The Oenophiliac

Bringing you stories from the world of wine and beer.

Mike Matthews – New Zealand’s Marisco Vineyards and ‘The King’s Series’

Treachery, murder, piracy! Sounds like a great plot for a Hollywood blockbuster. For the de Marisco family, this was all in a days work. It wasn’t always that boring. At one time or another the family actually held high roles within the English court. Geoffrey de Marisco was Justiciar of Ireland (Chief Governor) for around eight years, before getting caught with his fingers in the church coffers. The King didn’t take to kindly to this and he summarily sent Geoffrey on his merry way, whilst suffering the embarrassment of excommunication.

The de Marisco clan are the direct ancestors to Marisco Vineyards owner and winemaker, Brent Marris. This personal history influenced Marris to create a range of wines, paying homage to his notable, notorious, noble heritage with The King’s Series. After all, how many new world winemakers can trace their lineage back to 12th-13th century England?

Back to the history. Geoffrey’s son, William, was implicated in the murder of Henry Clement, court messenger for Henry III. Three years later a man claiming to be an agent of William de Marisco attempted to kill the King. This caused William to flee to the island of Lundy, a small isle sitting in the Bristol Channel. From here de Marisco turned to piracy, sailing the waters of the Irish Sea. In 1242 William was captured by the Kings troops, returned to London where he was tried, dragged from Westminster to be hung, drawn and quartered. An entertaining bunch wouldn’t you say!


There are five wines in the series; The King’s Bastard – Chardonnay, The King’s Thorn – Pinot Gris, The King’s Favour – Sauvignon Blanc, The King’s Wrath – Pinot Noir and their sweet wine, A Sticky End – Noble Sauvignon Blanc 37.5cl.

All the fruit for these wines comes from the same vineyards as Marris’ other brand, The Ned, a 268 hectare site on the banks of the Waihopai River, Marlborough. The packaging for me is very appealing to the eye. As an ex-retailer I judge bottles by how they would look on a shelf. The labels stand out clearly with a classic medieval font, based on the period and designed specifically by New Zealand calligrapher, Peter Gilderdale.

I recently tasted three wines from The King’s Series range.

The King’s Favour – Sauvignon Blanc has very noticeable grapefruit, lemon and soft tropical fruit aromas. A large mix of flavours range from fresh grass, traditional herbaceous characters, white pepper, citrus fruit, even some residual sugary sweetness on the tip of the tongue. The acidity levels are fresh and sit very well with the fruit.
RRP – £12.99
Mike’s rating, 8.5-10
Available from

A Sticky End, 2012 DWWA Gold Medal Winner, is a wine made in the style of the classic sweet Bordeaux, Sauternes. Optimum conditions have allowed for Botryitis to take effect; a fungus that attacks healthy white grapes, shrivelling them to leave a raisin sized sugary pulp. The nose exhibits very soft honey and orange marmalade aromas. The palate delivers clean, light orange cinnamon spice. Goes well with a couple of slices of toast.
RRP – £15.99. 37.5cl bt.
Mike’s rating, 8-10
Available from

The King’s Bastard – Chardonnay is a biggy. Initially wood dominates the nose with some savoury, meaty aromas. When left to breath these characters begin to disappear showing more Burgundian aromas, blue cheese in particular with a touch of pear. Taste, good sharp acidity cuts through the soft citrus, spiced apple, white pepper flavours. This wine is a developer. Good to drink now but give it a few years and it should be a wee bit special.
RRP – £14.99
Mike’s rating, 8-10
Available from

Who said wine was pretentious and boring, really, it’s an education.

Prices correct at time of publication. Subject to availability.

All reviews are my own. I am not paid for any reviews I write. I will always give an honest assessment of the wines I taste and review. 

Story by me!

Taken from my Huffington Post UK blog – Lifestyle Section

The Huffington Post



3 comments on “Mike Matthews – New Zealand’s Marisco Vineyards and ‘The King’s Series’

  1. Pingback: Mike Matthews – An alternative in Online Wine Shopping « Magics Wine Guide and Reviews for Newbies.

  2. Pingback: Harpers – Mike Matthews looks at new styles emerging from New Zealand at its New Release trade tasting « Magics Wine Guide and Reviews for Newbies.

  3. Pingback: Press Release – Marisco Vineyards’ Claims 7th Trophy in 3 Months « Magics Wine Guide and Reviews for Newbies.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,411 other followers

Blog Stats

  • 76,207 hits
%d bloggers like this: