A new Dawn

Methode Marlborough Dinner, Logan Brown, November

Marlborough’s cool nights are the life blood of the region's best bubbles, which a lucky bunch of us had the pleasure of tasting, drinking and enjoying at Logan Brown restaurant in Wellington last month. 

Restaurateur Steve Logan and members of Methode Marlborough (like minded winemakers who produce traditional method sparkling wine) rank among the best hosts when it comes to sparkling wine and its ideal food matches - fresh seafood and a cheeky little dish of duck.

The bubbles from... Methode Marlborough

The wines we tasted (and drank)

2012 Spy Valley Echelon

2014 Saint Clair

2013 Allan Scott Cecilia Blanc de Blanc

No 1 Family estate No 1 Reserve

2009 Johanneshof Cellars Emmi

2012 Daniel le Brun Blanc de Blancs

2015 Tohu Rewa Rosé

2015 Deutz Prestige

2015 Nautilus Rosé

2013 Hunter's Miru Miru Reserve

 

Top drops

All of the wines above rank highly in my books but my tops picks were:

2014 Saint Clair Dawn - 35 months lees' aging adds complexity

2009 Johanneshof Emmi - 7.5 years on lees, 85% Pinot Noir

2015 Tohu Rewa Rosé - dry, 100% Pinot Noir

2015 Deutz Prestige - next level from Marlborough

2015 Nautilus Rosé - 100% Pinot Noir, rich and toasty

2013 Hunter's Miru Miru Reserve - great concentration

 

The story of Dawn

The third and latest vintage of the wine called Dawn was launched at the Logan Brown and Methode Marlborough dinner.

It was first made from the cool 2012 vintage, aged for 35 months on lees before disgorgement, then bottled in time for the 100th birthday of its namesake, Dawn Ibbotson, mother of Neal Ibbotson, who is the founder of Saint Clair Wines in Marlborough.

Dawn Ibbotson pictured with her son, Neal and Dawn bubbles

The making of Dawn

Winemaker Stewart Maclennan says the team at Saint Clair tasted the full spectrum of sparkling wines from Australia, France, Spain and other countries to help steer their collective stylistic direction. From the start, they wanted to give their sparkling wine a long aging time on yeast lees, to maximise its flavour and complexity.

"We tasted a lot of local and global wines and we agreed that 18 to 24 months wasn’t cutting it in too many cases. Too many producers were using dosage (sweetness) as a disguise for underaged wines. 

"We also wanted to think locally, if Marlborough has nothing else, it has the incredible natural acidity needed to produce great sparkling wines and here we are."

Winemaker Stewart Maclennan

* The 2013 Saint Clair Dawn bubbly will be open for tasting at Regional Wines this Saturday 15 December from 1pm to 5pm in store.