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Iconic Clayvin Vineyard new lease on life from Giesen - 97/100 Pinot Noir & Chardonnay

26 May 2015|Cellar Journal

Giesen Clayvin Vineyard


For so long the leading name in Marlborough wine, Fromm's global reputation has always been inextricably linked with the quality of the iconic Clayvin Vineyard.

So it came as a surprise to hear the Giesen brothers had taken the next step in their burgeoning fine wine program and signed a long-term lease to manage the famous vineyard and take the lion's share of the grapes.

So with the owners' blessing, Marcel Giesen and his vineyard team set about making significant investments and improvements to the 20-year-old vineyard and plotting a course for the next 20 years.

The results have been nothing short of miraculous, both for Giesen and those producers like Fromm who continue to make small amounts of great wine off there. Giesen now release Clayvin wines across all 3 grapes in production - Pinot Noir, Syrah and Chardonnay - and every serious NZ wine lover should have them at the top of their shopping list.

Giesen Fuder Clayvin Chardonnay is the 3rd release we've tasted and each one has been better than the last. This 2013 is simply majestic, one of the finest Chardonnays we've ever had the pleasure to try from NZ.

Marcel Giesen personally oversees the Clayvin project, with the primary winemaking duties fulfilled by Andrew Blake. Marcel happens to be too busy making what Robert Parker's Wine Advocate believes are NZ's best Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, Bell Hill. The Clayvin vines are much older though and the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are right up there in quality with the Bell Hill wines. And at around half the price, we feel they represent serious value for the fine wine drinker.

With whopping scores from Bob Campbell in the high-90s for both the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, and the Syrah yet to be tasted by the critics, Cellar Journal readers would do well to get in at the ground floor with Giesen's Clayvin wines.

Giesen founding winemaker Marcel Giesen has brought his Bell Hill experience to bear on this iconic vineyard…and the results are nothing short of phenomenal!

Great wines can only be made in great vineyards - and these 3 astonishing wines show a new direction for arguably NZ's most famous vineyard.

Giesen The Fuder Clayvin Chardonnay 2013

Giesen The Fuder Clayvin Chardonnay 2013

This incredible Chardonnay gets better each year - this 2013 looks destined to be an all-time NZ classic!

Served by the glass at Tony Stewart's Clooney Restaurant!

97/100 - Fine Wine Delivery Co
5 Stars - Bob Campbell MW
5 Stars - Michael Cooper

The moment you nose this wine, its transcendent quality is unmistakable. From the famous clay-rich terroir that has given rise to so many great Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs over the last 20 years, the charmed 2013 vintage looks to be one for the ages. Matured in 1000-litre oak Fuders imported specifically by the Giesens, the oak flavour pick up is minimal while conferring the benefits of greater surface to wine ratio.

SMELLS: A hint of smoke, nougat, toast, grilled peach, nectarine, brioche and spicy oak.

TASTES: Gorgeously rich, mealy and layered, with hints of flinty mineral textures, stonefruit, citrus, toast and cream. The sheer layers of flavours and persistence on the palate tells you this is something very special indeed - expect this wine to make waves both nationally and internationally. We'd recommend enjoying it with a feed of lobster or a herb roast chicken, and watching its evolution from young star to old legend through to 2025.


Giesen Single Vineyard Selection Clayvin Syrah 2011

Giesen Single Vineyard Selection Clayvin Syrah 2011

First ever release under this label - an auspicious debut! We had the privilege of being the first to taste it…

5 Stars - Winestate
94/100 - Fine Wine Delivery Co

The first ever release under this label, those who think Marlborough is a foolhardy place to grow Syrah should reconsider their views over a glass of this glorious nectar! Perfectly ripened on the hillside slopes of the famous Clayvin Vineyard, it's from the same vintage as the Giesen Brothers Syrah that won Marlborough's first ever Champion Trophy for the grape. Safe to say this Clayvin wine is even better than that, with a level of complexity seldom seen in NZ Syrah.

SMELLS: A haunting nose of cloves, cinnamon, leather, roses, blackberry, liquorice and toast.

TASTES: Fulsome and slippery in the mouth with a real warmth of fruit, contrasting with its fresh, spicy, peppery coolness giving a wonderful drinkability to go with the length and structure. Spicy, nuanced and long, this wine will be a perfect match for venison or wild pork between now and 2022.


Giesen Single Vineyard Selection Clayvin Pinot Noir 2012

Giesen Single Vineyard Selection 'Clayvin' Pinot Noir 2012

From NZ's first Grand Cru contender, Clayvin!

97/100 - Bob Campbell MW, Gourmet Traveller Wine
5 Stars - Winestate
Gold Medal - Decanter World Wine Awards
94/100 - James Suckling

After many years of great wines under the Fromm label, to label wines Clayvin puts you under intense scrutiny from the nation's (and the world's) wine media. Fortunately the Giesen winemaking team are equal to the task, preserving the character of this famous vineyard in this 2012 vintage.

SMELLS: English rose, leather, red cherry and summer plum, with some herbal freshness from a small whole bunch component.

TASTES: Ripe berry flavours with cedary oak influence and a creamy. toasty texture. Gorgeous fine tannins but the structure to age well through to 2020+

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