Monday, 11 December 2023 16:25

Haere Ra 2023: Nelson, Whakatu

Written by  Staff Reporters
Mark and Sophie McGill at Abel. Mark and Sophie McGill at Abel.

Mark McGill, co-founder, grower and maker of Abel Cider and Chardonnay, reflects on the year that was from the boutique and beautiful Moutere block he's grown with his wife Sophie.

The Good

The region was very lucky to get away with what will turn out to be an excellent 2023 vintage. It was a cooler season and the rain in the first half wasn't much fun, but towards the pointy end we were blessed with some of that famous Nelson-Tasman sunshine. Those who respected yields and did the hard yards in the vineyard would've seen some beautifully clean fruit. Chardonnay will again be a standout. It certainly is well suited to our Moutere clay soils, which the team at Neudorf have proven time and time again. There's a fruit purity and intensity we can achieve here with Chardonnay that is unrivalled elsewhere in New Zealand. As a region we need to shout more about it, both locally and internationally. New Zealand Chardonnay is on the rise and there's certainly a seat at the table for our unique expression.

The Bad

Unfortunately for Nelson-Tasman a late frost on 28 October hit a number of vineyards. It appears our region's 'one-in-seven-year frost' is no longer, having had three in five years, so we'll have to steal a few helicopters from over the hill going forward. It's hard to comment on the bad after what happened to our good friends up north this year. The wine industry is no cake walk. There's a lot of blood, sweat and tears that goes into making a bottle of wine, bad weather or good. Those who don't know it and just see wine through rosé tinted glasses (thank you for your custom BTW!) should roll their sleeves up and come spend a week in the vineyard with me - that's an invite.

& The Awesome

Based on 2023 figures, Nelson-Tasman is the 4th largest wine region in New Zealand. Most people wouldn't even know there's a wine industry here as we're dwarfed by the might of Marlborough, love them as we do! Next time you're heading to Golden Bay for a holiday, just veer LEFT of the Coastal Highway and immerse yourself in some Chardonnay from the Moutere clay. Huzzah!

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