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Marlborough

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Blank Canvas Marlborough Pinot Noir 2015 (1x75cl)

Awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their January 2019 edition article: The Most Exciting Wines of 2018 (see blue link below)

Blank Canvas Marlborough Pinot Noir 2015 - January 2019 Decanter review

"What a fabulous showing for all of the wines in the Blank Canvas range I must say. From a single vineyard in the Waihopai Valley of Marlborough, a large proportion of this was fermented as whole bunches of grapes, with wild yeasts, before ageing in French oak barriques. What an aromatic Pinot Noir, floral and herbal, bright cherry melts into a subtle earthy and nutty note, then the wine powers onto the palate: it as its seductive side for sure, with juicy, dense fruit, but there is light and air in this picture too, an edge to the firm tannins and the acidity, spice and subtle truffle character, and then a pristine finish almost like a white wine with its cool focus and length. Seriously good Pinot Noir this, multi-faceted and delicious". 94 pointsTom Cannavan's wine-pages.com - see here for a fuller review from Tom of Blank Canvas's work

Matt Thomson is a busy winemaker. He has worked over forty vintages in numerous wine regions around the world and has worked with David Gleave MW since 1994. He is involved with many wines, primarily as a consultant. “Now is the time to launch my own wines,” he says. “Blank Canvas represents my story as a winemaker. It is an endeavour that is entirely my own expression of winemaking, is from my own funding, and is exclusively my risk.” The ‘Blank Canvas’ is the vineyard and the variety, the winery the brush and palette (no pun intended) at the winemaker’s disposal, all the while defined by the scientific grounding Matt laid at university and has built upon over the past 23 years. His aim is to break some rules with the Blank Canvas wines, but in order to break the rules, he feels, you need to know them. This is what sets the Blank Canvas wines apart.

This Pinot Noir is sourced from a single vineyard that Matt oversaw the planting of in 2001. It is situated in the old clay soils of the Waihopai Valley in Marlborough. The soil naturally gives low yields, but they also crop thinned during the ripening of the fruit. As a result the berries were small and concentrated with flavour. It is made exclusively from Clone 115, a Dijon clone which is selected for its tannins and impressive savoury fruit characters.

The 2015 vintage in Marlborough was one of the earliest and driest in recent years, with rainfall being just 40% of the long-term average while growing degree days were 10% more. For Pinot Noir, this resulted in lower yields, smaller bunch weights and more concentrated, impressive fruit.

The handpicked bunches were cold-soaked for five days before undergoing wild fermentation. Lots of hand-plunging took place and a large proportion of whole bunch fermentation (50%) made this particularly challenging. Coupled with a savoury low-toast oak regime of new and seasoned oak, and barrel maturation of 10 months, the winemaking has given this Pinot Noir finesse, elegance and power.

Aromas of bright raspberry, red cherry and delicate violet intertwine with seductive savoury characters. It possesses the silky Pinot Noir texture that is so often strived for, and has a structure that is likened to the Old World with big but elegant tannins set amongst a balanced backbone of acidity. It will become more complex with cellaring, with years of evolution ahead of it.

£23.75

Cambridge Road Syrah 2015 (1x75cl)

Cambridge Road Vineyard is a small family farmed estate established in 1986 with the intention of making world class Pinot Noir and Syrah. They focus both time and energy on perfecting and beautifying their land and cultivating it according to natural biodynamic and eco-farming principles. They believe in minimal intervention winemaking, low yields, and healthy living wines.

This is the latest wine in the history of Syrah production from their home vineyard. 2015 was a low cropping year with beautiful ripeness. Harvested in late April the fruit was handled simply.

It spent 27 with days' skin contact & 12 months in neutral oak casks. It was wild fermented and bottled after one year with no fining or filtration. 

This wine is 100% Syrah.

Dark spiced plum characters are apparent in the silken structured wine. Bold in weight and generous body. 

£42.50

Cloudy Bay Pinot Noir 2015 (1x 75cl)

93 points, James Suckling; 92 points, Wine Advocate.

Established in 1985, Cloudy Bay was one of the first five wine makers to venture into Marlborough. At the time, it was almost an unimaginable place to set-up a vineyard but Cloudy Bay’s founder, David Hohnen, was convinced of its potential to produce great wine and invested in the best land of the region. The winery was named after Cloudy Bay, a body of water explorer Captain James Cook found during his voyage to New Zealand in 1770. His discovery coincided with flooding in the region, which washed large amounts of sediment into the sea. Noticing the water’s opaque appearance, Cook christened the area Cloudy Bay.

The 2016 season was one of the driest that the Marlborough region has experienced since the wine industry was established in the province. A cool start to the growing season created numerous frost events that provided continuing challenges right up until flowering. The months of January to April were all warmer than average, providing excellent ripening conditions, similar to the excellent 2015, 2014 and 2010 seasons.

The 2016 harvest took place in near-perfect conditions, allowing us to take our time. Excellent ripening conditions, with warm days and cooler evenings maintained concentration, structure and freshness in the fruit. The harvest started on 26th March and was concluded by 12th April.

100% Pinot Noir.

The Pinot Noir fruit was entirely hand picked and de-stemmed before being gravity fed into the fermentation vessels. 15% of the fermentation was comprised of whole bunches. The fermentations utilised natural occuring yeast populations under carefully monitored conditions. The grape skins were gently plunged with an average of 18 days skin contact. After fermentation the wines were matured in French oak for 12 months, of which 35% was new. 

Appealingly aromatic, the 2016 Pinot Noir reveals notes of Morello cherry, bramble and dark chocolate. Fine, silky tannins and juicy acidity provide an elegant structure, with complexity coming from gentle oak and woodsmoke characters.

£28.95

Greywacke Pinot Noir 2015 (1x75cl)

Greywacke was created in 2009 by Kevin Judd, chief winemaker at Cloudy Bay from its inception for 25 years and instrumental in the international recognition which Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc enjoys now. The name 'Greywacke' was adopted by Kevin for his first Marlborough vineyard located in Rapaura in recognition of the high prevalence of rounded greywacke river stones in the soils of the vineyard, a sedimentary rock which is widely found in Marlborough. Kevin Judd is also New Zealand's finest wine photographer and has recently published a book 'The Landscape of New Zealand Wine'.

All fruit was grown in Marlborough's Southern Valleys and principally sourced from the Yarrum Vineyard situated on the Brancott / Ben Morven ridge. Typical of this subregion, the wind-blown loess soils are comprised of clay-loams with varying degrees of gravel content. The vineyards are all hillside plantings trained to two-cane VSP (vertical shoot positioning) with a vine density of 3,800 plants per hectare.

Warm spring weather created early flowering and early ripening. The vines were very low yielding, with smaller berries than usual, which led to increased concentration and quality in the 2015 wines.

The grapes were hand harvested and chilled overnight prior to hand sorting. Most of the fruit was then de-stemmed into open-top fermenters, the majority of fermentations with partial whole bunch inclusion. The fruit was allowed to soak on skins prior to the onset of indigenous yeast fermentation, then plunged daily by hand. After fermentation the wine was pressed, racked and filled to French oak barriques (40% new). All individual clones were aged in barrel separately for 18 months prior to blending in December. Once in tank the wine was egg white fined for clarity and then bottled in March 2017.

For the winemaker's own notes, click the link below.

Greywacke PN 2015 fiche technique

This wine is deep ruby red in colour with vibrant aromas of ripe black cherries, blackberries and plum jam. An opulent style of Marlborough Pinot layered with notes of cloves, star anise and tea. On the palate, it has fine tannins and a generous, long and lively finish.

£28.00

Greywacke Pinot Noir 2016 (1x75cl)

Greywacke was created in 2009 by Kevin Judd, chief winemaker at Cloudy Bay from its inception for 25 years and instrumental in the international recognition which Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc enjoys now. The name 'Greywacke' was adopted by Kevin for his first Marlborough vineyard located in Rapaura in recognition of the high prevalence of rounded greywacke river stones in the soils of the vineyard, a sedimentary rock which is widely found in Marlborough. Kevin Judd is also New Zealand's finest wine photographer and has recently published a book 'The Landscape of New Zealand Wine'.

All fruit was grown in Marlborough's Southern Valleys and principally sourced from the Yarrum Vineyard situated on the Brancott / Ben Morven ridge. Typical of this subregion, the wind-blown loess soils are comprised of clay-loams with varying degrees of gravel content. The vineyards are all hillside plantings trained to two-cane VSP (vertical shoot positioning) with a vine density of 3,800 plants per hectare.

The grapes were hand harvested and chilled overnight prior to hand sorting. Most of the fruit was then de-stemmed into open-top fermenters, the majority of fermentations with partial whole bunch inclusion. The fruit was allowed to soak on skins prior to the onset of indigenous yeast fermentation, then plunged daily by hand. After fermentation the wine was pressed, racked and filled to French oak barriques (40% new). All individual clones were aged in barrel separately for 18 months prior to blending in December. Once in tank the wine was egg white fined for clarity and then bottled in March 2017.

For the winemaker's own notes, click the link below.

Greywacke PN 2016 fiche technique

A deliciously fragrant Marlborough Pinot – juicy blackberries, blueberries and the sweet aroma of homemade strawberry jam, intermingled with more savoury suggestions of black olives, cedar and a hint of lavender. The ethereal but finely structured palate has concentrated varietal character that combines red and black fruit with earthy, smoky nuances.

£28.00

Jackson Estate Vintage Widow 2014 (1 x 75cl)

2013 Vintage Awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their September 2016 edition review of New Zealand Pinot Noir (see blue link below). 

Jackson Widow PN 2013 - Sept 2016 Decanter review

The Jackson family came to New Zealand in 1842 on the Martha Ridgeway from Runnymede in England. In 1855 Adam Jackson bought the first blocks of land in the heart of the Marlborough region, along with what would become known as Jacksons Road. Fast forward to 1990 and Jo and John Stichbury released the first ever Jackson Estate wine. They are pioneers of not only the Marlborough region but the wine industry they so dearly cherish being a part of.

"This wine is named Vintage Widow in recognition of our families, who are often forgotten at vintage as we strive to make the perfect bottle of Pinot Noir."

Concentrated aromas of red and black forest fruits dominate combined with dried herbs and spicy cedar notes. To taste, the flavour profile is savoury and spice, rich and ripe without losing precise pinot noir detail. Tannins are moderate but integrated, leaving a lasting impression of texture (density), harmony and not least; definitive vineyard and southern Marlborough clays character.  This wine goes very well with Beef Wellington.

£20.05

Saint Clair Omaka Reserve Pinot Noir 2015 (1x75cl)

The 2016 vintage was awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their July 2018 edition article on New Zealand Pinot Noir (see blue link below). It is, however, seemingly as rare as unicorn mane, and thus we offer the 2015.

Saint Clair Omaka Reserve Pinot Noir 2015 - July 2018 Decanter review

Neal and Judy Ibbotson were pioneers in the Marlborough wine industry, first planting vineyards in the valley in 1978 and then establishing Saint Clair Family Estate in 1994. They own 160 hectares of vineyard in 10 different Marlborough locations chosen specifically for the attributes of their individual "terroir" and ability to produce top quality grapes. Neal Ibbotson combines his extensive expertise in viticulture with the talent of one of New Zealand's leading winemaking teams led by Hamish Clark. Since 1994, when wines from the first vintage all won medals including gold, the name Saint Clair has been synonymous with quality and its award-winning record continues today. This is a sentiment shared by Bob Campbell MW, who says “Saint Clair now makes the country’s and perhaps the world’s best Sauvignon Blanc”.

The grapes are sourced from a single vineyard in the Delta region within the Southern Valleys subregion, where the vines are grown in clay soils. A naturally low cropping vineyard that produces tight bunches with small berries, which intensifies the wine's flavour and concentration. Some of the grapes come from clone 115. The fruit was harvested when it had reached full physiological ripeness and maximum flavour maturity.

The fruit was cold soaked for five days prior to fermentation to help extract maximum flavour and to enhance colour stability. 27% whole cluster bunches were added to the fermentation to add a stems component and another layer of complexity. Selected cultured yeast were used to carry out the alcoholic fermentation, during which the fermenting must was hand plunged up to six times daily at the peak of fermentation. At dryness the wine was pressed, then racked off the gross lees to a mixture of 32%new French oak and older seasoned 225 litre oak barriques. The wine was aged for 10 months during which time it underwent malolactic fermentation. The wine was then carefully extracted from oak, blended and prepared for bottling.

Concentrated flavours of black cherry, blackcurrant, Kalamata olive, and perfumed wild flowers, lead to an elegant palate with a structure reminiscent of finely powdered cocoa or dense dark chocolate. The finish is long incorporating freshly roasted coffee beans, toasty oak and spice.

£23.00

Saint Clair Origin Marlborough Pinot Noir 2017 (1x75cl)

Neal and Judy Ibbotson were pioneers in the Marlborough wine industry, first planting vineyards in the valley in 1978 and then establishing Saint Clair Family Estate in 1994. They own 160 hectares of vineyard in 10 different Marlborough locations chosen specifically for the attributes of their individual "terroir" and ability to produce top quality grapes. Neal Ibbotson combines his extensive expertise in viticulture with the talent of one of New Zealand's leading winemaking teams led by Hamish Clark. Since 1994, when wines from the first vintage all won medals including gold, the name Saint Clair has been synonymous with quality and its award-winning record continues today. This is a sentiment shared by Bob Campbell MW, who says “Saint Clair now makes the country’s and perhaps the world’s best Sauvignon Blanc”.

In 2017 Saint Clair navigated challenging weather conditions during véraison and the harvest period. Flavours came into the fruit early and although the wines are a little lighter in alcohol, they are still appreciably full flavoured. 2017 was a good year for the early ripening varieties; Pinot Noir had beautiful small bunches and berries of very good quality.

The fruit is sourced from a number of specifically chosen low cropping vineyards from the Southern Valleys region of the Wairau Plain. The vines are grown in very clay rich, vigour moderating soils. Each vineyard is closely monitored and tasted to determine when the flavours were at their optimum and harvested in the cool of the morning.

The grapes from each vineyard underwent a cold maceration for five days, to assist colour and flavour extraction. The juice was then inoculated with yeast for the primary alcoholic fermentation and hand plunged up to eight times daily, during the height of fermentation. When dry, each batch was pressed to tank, settled and then racked off the gross lees to either stainless steel tanks or a combination of new and older, seasoned French oak for a period of eight months. The wine underwent 100% malolactic fermentation. Following maturation, it was blended, fined, lightly filtered and gently prepared for bottling.

This wine is made using Pinot Noir 100%.

Aromas of sun-kissed dark berries, boysenberry and freshly picked blackberries, are interlaced with toasted wood notes and a hint of dark chocolate. The palate is full of sumptuous dark berries, layered with freshly ground coffee beans and dark chocolate. A hint of cinnamon spice leads into a savoury finish. Beautifully matched with barbecued venison or seared lamb.

£15.50

Saint Clair Pioneer Block 14 Doctors Creek Pinot Noir 2015 (1x75cl)

Neal and Judy Ibbotson were pioneers in the Marlborough wine industry, first planting vineyards in the valley in 1978 and then establishing Saint Clair Family Estate in 1994. They own 160 hectares of vineyard in 10 different Marlborough locations chosen specifically for the attributes of their individual "terroir" and ability to produce top quality grapes. Neal Ibbotson combines his extensive expertise in viticulture with the talent of one of New Zealand's leading winemaking teams led by Hamish Clark. Since 1994, when wines from the first vintage all won medals including gold, the name Saint Clair has been synonymous with quality and its award-winning record continues today. This is a sentiment shared by Bob Campbell MW, who says “Saint Clair now makes the country’s and perhaps the world’s best Sauvignon Blanc”.

The grapes are selected from the single vineyard "Doctor's Creek" block, named after the small stream which runs through the centre. Situated south-west of Blenheim. The soils are made up of clay and are rich, vigour moderating soils.

The fruit was harvested when it had reached full physiological ripeness and maximum flavour maturity. At the winery the fruit was cold macerated for five days. Cultured yeasts were used to ferment the wine and during fermentation, the must was hand plunged up to six times daily. Once dry, each batch was pressed to tank and then racked off gross lees to a mix of new and used French oak. The wine then underwent malolactic fermentation and was aged for 10 months in barrel before being carefully prepared for bottling.

A rounded luscious Pinot Noir with a soft full palate and well balanced acidity. Good length of fruit with flavours dominated by redcurrant and cherries, complemented by hints of plums. Oak ageing has lent warm savoury notes to the palate.

This Pioneer Block Pinot Noir is perfectly matched with spring lamb, sweet potatoes and roast vegetables.

This wine is suitable for vegetarians.

£18.35

Saint Clair Tuatara Bay Pinot Noir 2016 (1x75cl)

Neal and Judy Ibbotson were pioneers in the Marlborough wine industry, first planting vineyards in the valley in 1978 and then establishing Saint Clair Family Estate in 1994. They own 160 hectares of vineyard in 10 different Marlborough locations chosen specifically for the attributes of their individual "terroir" and ability to produce top quality grapes. Neal Ibbotson combines his extensive expertise in viticulture with the talent of one of New Zealand's leading winemaking teams led by Hamish Clark. Since 1994, when wines from the first vintage all won medals including gold, the name Saint Clair has been synonymous with quality and its award-winning record continues today. This is a sentiment shared by Bob Campbell MW, who says “Saint Clair now makes the country’s and perhaps the world’s best Sauvignon Blanc”.

Selected yeasts were used for fermentation. The wine was hand plunged throughout fermentation. It was then gently pressed off its skins and underwent malolactic fermentation before being blended and prepared for bottling.

Juicy red fruits dominate the palate. Ripe red plums, raspberry and red cherry flavours are balanced with a good acidity and a subtle toasty finish.

Enjoy on its own or with charcuterie meats or pheasant stew.

This wine is suitable for vegetarians.

£12.85

Spy Valley Pinot Noir 2016 (1x75cl)

The 1990s were a time of discovery and courage in Marlborough. Deep in the Waihopai Valley, Bryan and Jan Johnson had the audacity to establish 180 hectares of estate vineyards on land considered too hard, too dry and too unfertile for wine. It was a venture that started with a passion for the land. Today, Spy Valley’s commitment remains to the land and to the people who tend it – they are simply farmers at heart, nurturing soil and vine to cultivate the complexities in their wine. And they are mindful that it’s their focus on sustainability which will ensure their guardianship of this land for generations to come.

"Our Pinot Noir is cropped low. That’s just wine talk for thinning out the bunches of grapes, so only a select few remain on the vine. This means all the unique characteristics of our land and the flavours of the fruit are concentrated. So, the result is an amazingly expressive wine." Heath, Bottling Supervisor

This wine is 100% Pinot Noir.

To see an information sheet and tasting note for this wine from the team at Spy Valley, please click on the blue link below.

Spy Valley Pinot Noir 2016 - fiche technique

£16.90

Tinpot Hut Pinot Noir 2017 (1x75cl)

Tinpot Hut wines are made primarily from fruit grown on winemaker Fiona Turner's vineyard in Blind River. Fiona, who has worked with Matt Thomson for a number of years, supplements her own grapes with fruit from other growers in Marlborough and Hawkes Bay. The tinpot hut that gave its name to Fiona's wines is an old mustering hut in the remote hills between the Wairau and Awatere Valleys. The huts were used as a base for musterers as they rounded up the sheep that had been in the hills from spring to autumn. The name links Marlborough's past as a sheep farming centre with its current state as one of the world's most dynamic wine regions.

Pinot Noir grapes were sourced from three well-tended, low yielding vineyards in the Omaka Valley, Blind River and Wairau sub-regions in Marlborough.

2017 was a challenging vintage for wine growers as conditions were wetter and cooler than usual. This reduced yields by approximately 9% compared to 2016. It also pushed harvest dates back for all varieties. The final wines are more restrained on the nose and the palate but still display distinctive varietal characteristics.

The fruit was picked at optimum ripeness and carefully transported to the winery for de-stemming and chilling. Each vineyard was kept separate in small open top fermenters and cold-soaked to extract maximum flavour and colour stability. The wine was fermented using a mixture of selected yeast strains and hand plunged up to six times daily. After fermentation several batches were put to a mixture of new and older French oak barrels. The remaining batches were aged in stainless steel tanks to preserve the delicate fruit characters. Each batch went through malolactic fermentation and was aged before being blended, stabilised, lightly egg white fined and prepared for bottling.

Intense aromas of black cherry, blackberry and plum mingle with a hint of redcurrant. Savoury mushroom and toasty oak characters complete the attractive nose. Classic black cherry notes dominate the palate and are supported by hints of bramble, reflecting the aromatics. Structurally, the tannins are soft and silky, and well balanced acidity ensures good length and weight.

£17.40

Yealands Estate Black Label Pinot Noir 2018 (1x75cl)

"Thinking differently is what we do at Yealands. Crafting award-winning wines in harmony with nature has seen us lead the world in sustainable winegrowing. But most importantly, it means great tasting wines which don’t cost the earth."

Marlborough experienced a mild-to-cool spring period, which ensured that the vines naturally produced lighter than average yields. These mild temperatures then extended into the summer months, coupled with an unseasonal period of rain, which ultimately alleviated the drought conditions experienced over the past two years. This Pinot Noir was harvested in excellent condition and resulting wines are showing the wonderful typicity that the Seaview Vineyard is known for – lifted fruit flavours in the red berry spectrum balanced with earthy savoury notes, vibrancy, purity and structure.

The Seaview Vineyard in the Awatere Valley is exposed to some of the toughest growing conditions in Marlborough; high sunshine and wind, cool nights and low rainfall which produces a smaller, thicker skinned berry with intense fruit flavours. This wine is sourced from two different locations in the Seaview Vineyard and both are a mixture of Dijon clones 777 and 667. One site, that was picked on the 2nd of April is our flattest and one of the most sheltered parts of the vineyard. It is only 2m above sea level and is 1km away from the ocean. The other location was picked on the 9th of April and it is an exposed ridge, 150m above sea level that drops down a north facing slope to a sheltered gully. The unique micro climates within the block ensure low yields which consistently produce Pinot Noir with good structure and flavour.

The two parcels were picked one week apart, when the fruit was showing perfect ripeness and balanced fruit flavours. The parcels were cold macerated at 6–8 degrees for 5 days before being warmed and inoculated with selected yeast. A fast, hot fermentation proceeded with regular hand plunging to craft a wine with elegance and structure. Post primary fermentation the parcels were gently pressed off, settled for 24 hours then racked off heavy lees and aged in a mixture of large format French oak cuves and barriques. The wine remained in oak for 9 months and was then stabilised and filtered prior to bottling.

On the nose, this wine exhibits notes of sweet dark cherry, violets and smoky-spice. The palate is full and plush, yet lively with flavours of cedar and red liquorice balanced with silky tannins. This wine matches beautifully with red meat dishes, including venison and lamb.

This wine is suitable for vegetarians and gluten free diets.

£15.25
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