Martinborough, Barossa Valley

The wine region of Martinborough is located in South Wairarapa on the southern end of the north island, and in only 30 years or so has gone from a sleepy colonial town to a world-class wine village.

The region has picked up numerous international awards since the 1990’s with Pinot Noir picking up the lion’s share of the medals. Pinot Noir is undoubtedly the flagship wine of the region, with some incredible wines being produced.

The mineral laden soils, combined with the cool climate provide the perfect backdrop for Pinot Noir, much as it has for centuries in Burgundy, France. Indeed the Pinot Noirs produced are very Burgundian in style, a compliment not adorned to many other wine regions worldwide.

The micro-climate of Martinborough is rather warm, with hills both to the east and west. Most all of the vineyards are located in thin strips around the northern and eastern sides of the town or on the Dry River to the south of Martinborough. All the vineyards follow dry riverbeds, which have the desired soil structure for viticulture.

Although Pinot Noir is the king of the reds, Shiraz is also cultivated and in the whites, Riesling, Gewürztraminer and Pinot Gris are grown.
The Barossa Valley is about an hour and a half drive to the North of Adelaide, in South Australia and is the oldest wine region in the country, founded by German settlers. The region can be credited with putting Australian wine on the world wine map, thanks to Shiraz, which thrives in the warm climate (though Hunter Valley Semillon also contributed.)

For many years traditionalist wine makers thought the grape variety was best suited to the cooler climates of the Rhône Valley and that the variety would cook and in the warmth of the Australian sun. Although South Australian Shiraz is a bigger, beefier wine than its southern French counterpart Syrah, no one can deny the regions propensity to produce world class wines.

Not only Shiraz is cultivated in Barossa Valley, with other red varieties such as Grenache, Mourvedre (Mataro) and to a lesser extent Sauvignon. The white varieties that thrive best seem to be Semillon, Chardonnay and Rhone varietals like Viognier, Marsanne and Roussane.

The Valley has many subregions which all have unique terroirs. Seppeltsfield, Marananga, Greenock are to name but a few. With a huge number of wineries in such a small area, and a host of accommodation, the region is very popular for wine-tourism. In the words of Master of Wine Jancis Robinson, the Barossa Valley became "Australia's quintessential wine region."
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