Martinborough Vineyard Martinborough
Martinborough Vineyard built an international reputation following the recruitment of Larry McKenna as full-time winemaker. From his first vintage in 1986 he set about making Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from fully ripe grapes of the highest possible quality. His success brought acclaim for the region as a whole; its free-draining soil and particularly dry mesoclimate had been recommended in a scientific study and this originally led to the company’s establishment by Duncan Milne. Despite a tendency to over-extraction in the Reserve in the mid-1990s, the underlying fruit quality of the Pinot Noir has generally been very good, developing impressive texture and a stylish complexity with 3–4 years’ age or more. Larry McKenna left to develop his own project in 1999 (ESCARPMENT). Current releases now come from winemaker Paul Mason, who has worked in Europe as well as New Zealand. The wines show a gentler touch than of old with the usual flavour complexity. The Pinot Noir has a real sauvage fruit character, impressive length and a refined structure. A second Pinot, Te Téra is also very impressive. An occasionally released reserve, Marie Zelie is very pricy (£H). Also showing increasing refinement, Chardonnay was previously bold, oaky and structured with intense, ripe peachy/ melony fruit and depth but improving for at least 3 or 4 years. Riesling is full and intensely flavoured but better structured than many New Zealand examples. Riesling is also late-picked and partially botrytised for a richer, off-dry style called Manu. Pinot Gris, unusual in being partly barrel-fermented, and Sauvignon Blanc (Pirinoa Block) are also made and a separate estate Burnt Spur was established in 2003 and from which Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc are grown and the wines offer decent value.
To find out more about Martinborough Vineyard and their wines, and to see how we reviewed and rated their wines you can check out the Wine Guide New Zealand..
Or indeed you can check out the new extensively updated 9th edition Wine Behind the Label Wine Guide that is 2250 pages, it reviews around 4000 vineyards and over 30,000 wines.