Jurassic Ridge Winery…From Geology to Neurology to Oenology

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Wine Tasting on Waiheke Island

Lance Blumhardt, the owner and winemaker of Jurassic Ridge Winery on Waiheke Island, has quite an interesting story to tell in the world of wine.

He started his adult life as a geologist, obtaining his degree from the Victoria University of Wellington. But Lance went on to become a neurologist, earning his medical degree at the University of Otago while also managing a nearby Wellington wine bar.

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155 million year old greywacke from the Jurassic mountain ridge beneath the vineyard.

Later in his career, when teaching neurology in the UK, Lance would increasingly spend more time in Bordeaux studying the wines and vines. While at a conference in Italy, he met his wife, a fellow neurologist. Lance knew it was inevitable that he would need to have his own vineyard. Today, his wife is a practicing neurologist who commutes to Auckland, while Lance is on the island tending to his grapes and wine.

Greywacke and Waiheke Island’s Geological Origin

It was only natural that a geologist would choose Waiheke Island for his vineyard site. The island is comprised of “greywacke”, (pronounced graywacky) a type of sandstone that dates back 155 million years, and whose Jurassic mountain ridge sits beneath the vineyard.  He aptly named his winery “Jurassic Ridge” as an homage to its geological origin. Greywacke makes up the spine of New Zealand and its Southern Alps.

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The Jurassic Ridge Cellar Door

Lance describes his wine as “handmade all the way”. He produces about 3500 cases of single varietal, single vineyard wine from his estate vineyard, comprised of Montepulciano, Cabernet Franc, Syrah and Pinot Grigio, which are perfectly suited to the warm, dry microclimate of Waiheke Island. He sources his Sauvignon Blanc from the cooler climate Marlborough region. All of his wines are vegan and vegetarian as he uses no animal products in their production.

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New Zealand Red Wines at Jurassic Ridge

Lance ages his wines longer before release than most traditional wineries. He feels that people tend to drink wines too soon after they are released. Although his Syrah Rosé and Pinot Grigio Blush are from the 2011 vintage, his Cabernet Franc and Syrah releases are 2008 and 2009, his Montepulciano is 2009 and his Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc is 2010. I tried these wines as well as the last of his 2006 Cabernet Franc.

While I went there specifically to taste his Cabernet Franc (one of my favorite varietals) I liked his Syrah a bit better, as it resembles the more subtle, medium body style of the Northern Rhône.

But overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the visit to Jurassic Ridge, meeting and spending some time with the fascinating Dr. Blumhardt.

Access to Waiheke Island by ferry is easy and convenient!

 

Jurassic Ridge
144 Church Bay Road
RD1 Oneroa
Waiheke Island
New Zealand
Phone: (0064) (9) 950 3175
Fax: (0064) (9) 372 6602
Mobile: (0064) 21 1 888 638

http://www.jurassicridge.co.nz/

Until next time…

Cheers!

©2014 Christine Humphrey

 

 

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