barrels. Winemaker Simon Waghorn is still on the fence about the use of barrels in Chenin Blanc since he loves the tight focussed purity of fruit that characterises the Chenin grape, but what can I say? I am a long term fan of this wine for good reason – it’s a stunner, thanks to its fresh vibrancy, barrel or not."