Quartz Reef releases prestige fizz

The latest NV Quartz Reef Méthode Traditionnelle Brut is a rich, robust sparkler (Photo: Instagram #whitebaitrestaurant)

Central Otago winemaker Quartz Reef has been making some of the country’s best bottle-fermented sparkling wine for more than 20 years. Originally christened “Chauvet” the range included a non-vintage brut, non-vintage rosé and a vintage wine with an increasingly higher percentage of chardonnay (with pinot noir). For the first couple of years, they used grapes grown in Gibbston but the wine has been “pure Bendigo” (according to my tasting records) since 2006 about the time their own vineyard became productive.

Star of the line-up is the first release of 2013 Quartz Reef Méthode Traditionnelle Blanc de Blancs.

The latest NV Quartz Reef Méthode Traditionnelle Brut is a blend of 62% pinot noir and chardonnay. It’s a rich, robust sparkler with an impeccable balance between sweetness and acidity that leaves a pleasantly drying finish. Pinot noir chocolate box characters and subtle yeasty autolysis flavours are evident. Good value at this price. (NZD $33)

I liked the latest release NV Quartz Reef Méthode Traditionnelle Rosé even more. Made from 100% pinot noir with delicate berry, mineral and brioche-like flavours it’s an appealing wine that combines charm and gutsiness. (NZD $39)

Star of the line-up is the first release of 2013 Quartz Reef Méthode Traditionnelle Blanc de Blancs, an absolutely delicious wine that is clearly showing the benefit of lengthy bottle-age. A creamy-textured wine with plenty of weight and flavour, together with a drop-dead silken texture. Sophisticated and distinctive. (NZD $75)

Take care when you open a bottle of Quartz Reef fizz – most of their wines have frothed over, although admittedly I taste them cool rather than chilled to help amplify their flavours. One bottle I opened a few years ago memorably wrote off my laptop when half the bottle gushed into the keyboard.

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