Call him an ‘aromatic fanatic’. Paul Bourgeois chuckles. “I like the sound of that. I’ll take it.”
Kiwi as they come, despite the name, Paul’s terroir is the Waihopai Valley, where the Johnson family operates one of Marlborough’s few remaining 100% Kiwi family-owned wine companies.
If that name rings a vague bell, the winery is just up the road from the Government Communication Security Bureau’s satellite monitoring station. Hence the ‘Spy Valley’ label.
Traditional pinot noir and sauvignon blanc are bread and butter for Spy Valley and its top-tier label, Envoy. But the winery offers a far broader range than many in the region, including chardonnay, pinot gris, pinot noir rose and syrah. “We’ve planted everything and tried everything and most of them have stuck.”
However, it’s Paul’s fondness – and expertise – with aromatic whites that distinguishes this boutique operation. His riesling has won elite awards here and overseas.
For Paul, it’s the reliability of Marlborough’s weather that offers him the opportunity to do his best work. “The thing about Marlborough is the very consistent weather that allows a great degree of confidence in both the level of production and the quality.
“It allows us to produce consistently high-quality wines, and put a range of flavours into them.
“We make a number of styles with the Spy Valley and the Envoy range, and that allows us … not to experiment, but to play around a little.”
Yes, he agrees, rose has taken off in the past year or two – “We have dedicated more of our plantings to pinot noir than ever” – but in the next few years he believes sauvignon blanc will become more dominant than ever across Marlborough.
“We just hope good karma keeps coming our way.”
Call him an “aromatic fanatic”. Paul Bourgeois chuckles. “I like the sound of that. I’ll take it.”
37 Lake Timara Road, RD6 Blenheim, Marlborough