Lauraine Jacobs

Food Writer and Author of Delicious Books

Wines to drink

7 April 2010


If you have ever been to a winery and tasted the wines in their natural setting; surrounded by the vineyard and in the company of the maestros who produced the wine, you will know what I mean when I say you will never really know a wine until you have the full experience. Last night I brought out a bottle of red to match our lamb. I had been saving it for a while; Clos Henri Pinot Noir 2006. It was made in a boutique winery in the Wairau Valley in the Marlborough region of New Zealand.

The Bourgeois family, have two wineries, one old world, the other new world. The Henri Bourgeois winery and cellars dominate the tiny village of Chavignol (pop 130) in Sancerre, France, and this family has been a leader in taking Sauvignon Blanc to the world. The patriarch, Jean Marie Bourgeois, is a man of vision and passion, who scoured the world’s premium wine regions for a site to set up an extension of the family business. He chose a remarkable site in New Zealand with views to the ranges beyond the Wairau Valley. There he planted Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir vines (the wines Henri Bourgeois is famed for in France) on the hillside and valley floor, and now exports fine New Zealand and French wines around the world. He named the family winery in NZ Clos Henri. A small historic chapel was moved onto the site to serve as the cellar door. The first wines were produced in 2003.

I have been to the wineries in both countries, and enjoyed eating with the family in Sancerre and Marlborough. Knowing this family well, I feel the wine is like meeting with a familiar friend when I drink it. The Clos Henri Pinot Noir had rather spicy cherry-like aromas and proved to be a really delicious match with my roasted lamb. I sipped it and was in heaven. But I also love the Clos Henri Sauvignon Blanc, which is made in quite a complex style, with lots of fruity favours and is the sort of refreshing Sauvignon Blanc that will probably be even better when it is a year or two older. I will be seeking out a few more bottles for my cellar.

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