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Auckland, North Island, New Zealand
Wine tour operator, wine writer and lapsed physiotherapist. "Nature abhors a vacuum. I personally hate dusting."


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Martinborough New Zealand - Revisited

Around twenty years ago, word started spreading about some excellent wines north of Wellington, just over the winding, windy Rimutuka Ranges.  DSIR scientists had discovered a climate and soil type similar to the classic French region of Burgundy that was suitable for growing Pinot Noir and a few other grape varieties.  And now, the Wairarapa, and Martinborough in particular is one of our top boutique regions, producing not only internationally acclaimed Pinot Noir but also Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Gew├╝rztraminer and even some big reds like Syrah. Famous wineries like Dry River, Ata Rangi, Kusuda, Martinborough Vineyard, Palliser and Te Kairanga all hail from this region. 

Great food and upmarket boutique accommodation has made this one of our main wine tourism regions for both locals and foreigners.  The broad, flat plains bake in summer months, but in winter it becomes a misty, dreamy adventure land of fine wines and excellent food.  Whatever the season – it is just right for a weekend away.

Seven years ago, I visited for the first time when I was researching my wine region guide – The Mad Keen Wine Buff’s Road Trip (Random House 2008).  And just recently I was lucky enough to spend two days there with a group of fellow wine writers.  We tasted many wines over the two days and visited a number of wineries.

Current Aromatic Releases – my picks:
Te Kairanga Estate Riesling 2013, Big Sky Sauvignon Blanc 2013, Hamden Sauvignon Blanc 2013, Poppies Pinot Gris 2013, Dry River Pinot Gris 2013, Dry River Gew├╝rztraminer 2013, Brodie’s Angels Sigh Pinot Rose 2013

Current Chardonnay Releases – my picks:
Palliser Estate 2013, Julicher 2013, Nga Waka 2013

Current Pinot Noir Releases – my picks:
Te Kairanga Runholder 2013, Poppies 2012, Kusuda 2012, Schubert Marion’s Vineyard 2011, Te Hera Reserve 2011, Cabbage Tree 2009, Dry 2012

Barrel Samples (i.e. not botled yet but showing huge promise):
Ata Rangi, Big Sky, Margrain, Martinborough Vineyard, Te Hera

(I was hosted by Wine From Martinborough New Zealand

Phil Parker is a wine writer and operates Fine Wine & Food Tours in Auckland 

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