Sweet Win for Giesen Wines Completes the Hat Trick
9 October 2014 – For the third consecutive vintage, Giesen Wines’ Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc has tantalised the palettes of wine
The Brothers Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc 2013 has just won the Dessert Trophy at the Six Nations Wine Challenge in
Sydney. All three Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc vintages have attracted multiple awards since the style debuted in 2011.
Marcel Giesen says Giesen Wines first began producing its sweet botrytised wines in 1985, with a Gewurztraminer, later
changing to a botrytised Riesling that won Champion of the Show in 1990 at the Royal Easter Show.
“We subsequently decided that we wanted to showcase Sauvignon Blanc in this style. It’s a high acid grape variety that
lends itself well to the sweeter style. Sauvignon Blanc is the cornerstone of our business and we want to use the grapes
in another fashion.”
Grapes for the 2013 vintage were sourced from two Giesen vineyards, Alma Street and Matthews Lane, located in the heart
of Marlborough’s highly regarded Wairau Valley.
“The vines were netted to protect the fruit from birds, allowing the grapes to hang and mature on the vine. Early
weather conditions did not easily support botrytis, but a warmer finish to the harvest allowed fruit to hang on the
vine, so that the botrytis could dry up, concentrating the flavour and sugars within the grapes.”
The fully botrytised fruit was handpicked in June and then crushed by foot before being basket pressed over a period of
a week to extract the treacle like juice.
Marcel says sweet wines will always have a niche in the market.
“They can’t be produced every season so that makes them wonderfully special. You have to wait for nature and the
conditions are not always right.”
He says an attraction of sweet styles is their ageing ability.
“In the past people have often cellared a vintage port to mark the birth of a child and to open 21 years later. Now
there’s a trend towards sweet styles for this because they age so well and New Zealand sweet wines are terrific value
Sweet wines are always popular to accompany dessert but Marcel says they are also good as an aperitif with pate or blue
cheese at the start of a meal, in the way the French drink Sauterne.
“But there’s nothing hard and fast. The rules have relaxed. It’s about enjoying the wine whether it be at the start or
end of the meal.”
Giesen Wines is one of the largest producers of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc in New Zealand. Styles include its classic
fresh Giesen Estate Sauvignon Blanc, organic, low alcohol, the traditional fermented The August Sauvignon Blanc, and
single vineyard German oak aged The Fuder wines.