Stokes Fine Wine tasting

The Groucho Club is probably better known as the place to see media movers and shakers but last week one upstairs room was taken over for the Stokes Fine Wine Spring Portfolio tasting. It was a small affair but as we know, bigger is not always better. The standouts, for me, of the tasting were some amazing New Zealand wines.


Auntsfield Vineyard

Auntsfield Winery is the site of the first colonial vineyard and winery established in Marlboro back in 1873. They produced quality wines for 50 years before falling into disuse during the Great Depression. They’ve now been revived by the Cowley family who are busy making some fabulous wines!

I sampled the ’05 Auntsfield Cob Cottage Chardonnay– creamy, fresh fruit, full bodied, nicely balanced.

Their pinot noirs were also excellent Marlboro offerings. The ’06 Hawk Hill  had this lovely savouriness, great minerality with plenty of red berries in the undertow and a bit of spiciness, smooooth….

The ’05 Heritage even better, it had been infused with 100  year old wine that had been found on the estate from the original vineyard. Upfront fruit, ripe raspberries and black cherries and again that lovely hint of wet rocks swirling around.

Rabbit Ranch was another stellar performer. A collective of vineyards in the Central Otago region, they are getting together and making some delicious red and white vinous delights. The ’08 Pinot gris – ripe mandarins, full bodied, citrus aromas and flavours, definitely worth seeking out. Their pinot’s – fabulous!

 ’08 Rabbit Ranch Central Otago P.N. plenty of ripe red fruits, lovely smokiness and silky – a winner. The ’07 Sliding  Hill from Marlboro another fabulous offering, showcasing the best of  Marlboro,smokey, perfumed red fruits, a whiff of autumnal scents on the nose, light bodied but plenty of red fruits. I could have taken them home with me then and there.

There were some other lovelies there as well but I was really bowled over by these NZ wines. Really worth seeking out. These NZ boutique wineries are proving that sauvignon blanc is not the only wine those Kiwis can produce.


  1. Not that I’m impressed a lot, but this is a lot more than I expected for when I stumpled upon a link on Furl telling that the info is quite decent. Thanks.

  2. Sorry to be a pedant but that’s MARLBOROUGH …

    • Darn it! I as hoping nobody would notice that! I only realized my mistake after I published it and didn’t have time for a correction. Ok, people, it’s MARLBOROUGH not Marlboro (like the cig).

  3. When I think of Marlboro, cigarettes come to mind, or maybe the town in MA outside Boston, also spelled Marlborough – both acceptable – don’t know what’s up with that. But wine, not wine. I do like New Zealand wine though, or would it be tho – especially whites – those Sauv Blancs and unoaked Chards with the screwcaps. Your review has put NZ red on my radar. The 100 year old infusion – wow – they can do that? What do they do just mix some old dusty bottles with the new stuff?

    • Hi Ribbie, it’s such a shame that not enough NZ wines get to America. They are really pushing forward in their production of reds as well as branching out into Riesling and Pinot Gris on the white wine side. I went to another NZ tasting last night and had some fabulous pinots and whites, look out for the post in the next week or so. Mt Difficulty is the winery. As far as the 100 year old stuff, yup, that ‘s basically what they did, found some 100 year old wine and blended it in with the newer stuff. If you come across any NZ red, buy it but be warned, it’s not cheap…Cheers!

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