Queen of Tarot
Ashleigh Barrowman wears many wine hats. She works with Dan Gillett at Wine Diamonds in Wellington, a leading retailer and distributor of artisan organic and natural wines in that country. Having cut her teeth working with legends like Patrick Sullivan, Hans Herzog, Vino di Anna, Domaine Labet, Jean-Jacques Morel & Les Bottes Rouges, and after pruning the Wrekin vineyard, she fell in love with the site and wanted to make three distinct single-vineyard, single-varietal wines that truly represented time and place.
Named after a historic English hill, The Wrekin is a sheep and cattle farm in Marlborough’s Southern Valleys. Jan, Andrew and their family moved south in 1998 and began planting Pinot Noir in 2002, on the north-facing slopes of their foothills. Now, merino ewes and forests occupy the vast majority of the steep hillsides, while 30-hectares of rolling slopes form the Wrekin Vineyard. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc are produced by organic (certified Biogro), sustainable and even biodynamic practices. This is part of a sub-region of Marlborough known as the Southern Valleys, generally considered to be the best area for Pinot Noir growing.
The vineyard is one of the highest in the valley; its ancient clay soils overlying greywacke parent rock are significantly different from the loess soils occurring in the lower areas. The elevation, rolling hillside and orientation of the vineyard blocks, which were established on undisturbed soils, also contribute to the unique terroir of this site.
This is part of a sub-region of Marlborough known as the Southern Valleys, generally considered to be the best area for Pinot Noir growing.
2021 is Ashleigh’s first release from this site. The three wines are named after cards in the Tarot deck. We begin with her Chenin. The Queen of Cups rules the emotional realm. She is the woman whose throne is right on the ocean’s edge, and water is typically symbolic of the unconscious and feeling. Her position at the shore indicates that she lies between land and sea, the place where feeling and thought exist. The Queen of Cups acts as a mirror and reflects the depths present in others, so they see themselves in a new light. Most times, the Queen of Cups can also represent the trusted inner voice you have within you. She seems to say that you should take the time to focus on your emotional health before trying to help others. Self-love creates compassion.
The Chenin grapes are hand-picked on two separate occasions to reach optimum ripeness. The first pick was hand-destemmed for 12-hour skin maceration to create texture and body, the second pick was direct pressed. The two picks were wild co-fermented and matured in an old puncheon for one year on gross lees, before racking into stainless tank followed by bottling without fining or filtration and with minimal added sulphites. She describes it as “Somewhere between an apple crumble and lemon meringue pie… there’s fruit, acid, texture and mouthfeel with a long, lingering finish.”
Ashleigh’s Chardonnay is called The Queen of Swords. This Queen is an archetype of an older, wiser feminine intellect. She could be thought of as the most masculine of all of the queens, and may come off as quite stern and emotionless. This card represents the importance of making judgments without relying on emotion alone.
The Queen of Swords beckons you to look at all the facts before making a decision. This queen does have compassion, which is why she has her hand reaching outwards in offering, but she wants to connect to people using an understanding that is intellectual. The grapes are direct-pressed into old barrique, wild fermented and matured in the same vessel. Crisp, bone dry, saline and refreshing. A nod to Ash’s time working with Julien at Domaine Labet in the Jura, the intention was to make a racy Chardonnay with tension and texture.
The High Priestess, the moniker for the Pinot Noir, depicts the archetype of the divine feminine. She is a mediator and represents the duality of nature; she serves as the third pillar between the masculine and feminine, good and evil, negative and positive. She believes that both pillars are equal and there is knowledge to be learned in both worlds. She wears the crown of Isis which can mean that she is a believer of magic. She represents someone that is intuitive, and beginning to open to her or his spirituality. Meditation, prayer and new spiritual work is indicated.
This wine is a true labour of love, inspired by her time working with Jean-Baptiste and Florien at Les Bottes Rouges in the Jura.
The grapes are hand-destemmed and wild fermented in a stainless-steel tank with daily siphoning of the juice over top to keep the cap wet but without heavy extraction. The wine then matures in an old puncheon. As per all the wines, it is bottled without filtration, fining and only minimal sulphites. A light, juicy and delicate Pinot Noir bursting with blueberries and boysenberries. This wine is a true labour of love, inspired by her time working with Jean-Baptiste and Florien at Les Bottes Rouges in the Jura.
We are very excited to augment our selection of New Zealand natural wines with this Tarot-trio.
2021 The Queen of Cups Chenin
2021 The Queen of Swords Chardonnay
2021 The High Priestess Pinot Noir