Saturday, 16 December 2023 16:25

A family commitment to Marlborough méthode

Written by  Stephanie McIntyre
The launch of No.1 Reine Cuvée Reserve on Global Champagne Day. The launch of No.1 Reine Cuvée Reserve on Global Champagne Day.

When Daniel Le Brun first visited Marlborough in 1978, he was determined it was the Antipodean answer to Champagne.

“I knew the moment I arrived,” says the owner and winemaker at No.1 Family Estate. “The soil, the climate, the aspect. It all felt right.”

He left behind his family and their established vineyards in Champagne, with the vision of crafting his own unique expression of méthode. And during the past 45 years he and his wife Adele – both passionate founding members of Méthode Marlborough – have carved a path for new world méthode traditionnelle producers.

On Global Champagne Day (23 October 2023) the Le Brun family released a new non-vintage méthode named for Daniel’s mother, Reine Vautrelle Le Brun. The No.1 Reine Cuvée Reserve is a tribute to the family’s commitment to producing world class sparkling wine, Daniel says. “I am immensely proud of the No.1 Family Estate team.” The “great job” began with his son Remy Le Brun and his team in the vineyard, who delivered fruit in perfect condition, “a joy for Lee Dobson and the winemaking crew to work with”.

No.1 Reine Cuvée Reserve is a blend of 50% Chardonnay, 43% Pinot Noir and 7% Pinot Meunier and is made using the traditional method, which requires the second fermentation to be carried out in the same bottle the wine is released in. Following the blending of its base wine, Reine spent more than four years on lees before riddling, disgorgement and release.

Daniel planted his first New Zealand vineyard in 1980 and launched his first Marlborough méthode traditionnelle in 1985. “He truly was a pioneer,” says Patricia Miranda-Taylor, sparkling winemaker for Wither Hills. “And he continues to be a leader and mentor for fellow Marlborough sparkling wine producers.”

Daniel and Adele were recognised for their significant contribution to the New Zealand wine industry in 2021, receiving the New Zealand Winegrowers Fellows Award. This year, they were further honoured with the Sir George Fistonich medal, awarded by the New Zealand International Wine Show for services to New Zealand wine.

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