Blackenbrook Family Passions Create ‘Once in a Lifetime’ Wine
It will be an emotional moment for the Schwarzenbach family when a very significant wine is released on the 10th Not
only has their Thomas’s Treasure Dessert Riesling 2008 already been awarded five stars by wine consultant Michael
Cooper, but the single barrel, limited release wine has a family story that will become part of the Blackenbrook legacy
in years to come.
Only 240 small bottles from a total of 309 are being released – the rest will remain as Blackenbrook library stock at
their Tasman winery near Nelson.
Michael Cooper says this wine will be highly sought after.
“This is a very special wine and unusually rare with only 20 cases available. It is very collectible.”
Michael Cooper’s Buyer’s Guide to New Zealand Wines 2014 describes Blackenbrook Thomas’s Treasure Nelson Dessert
Riesling 2008 as:
“The 2008 vintage (*****) is indeed a ‘treasure’ – one of the most striking sweet wines ever produced in New Zealand.
Made from estate-grown, ‘tiny, completely botrytised berries’, harvested at 55 brix, it was matured for three years in a
small (120-litre) acacia barrel from Slovenia. Only 309 bottles were produced – but what a wine! The bouquet is
immediately arresting, with an exceptional intensity of apricot and honey aromas, showing real complexity.
A wine of great beauty, it is oily and sweet, almost syrupy, with honey, apricot and tea flavours, good acid spine and
The story of Thomas’s Treasure began when Blackenbrook owner and winemaker Daniel Schwarzenbach visited a cooperage in
Slovenia and fell in love with this particular small barrel.
When the barrel was being unloaded at the Blackenbrook winery in 2006 – Thomas then aged 3 became firmly attached to it.
“He loved that barrel from the moment he saw it and claimed it as his at once. He’s been a part of this wine right from
the start which is why it seemed right to let him name it.”
Two years later Thomas enthusiastically helped picking the grapes that went into his barrel. In 2012, after lengthy
family discussions, Thomas aged 8, chose the name Thomas’s Treasure.
Daniel says it’s a perfect wine to keep for Thomas for posterity, as it may have an aging potential of more than 20
“This is a once in a lifetime wine. The conditions were less than perfect in 2008 and ample rain just before harvest
caused heavy losses to botrytis. But some of our Riesling developed beautiful “noble rot”, a fungus that dehydrates the
berries and thus concentrates sugar and flavour. We carefully hand-picked the tiny bunches with an amazing 55 Brix or
550g natural sugar per litre of juice.”
The outstanding fruit, combined with the uniqueness of the acacia barrel and the hands-off winemaking resulted in a wine
that we’re immensely proud of. We let natural yeast take care of the fermentation; there were no mechanical movement or
racking, no sulphur or any other additives in the first three years.
“We weren't in any rush to release this wine. It will only get better and it will age gracefully,” says Daniel.
Michael Cooper agrees:
“It’s already been cellared for 5 and a half years and as is the case with sweet wines it should age extremely well. But
buyers don’t have to cellar this though – it’s drinking really well now.”
Blackenbrook Thomas’s Treasure Nelson Dessert Riesling 2008 is retailing at $55 for a 375ml bottle. It is available
directly from Blackenbrook at their website: www.blackenbrook.co.nz