As you all know, North Canterbury is a place close to our hearts. Our founder and bad ass Kiwi boss – Melanie Brown – spent 5 years there before she moved over to the UK many moons ago. So our shared love for this incredible area is strong!
We got to chatting with Pen and Nicholas from Black Estate about their focus on organic winemaking and the background behind this phenomenal collection of wines. If you missed these chats and are keen to watch, re-watch or browse, then please click here.
But if you would rather read, then let’s get started!
A little background:
Nicholas was a winemaker overseas, with Pen being a lawyer in Amsterdam and the pair meeting in the middle every 6 months. Living in Tuscany for a short while inspired them to hone in on the natural elements, and when the opportunity came up to work with Pen’s parents… well the rest is history!
3 years later, they had finally settled on Black Estate with the cool climate and limestone soils. With vines originally planted by Russell Black (ex-restauranteur) in 1984 the duo played to their strengths, with Nicholas taking over the winemaking process and Pen focusing predominantly on the restaurant side of things.
Starting off with an 8 hectare of land in 2007, the pair wanted to start with a bang – which means organics! After trying and testing different bottles from around the world, this was their preferred choice of wine-growing as Pen states: ‘I loved seeing the balance and the harmony of the land from a previously untrained eye, it’s really amazing to see or vineyards and how much they’ve changed in the past 12 years. It’s so rewarding’
The challenge with any organic and biodynamic vineyard is maintaining ‘vigor’. Each season – due to climate change and other external factors – the vines needed to be stronger and stronger. In spring you can see frost, in December you see flowering with the wettest month of the year, so it’s quite hectic to stay on top of! North Canterbury is really about the brutality of frost and wind, and enduring that within the winemaking process.
North Canterbury Chardonnay – what’s the haps?
Being both balanced and beautiful, North Canterbury Chardonnay is on the rise! As both Pen and Nicholas so perfectly mentioned, if you can get your hands on a bottle of North Canterbury Chardonnay… then do. And lucky for you devoted followers, we have oodles of it available for our New World Wine Warriors. Simply click here
What’s the difference?
As you all know, we go a bit Pinot crazy as we enter into the colder months, I mean can you blame us? With so many options out there, it’s hard to decide between a Central Otago and a Gisborne, but who said you had to choose? We asked Nicholas what he thought the difference was between his bottles of Home Pinot Noir and Home Cabernet Franc, and this is what he said.
Cabernet Franc has been a ‘really surprising and beautiful wine for us’ The 2018 Black Estate Home Cabernet Franc was grown at Home Vineyard in the Omihi subdistrict of Waipara Valley, North Canterbury. We only received a small allocation of 12 bottles, in which only 3 are remaining! So if you want to see what all the fuss is about, then check out this banging bottle here. But let’s chat flavour shall we? Deep ruby bright hue. Pure, forest fruits, black current, underlying earth with autumnal vine leaves and pruning’s. Dense, vibrant and succulent mid pallet from clay with fine emerging minerals. Initially tight and salivating this wine emerges with time in the glass to become fruitful, delicate, and moreish. We would recommend to decant before serving. You can either pop this bottle open now (we don’t blame ya) or leave it brewing away in your wine cellar until 2026.
But what about the Pinot?
With slightly less alcohol content than the Cabernet Franc, the Home Pinot Noir is a real charmer, and for those of you looking to plunge into the world of red wine…well this one is for you! Easy drinking, compelling fresh and complex aromas of wild forest berry’s, wild rose petal, and humid earth. The wine moves down your throat like silk, gradually revealing rich berry fruits, red current, and spice. This is an unfiltered wine with small amounts of sediment. Please allow the bottle to stand and settle before pouring. Again, we recommend decanting to allow maximum expression of aroma and purity of fruit to emerge. Drink now to 2025
What’s next for Black Estate?
The focus now is on quality and tweaking smaller ideas, whilst maintaining the vine health to produce banging wines.
‘We could spend a lifetime now just bringing out the best’ Pen Naish.