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Coopers Creek – A Plethora of Wine Interest

By May 8, 2012No Comments

Taking stock of what Coopers Creek is up to is a task, with the company’s multitude of labels and releases. When one visits the tasting room, it is easy to see how the growth of the company has overtaken the space as there are bottles of all sorts displayed and stored everywhere. Good job the experienced cellar door staff know exactly where everything is!

The winery is the same, but being aware of winemaker Simon Nunn’s fastidiousness, I feel more than confident that everything is in its place. Simon’s right hand man Nigel Wright is equally tidy, being an accountant in his former life, so organisation and detail are the order of the day in the winery. Coopers Creek processes anything from 1,000 to 2,000 tonnes annually, an amount that’s large enough in itself, but it’s the number of batches and limited production lots that makes it a challenge. Calling in on Simon and Nigel to visit, they were expecting just one more day of fruit to come in, and the threat of inclement weather was no longer an issue. The impression is quality from the South Island, more difficult times in the North Island for Coopers Creek. C’est la vie…

There’s an air of approaching everything in a workman like fashion, but it is professionalism, practicality and judgement. It clearly works well, as the wines that are flowing from Coopers Creek are at the forefront of the New Zealand wine scene. The wines in many ways reflect the openness to innovation that owner Andrew Hendry, viticulturist Wayne Morrow and the winemaking team share. There’s clearly many ideas being explored, and the relevance to the market in innovation as well as realistic pricing is being met by the wines being produced. Managing it all and putting it into bottle shows that Simon Nunns is a man at the top of his game. Over the last decade, Simon has become one of the stars and stalwarts of the New Zealand wine industry. His track record of top wines in enviable. His wine judging abilities has seen him in senior roles in this specialised work. And he’s a mean road cyclist, clocking up hundreds of kilometres every week!
 
A Tasting with Some Interesting Wines
Simon offered the whole range of Coopers Creek from which we could choose to taste, but we decided on a few ‘more interesting’ wines. Firstly a Coopers Creek ‘SV- The Groover’ Gisborne Gruner Veltliner 2010. Distinctive and ripe yellow stonefruits are the feature, and this has developed attractively rounded textures with some weight. It appears this variety has the ability to age. Simon’s experience with many examples and research indicates the best wines can compare with top white burgundy.

The Coopers Creek ‘Cee Vee’ Gisborne 2010 was my pick to look at, as it had performed well in Cuisine magazine’s recent tasting. Approx. 70% Chardonnay and 30% Viognier, this displayed opulent Viognier exotics and the fulsome, broader structure of Gisborne Chardonnay. A sure crowd-pleasure and easy to see how it pleased the judges too. This was paired with a Coopers Creek Gisborne Viognier 2010. Clear-cut varietal expression, quite a complete wine in its palate presence and flow. Wonderfully fine in texture, yet with fresh acidity. Simon recounted his thoughts as aired in Cuisine how phenolic management was the key to making successful and balanced Viognier wines.

An interesting comparison of Malbec wines followed. Firstly the Coopers Creek ‘SV- The Exile’ Gisborne Malbec 2010, rich with masses of juicy black plums and berry fruits, plush but with good texture and sufficient grip to prevent any flabbiness. Delicious stuff. Then a Coopers Creek ‘SV – Saint John’ Hawke’s Bay Malbec 2010, more Bordeaux-like in structure, the tannins featuring more, and the fruit more savoury and complex. A little more refined and ageworthy.

We wished we had all day to explore far more wines, but time was calling us to head back to town, and vats full of wine were calling Simon back to work. We’ll need to book in a whole day next time. www.cooperscreek.co.nz

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