It was 1983 when David Hohnen first discovered the magic of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. As a result he just knew this discovery had to be shared with the rest of the world. It was this sudden ignition of passion for Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc that would instrumental in both the success of the Cloudy Bay brand and essentially help put New Zealand, and our unique style of Sauvignon Blanc, on the world wine map.
With international acclaim, came the attention of international wine brands and as a result Cloudy Bay was acquired by Veuve Clicquot in 2003 and became part of the larger LVMH family in 2010. Cloudy Bay have three colourful vineyards, one in Marlborough and two in Central Otago. A must visit if you are in the area! All vineyards have soils and climates that work side by side producing Cloudy Bay's powerful and characteristic range.
Quality, exceptional wines and attention to detail is what Cloudy Bay lives by. They are also a founding member of Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand. Their Otago vineyards are farmed organically and selected Marlborough vineyards are trialing organic practices to then roll across the rest of their vineyards.
We got together with the lovely Nikolai who's the senior winemaker behind the Cloudy Bay brand. Nikolai joined the Cloudy Bay team in 2020, he believes in finding balance, patience and having good instinct which all in all produces good wine.
We thought we would get to know the brains behind the beautiful wines and dig a little deeper into the world of Cloudy Bay with a Q&A with Nikolai – how he got into winemaking, the successes behind the Cloudy Bay brand and a bit about the exciting new 2022 vintage.
I am from a very rural farming background and felt I needed to find a practical job where I worked less than my parents. Viticulture came up as an option and so I went from there. Gradually my role evolved into winemaking.
Cloudy Bay are inherently focused on quality first above everything else. So very aligned to what I focus on - it was a natural progression.
Cloudy Bay's brand success is related to consistency and a very methodical approach.
Always seafood based, pacific oysters that are fat and juicy are best.
I love the Chardonnay 2020 and 17, Cloudy Bay Chardonnay is very underrated even though we have some impressive vineyards that are world class.
Underneath those classic punchy aromatics, there's a really nice interplay of ripe citrus and subtle stone fruit, the length is seriously impressive, and I highly recommend keeping a couple of bottles aside to taste again in a few years.
Cloudy Bay Website - www.cloudybay.com/en-nz