Featured Reviews

Alexander and Dusty Road 2017 Martinborough Pinot Noirs

20 July,2018

Michael Finucane and Roz Walker have been operating Alexander Vineyard a boutique Martinborough wine operation since 1996. They have 5 ha of vines in Hinakura Road dedicated to Pinot Noir with a small amount of Merlot and some Chardonnay just added. Their wines took a step up in quality with the commissioning of their new winery, with cellar door, in 2014. Mike and Roz are increasing the complexity of the Pinot Noirs with increasing use of indigenous yeasts, whole cluster fermentation and new oak, and I’ve rated their recent efforts with 5-star ratings. 2017 was a difficult vintage with ripeness, weather and disease pressures, but Mike and Roz reported that they were happy with the ripeness of their fruit, and decided to be severe with their fruit selection, thus omitting the mainly Dijon clone Pinot Noir (and Merlot) fruit from the ‘House Block’, resulting in a drop of 25% of their production for that year. They have also dialled back on the inputs to match the fruit. Here, I review the 2017 ‘Dusty Road’ and premium ‘Alexander’ Pinot Noirs. For availability, contact Michael Finucane on Tel: 06 306-8171 or Email: alexvin@xtra.co.nz


Alexander ‘Dusty Road’ Martinborough Pinot Noir 2017

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Wairarapa & Wellington


Very dark, black-hued ruby-red colour, near impenetrable at the heart, lighter on the rim with purple tints. This has a very full, solid and densely packed nose of ripe black cherry and blackberry fruit melded with a subtle thread of dark herbs and savoury nuances showing the Abel clone. Notes of black plums, liquorice and earthy minerals add detail. Medium-full bodied, the palate has bold and fulsome, up-front flavours of ripe blackberries and black cherries forming a solid, dense heart. A layering of dark herbs, plums and liquorice unfolds, adding interest. The palate has plenty of fruit weight ad presence with fine-grained tannin structure in support, lending good texture and grip, with fresh acidity in the background. Some alcoholic power carries the wine to a fulsome finish, This is a fulsome, solid and densely packed, black-fruited Pinot Noir with plum, liquorice and herb notes on a well-structured palate. Match with grilled and roasted game meat over the next 6-7+ years. A blend of approx. 60% Abel clone with equal portions of clones 5, 113 and 114, fully destemmed and fermented to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 11 months in 20% new French oak. 481 cases made. 18.0/20 Jul 2018 RRP $27.00

Alexander Martinborough Pinot Noir 2017

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Wairarapa & Wellington


Very dark, deep, black-hued ruby-red colour, lighter on the edge with slight purple tints. The nose is fragrant with aromas of savoury black cherry fruit entwined with an array of dark-red berry fruits harmoniously melded together. Aromatic dark-red florals and herbal nuances add perfume and lift. The nose builds in depth forming a concentrated core. Medium-full bodied, the palate is rich with plush and vibrantly sweet flavours of ripe black cherries and dark-red berryfruit. The flavours form a firm, elegantly presented core with a positive backbone and firm, fine-grained tannins providing plenty of structure. The acidity is balanced and the wine carries with good energy to an elegant, sustained finish. This is a sweetly rich, black-fruited Pinot Noir with an elegant, but powerful, linear core with fine structure and plenty of drive. Match with poultry, pork, beef and lamb over the next 6-8 years. A selection of 9 barrels. 55% clone 5 and 45% Abel, destemmed and fermented, 45% by indigenous yeasts to 13.5% alc., the one aged 11 months in one-third new French Allier oak barriques. 220 cases made. 18.5/20 Jul 2018 RRP $39.00

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