The Clayvin vineyard has become Marlborough’s ‘Grand Cru’. Established by Mike Eaton and made famous by Fromm, this clay based hillside vineyard in the Southern Valleys was firstly leased by Giesen and then purchased about 4 years ago. Fromm and Te Whare Ra still get fruit from here as well.
This is a wine that has been given the ‘Rolls Royce’ treatment. Around 5 days before harvest grapes, leaves and flowers from the vineyard are collected into a fermenting bucket and sealed, taken to the winery for the yeast to start. The grapes are hand sorted in the vineyard and pressed into the Fuders and the natural yeast added. The wine is then left to its own course with minimal sulphur added and no fining – as natural as they can get.
5 Stars & 96/100 Sam Kim, Wine Orbit, March 2020 (2017 Vintage)
"Immensely complex and engaging, the bouquet shows white flesh nectarine, lemon pith, roasted cashew and vanilla characters with a lovely nuance of gun smoke. It's concentrated and multi-layered on the palate, delivering terrific fruit power together with splendid complexity, finishing magnificently long and expansive. At its best: now to 2030."
Reviews for previous vintages below…
Rated Outstanding & 95/100 Cameron Douglas MS, May 2020 (2016 Vintage)
"Smoky, toasty, cashew nut and baked yellow stone fruit, baking spices and complexity from some bottle-age and excellent pure fruit source. On the palate – silky almost creamy in texture, flavours of white fleshed fruits and citrus, red apple and baking spices with a light toasty wood layer. Medium acidity, call it full-bodied with a focused and lengthy complex finish. Well made and ready to enjoy from today and through 2024++."
5 Stars Yvonne Lorkin, September 2020 (2016 Vintage)
"I didn’t have to even put this superstar chardonnay in my mouth to know that it was going to be one of the greatest chardonnay experiences I’d ever have. The aromas that erupted from the glass were a swoon-inducing smorgasbord of smoky, grilled grapefruit and stonefruits, nutty nougat notes, caramelised, toasty oak and buttered crumpets dusted in cinnamon. If that wasn’t a lot to imagine, strap in because once you do actually get around to sipping this wine, it unleashes all kinds of crazy-gorgeous flavour on the palate. Think punchy, roast peach, popcorn, almond meal, flinty minerality and creamy, rockmelon-like magic. Clayvin is not only New Zealand’s most famous, organic vineyard, it’s also one of the first, close-planted, hillside sites in the country, with a density of 5,300 vines per hectare. To give you some idea of how rare that is, it’s much more common in this country to plant only around 2000 vines per hectare. Matured in 1000-litre oak Fuder’s imported by the Giesen’s for their flagship wines, the oak intensity is smoothed out, softened and sews together beautifully with the fruit concentration. If I were to go Spinal Tap on it, I’d give this 6 stars out of 5."
5 Stars & 95/100 Bob Campbell MW, The Real Review (2016 Vintage)
"Impressively pure, almost luscious chardonnay from the famous hillside Clayvin vineyard. Ripe tree fruit, peach and nectarine flavours with ginger, hazelnut and spicy oak. Surprisingly accessible wine that promises to develop well with bottle age."
5 Stars & 19.0+/20 (96) Candice Chow, Raymond Chan Wine Reviews, January 2021 (2016 Vintage)
"Bright, medium straw-yellow with a light gold hue, slightly lighter on the rim. The bouquet is expressive and full, nuances of toast, roasted nuts are filling the glass, along with stonefruit, citrus, bonfire and minerals. Medium-bodied, the palate is bright and delicate, the aroma of lemon, apricot has a fine core, unveiling hazelnuts, toast and a hint of toffee; soft ginger white spices linger to a long, sustained finish. A light phenolic line added to the silky mouthfeel, supported by a precise acid tension. This is an elegant Chardonnay with precision and fineness, showing subtle positive developments adorn complexity. Match this with roasted guinea fowl and tiger prawns over the next 8+ years. Selectively handpicked, whole bunch pressed, wild yeast starter fermented in 1,000L German fuder to 13.3% alc, rested on lees for 11 months, 100% MLF. BioGro organic certified."
5 Stars Michael Cooper (2015 Vintage)
"Certified organic, the 2015 vintage was hand-harvested from mature vines in the Clayvin Vineyard and fermented and matured in large (1000 litres capacity) German oak fuders. Pale yellow, with a fragrant, highly complex bouquet, it is a powerful, full-bodied wine, with concentrated citrus and stone-fruit flavours, fresh acidity, a minerally streak, gently nutty notes adding complexity, and a real sense of youthful drive and depth. Best drinking 2021+."
18/20 Tim Jackson MW, JancisRobinson.com, July 2019 (2015 Vintage)
"Brancott Valley subregion. North part of Clayvin vineyard, with 20-year-old Mendoza and 95 clones. Six-hour racking after pressing, to German oak foudres for fermentation, using a pied de cuve prepared in the vineyard. Pale-mid lemon-gold. Celery and fennel herb, then broad, subtle nuttiness, spice and earth. Broad and complex. Crisp and appley palate, that is both rich and powerful, and brisk – in a manner not dissimilar to Montrachet. Dense and long."