Nicholas Thomas Nobilo (Nick) was tenacious and resilient and felt too much work had been done already not to continue the process. He had a visionary belief that the brandy would continue to improve over the coming decades. As a young teenager he had helped on occasion to nurture this dream of producing a world-class brandy. Determined and dedicated, Nobilo felt it would be appalling to abandon the project.
“Why would we throw away all that had gone before, the care, the belief and the commitment?” said Nick. “We knew we were creating something wonderfully special, we just needed to be patient”. Without Nobilo’s self belief and an eye on the main chance it all may have been abandoned and lost forever. Fortunately, that was not going to happen. For forty years Nobilo continued to watch over and assess the development of this rare brandy.
Nicholas Thomas Nobilo, at 20 years of age, working the vines at the family Huapai vineyard, 1962
7 CELLARS Brandy Curator Nick Nobilo [ONZM] checks maturing brandy
7 CELLARS Brandy Curator Nick Nobilo [ONZM] assesses the quality of the brandy at bottling
Nobilo was not at all surprised or upset with the loss attributed to evaporation from the barrels known as “the angels portion” that reduced the volume. So finally, at the end of the 20th century and after nearly 40 years of aging in French Oak, Nobilo was satisfied that this creation of the pioneering winemakers had matured to the point where it had equalled, if not surpassed, many of the best and famous Cognacs of France.
Nobilo carefully blended the cuvee in 1999 and then aged this for a further three years, lovingly testing and nurturing, before bottling in April 2002. There are now less than 1000 bottles in existance of what he now understood to be the very first ever brandy distilled in New Zealand, accordingly to the true tradition of Cognac. This is an important piece of New Zealand’s history never to be repeated. A time-capsule if you will. An absolute hidden treasure.