Deep Down Wines, Marlborough

Deep Down Wines Pinot Noir label

Country & RegionMarlborough, New Zealand
ProducerClive Dougall & Peter Lorimer

Peter Lorimer and Clive Dougall are two men in their early forties who have spent their adult lives in wine. Peter became a wine aficionado at an early age, leading to a sommelier career, which in turn led to him creating a company to broker his own book of producers that he proudly and steadfastly promoted in the UK and US markets. Clive, an Englishman, took a job as assistant wine maker at the Seresin Winery, New Zealand’s most prominent biodynamic producer, and two weeks later found himself promoted to head winemaker and then viticulturist. Subsequently, with each harvest he oversaw 30-odd Sauvignon Blanc ferments along with 50-odd Pinot Noir ferments without yeast or acid additions, typically raising the wine without finings or filtrations. This evolved into making Pinot without SO2 additions. He did that for twelve years. Then he met Peter.

Deep Down Wines-Clive and Peter

They discovered that they both had daughters named Chloe. They both wanted to start their own winery. And they wanted to be authentic, as in working with completely transparent practices, organic and biodynamic methods, and using next to zero additives—all while making solidly delicious wine rather than weirdly funky stuff. They wanted to break the mold, and it’s happening now pretty quickly in New Zealand, but still only about 5% of all vineyards are farmed organically. So it’s a big mold to break, made no easier by the fact that Peter and Clive couldn’t start a vineyard, let alone buy one, or build a winery; that was too far of a stretch.

But upon mortgaging their houses, they came up with enough to buy grapes. These came from three organic growers in the 2019 vintage. Clive is the president of Organic Winegrowers New Zealand (OWNZ), and he knows the growers well. Below is the Populars Vineyard on harvest day.

Deep Down Wines Populars Vineyard

In their first vintage of 2019, Peter and Clive made 1,500 heartfelt cases.

The Wines

Pinot Noir
Pinot NoirPopulars Vineyard, a 4-acre site planted in 1990 on silty-clay soils over deep gravels, giving good drainage and enabling the grapes to retain good acidity. The vineyard lies at the base of the hills running along the south of the Marlborough region in the Brancott Valley. The grapes are hand-harvested, de-stemmed, allowed to ferment spontaneously, and the wine was aged 4 months in neutral 500-liter demi-muids (puncheons). No fining or filtration or SO2 additions; indeed, it’s just fermented grape juice, free of any additives.
Sauvignon BlancSauvignon BlancMurray’s Vineyard, a 10-acre site planted in 1999 on silty-clay soils overtop of gravels, much like the Populars Vineyard above, except it’s in Marlborough’s Wairau Valley. Machine-harvested with 65% aged in stainless steel and 35% neutral 500-liter demi-muids for 4 months. A bit of SO2 added (less than 60ppm).