"No. 1 Family Estate ‘Cuvee Virginie’ Marlborough Methode Traditionelle 2009 ★★★★★ Bright, light straw-yellow colour with slight golden hues and some depth, paler edged, the bead gently persistent with moderately fine bubbles. The bouquet is fine in concentration with tightly bound and intensely deep aromas of white stonefruits, citrus fruits and white florals, melded with a core of nutty and bready autolysis and nuances of toast. The nose is one of finesse and purity, balanced with subtle complexing detail. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate is vibrant, lively and refreshingly mouthwatering with vigorous effervescence and mousse along with bright, cutting acidity. This has a firm core of white stonefruits and white florals packed with bready and nutty autolysis. The mouthfeel exudes purity, drive and elegant linearity, carrying the wine to a very long and sustained finish unfolding florals and bread. This is a tightly concentrated, refined and pure methode based on Chardonnay with white stonefruits, florals, refreshing cut and vitality, complexed by bread, yeast and nutty autolysis, and toasty complexities. Truly a feminine expression. Serve as an aperitif, with canapes and with fine white meat dishes over the next 3-4 years. A blend of 80% Mendoza clone Chardonnay and 20% clone 10/5 Pinot Noir fermented to 12.0% alc., with 4 g/L dosage, the wine spending over 4 years on lees. The wine was disgorged in August 2015. 19.0/20 Dec 2016"
Raymond Chan Wine Reviews
"No 1 Family Estate is the finest-quality sparkling wine venture in New Zealand, with the entire range rivalling Champagne quality, and not just any quality (91 rating)."
Christie’s World Encyclopaedia of Champagne and Sparkling Wine by Tom Stevenson
"No 1 Reserve Cuvée is very elegant with a rich and complex bouquet, focused citrus and peach aromas balanced by a complex toasty autolysis and light strawberry note (96 Points)."
Cameron Douglas, New Zealand's first Master Sommelier
"No1 Cuvée: A vibrant sparkling wine with refreshing acidity and an attractive bouquet. The nose had a rich, creamy character, without losing its fruity notes of white stone fruit and citrus. The same flavours showed on the palate, plus a marvellous mineral finish."
Jonathan Giffrin, China Tang at The Dorchester, London
"New Zealand’s Grand Poobah of bubbles, Daniel Le Brun, has crafted the country’s first sparkling wine to be labelled as Méthode Marlborough, instead of the more generic Méthode Traditionelle. Named “Assemblé” (ah-som-blay), it’s a blend of 60 per cent pinot noir and 40 per cent chardonnay and carries Daniel’s brand new No.1 Family Estate company logo. The Le Brun family is a foundation member of Méthode Marlborough Society (an organisation set up to protect the quality and heritage of Marlborough’s finest bubbles), and other members will soon be using the Méthode Marlborough brand on their labels too. – Dish Magazine"
"The key thing here is not so much the easy-drinking No.1 Assemblé, which has always been a bright, smooth, bready pleasure, but more the new name. This is the first of a series of bubbles coming out of Marlborough from a variety of companies which will drop the “Traditionelle” nomenclature. It marks another step in the march of Kiwi wineries to claim a greater sense of terroir in what they make. We should welcome this growing maturity within some of the world’s best wines."
Ewan Sargent, Wine and Food Writer
"Sommelier Guo Ying gives her insider tips on matching four classic styles of New Zealand wines paired with Chinese dishes. Her first pairing is Steamed Shanghainese pork dumplings with crab cream. Matches with: New Zealand sparkling wine (traditional method) Favourite match: No.1 Family Estate, Cuvée No.1 Brut, New Zealand NV No. 1 family is one of the representative producers of sparkling wine in New Zealand. My recommendation, Cuvée No.1 Brut, is a quality New Zealand sparkling wine made using traditional method and 2 years on lees. The steamed Shanghainese pork dumplings are dominated by the delicious flavours of the sensational juicy meat, which is complimented by the crab cream. It seems to be a simple dish to pair, but the ginger in the meat and the dough make everything more complicated, but the sparkling wine I've chosen is the perfect solution. It's made with 100% Chardonnay, so it can replace the vinegar we use to season our steamed buns to reduce the greasy sensation. Even better, it helps to bring out the light sweetness of the crab cream. In addition, ageing on lees gives the wine biscuity flavours, which are a great match to the slightly yeasty dumpling skins. However, although ginger sets off the flavours of the meat fantastically, it would be at odds with the pairing."
Sommelier Guo Yin for Decanter China