What is a single vineyard wine? It is a wine from grapes grown in a single vineyard, as opposed to district, sub-regional, regional, multi-regional (or even transnational) blends. You are paying for geographic specificity – although single ‘block’ wines, from delineated areas within a single vineyard, can offer even greater precision – and more often than not you will be asked to pay more for it.
Producers label a wine ‘single vineyard’ to draw attention to its provenance, although there is no guarantee that a single vineyard wine is superior to a blend of grapes from several highly rated vineyards. Many producers have single vineyard wines priced similarly to their ‘reserve’ (often multi-site) blends.
The majority of single vineyard wines are made by the owner of the site, but some are produced by other wineries, which purchase the grapes, and then make and market a wine under their own label. Almost 70 per cent of the wines entered in this month’s Single Vineyard theme tasting were grown in Central Otago and North Canterbury.
There’s something deeply satisfying about gazing out over land, while savouring the wine of its vineyard. The popularity of single vineyard bottlings has even triggered the emergence of specialist retailers.
Blind River Awatere Valley Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2021 5 stars, $25
Soljans Estate Kumeu Pinot Gris 2021 4.5 stars, $20
Wing & Prayer North Canterbury Riesling 2015 5 stars, $18
Greystone Erin’s Waipara Valley North Canterbury Chardonnay 2020 5 stars, $99
Nautilus Clay Hills Vineyard Marlborough Pinot Noir 2019 5 stars, $70
Quartz Reef Bendigo Central Otago Pinot Noir 2020 5 stars, $50