Cloudy Bay is second on our list of outstanding pinot noir producers at Made in New Zealand. We were greeted by the efferscevent Kristen Brott.[pullquote]Many people can remember their first taste of Cloudy Bay, they were captivated by the wine. – David Hohnen[/pullquote]
Kristen was kind enough to pour us a taste of their fairly new Te Wahi (“the place”) 2014 Central Otago pinot noir ($72.99). Aromas of black cherries and black raspberries lead to an acid, earthy, leathery palate. This is only the fourth vintage from their Central Otago vineyards. It looks too high-priced for the California market, but we expect lower prices in the future as Senior Winemaker Tim Heath gets more hands-on experience with these grapes.
Founded by David Hohnen in 1985, Cloudy Bay is one of the true pioneers of the New Zealand wine industry. From the winery website:
Established in 1985, Cloudy Bay was one of the first five wine makers to venture into Marlborough. At the time, it was almost an unimaginable place to set-up a vineyard. But Cloudy Bay’s founder – David Hohnen – was convinced of its potential to produce great wine and invested in the best land of the region. Since then, Marlborough has risen to become New Zealand’s leading wine region, as well as one of the finest winemaking locations in the world.
The winery was named after Cloudy Bay, a body of water explorer Captain James Cook came across during his voyage to New Zealand in 1770. His discovery coincided with flooding in the region, which washed large amounts of sediment into the sea. Noticing the water’s opaque appearance, Cook cleverly christened the area Cloudy Bay.
Today, Cloudy Bay not only captures the essence of Marlborough but also embodies New Zealand’s luxury to the world. The luxury of space and time, of intimate moments and nature’s rarest qualities.
And, as is typical of New Zealand wineries, the winemaker and viticulturist have, um, interesting backgrounds. Senior winemaker Tim Heath:
After struggling to decide between a career in a chemistry lab or a kitchen, a rush of blood to the head saw Tim move into the wine industry…”because it looked like too much fun to be considered a ‘real’ job”.
Joining Cloudy Bay in 2005, Tim brought drive and diverse experience to the winery, having spent several years winemaking in South Australia’s Clare and Barossa Valleys as well as the Northern Rhône in France.
As a Senior Winemaker, Tim leads a dynamic team responsible for cultivating and refining the estate’s style.
And viticulturist Jim White:
Like so many in the wine industry, Jim’s career was spurred on by an encounter with the ‘perfect’ bottle of wine. After completing a degree in Agriculture and Viticulture at Melbourne University, Jim worked his way across Australia before realising his destiny lay across the Tasman.
Jim is passionate about venturing amongst the elements and nurturing the vineyards through the endlessly fascinating changes of the seasons. What he loves most, is the fact that no two seasons, or vintages, are ever the same and that each year New Zealand’s unique and special climate presents a new set of challenges. The rewards are abundant with the ability to taste the fruits of his labour many times over, in the vineyard, in the winery, and finally at home at the table with family and friends.
Cloudy Bay has vineyards in two prime viticultural areas and the skills to make it work.