Pinot Noir, Martinborough, Marlborough

Pinot Noir is a red grape that is one of the most challenging to grow in any part of the world. Due to its thin skin and tight bunches, it is susceptible to both mould and disease. However, when it is successful, it produces some of the most amazing wines in the world. Although its home is Burgundy, it has emerged as a popular variety in Australia. Representing only 1% of grapes crushed, it has built a high profile with a number of world-class, distinctly Australian wines being produced. The greatest examples coming from the cool climates of the Adelaide Hills, Tasmania, Mornington Peninsula, Geelong and the Yarra Valley.

Pinot Noir performs well on the deepish limestone based subsoils that are found on Burgundy's Côte d'Or. However, yields need to be kept in check. Pinot Noir's concentration and varietal characters disappear rapidly if yields are excessive. Some of the best and most expensive wines in the world are still found in Burgundy.

Pinot Noir also plays a key role in Champagne, being blended with Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier. In the US, Oregon and Washington state are producing outstanding wines. In New Zealand, great Pinot Noirs are crafted in Martinborough and in Central Otago, New Zealand's only true continental climate.

The thin skins of Pinot Noir mean the wines are lighter in colour, body and tannins. However, the best wines have grippy tannins, fragrance and an intensity of fruit seldom found in wine from other grapes. Young Pinot Noir can smell almost sweet, but as it matures, the best wines develop a sensuous, silky mouthfeel with the fruit flavours deepening and gamey nuances emerging.
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.
When most people think of New Zealand wine, the first thing that comes to mind will be Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. This one variety more than any other helped springboard New Zealand on to the world-wine scene.

The region is located on the northern end of the south island, nestled around the town of Blenheim, and for many years was a sheep region. It was Montana wines, who in 1973 planted the first vines in the region “too far south to grow good wine.” At the time the region was the southernmost region in the country, but nowadays Central Otago takes south to a whole new level.

Plenty of sunshine hours, relatively low rainfall and cool temperatures provide the perfect conditions for growing world-class Sauvignon Blanc the region is renowned for. Other whites grown include Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer and Sparkling wines. Pinot Noir dominates the red varieties grown, though is typically lighter bodied than Central Otago or Martinborough Pinots.
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  1. Black Cottage Pinot Noir 2020
    Sourced from the Southern Valleys with some fruit from the Awatere Valley. This Pinot Noir went through 100% stainless steel fermentation and was hand plunged. This brought out the perfumed berry fruit as well as increasing the silky mouthfeel of the ... Learn More
  2. Dog Point Pinot Noir 2019
    Dog Point Pinot Noir is one of the icons of Marlborough and for good reason. Winemakers Ivan and James first began their journey in the NZ wine game by starting globally-acclaimed winery Cloudy Bay. They are maestro’s at producing ... Learn More
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    Bob Campbell MW
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    Huon Hooke
  3. Ata Rangi Pinot Noir 2019
    The highly sought-after Ata Rangi Pinot Noir is undoubtedly one of the great new world Pinot Noirs, often considered a rival to top Burgundy with only limited stock available every vintage. To prove this, winemaker Helen Masters was recently awarded ... Learn More
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    Nick Stock
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