LOVEBLOCK, Marlborough & Central Otago

In 2006, Erica & Kim Crawford purchased an untamed block of land on the top of the hills overlooking Marlborough’s Awatere Valley. One of the highest in Marlborough, the vineyard was coaxed into production through organic, biodynamic, and sheer bloodied-minded techniques. This became known as Erica’s ‘Love Block’ – in part for the spectacular view, and in part for the nurturing required to farm it.

The Loveblock farm in the eastern part of Marlborough is comprised of two main vineyard sites: Hillside, and Woolshed & Triangle. Both vineyards are planted to Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris.

Hillside Vineyard, planted by Kim & Erica in 2007, is perched at the very top of New Zealand's South Island, and has been farmed organically since the beginning. It overlooks the Awatere Valley to the south and east, and across the Cook Straight to the northwest, you can see the rolling mountains of the bottom of the North Island. This is Sauvignon Blanc country, with a bit of Pinot Gris, both which ripen with difficulty in the rugged, exposed terrain. This environment ultimately procudes small berries of high aromatic and strcutural concentration.

Woolshed & Triangle Vineyard, planted in 2003, is located at the bottom and just south of Hilltop Vineyard. Here, the grapes are a little more protected from the elements and contribute a more plush, rounded quality to the wine. Its conversion to organics was completed in 2012 and there are also experimental parcels such as Riesling, Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Gris, Gewürztraminer and Pinot Blanc.

The Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris that come from these vineyards are elegant, restrained and wonderfully poised: true expressions of their terroir. Loveblock's Sauvignon Blanc is much less pungent than other Marlborough renditions, and much more interesting as a result.

In 2008, the Crawfords added Pinot Noir to their repertoire with the acquisition of what would become Someone's Darling Vineyard in the Bendigo sub-region of Central Otago. Central's sub-regions are aptly delineated for their varying expressions of the grape, and Bendigo is the warmest (rivaled only by Bannockburn), sitting on the northeastern edge of Lake Dunstan. The climate here ranges from very hot to quite cold, with a long, dry growing season. Someone's Darling is planted to multiple clones of Pinot Noir, and Certified Sustainable. The Loveblock signature is clear in this Pinot Noir as well: an elegant rendition of a fruit-forward wine, and always complex and age-worthy.