Featured Reviews

Starborough Marlborough 2018 Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris, and 2017 Chardonnay and Pinot Noir

09 October,2018

The Starborough Farming Co. in Marlborough is one of the success stories of agricultural diversification. The Jones family who own Starborough Station near Seddon based their business on crop and stock farming, but took to grapegrowing as a new approach which complemented their established farming. The Jones started as contract growers, but they established their own brand ‘Starborough’. They have three vineyards, the ‘O’Dwyers Farm’ site in Rapaura, the larger ‘Starborough Terrace’ vineyard on the station in the Awatere, and their most recent acquisition, the ‘Long Lane’ vineyard on Redwood Pass Road in the Dashwood sub-region of the Awatere. This affords the Starborough label to blend fruit for balance as well as giving the potential for making single vineyard wines. James Jones overseas the wine business for the family, and they have Kerry Hammond tending to the viticulture. The Starborough wines are made by the talented Dave Clouston. These are wines which have grown considerably in quality over recent years. Here, I review the ‘Family Estate’ 2018 Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris, and 2017 Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, arguably the best release yet. I believe that James and Dave have managed to build in an attractive extra rich fruitiness into these bottlings. www.starborough.co.nz


Starborough ‘Family Estate’ ‘Sons of the Soil’ Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2018

Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand – Marlborough


Bright, pale straw-yellow colour, a little lighter on the rim. The nose is firmly packed with aromas of pungent passionfruit and tropical fruits with fresh herb notes. The fruit aromatics show excellent concentration and density, unfolding floral nuances with aeration. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate is rich and lusciously sweet-fruited with juicy, pungent passionfruit and tropical fruit flavours along with fragrant fresh herbs. The fruit forms a plush core with good depth and thewine flows along a fine-textured line with soft, mouthwatering acidity providing cut. The flavours carry to a long and sustained finish. This is a rich, sweet-fruited Sauvignon Blanc with a good core of pungent passionfruit on a fine line with soft, mouthwatering acidity. Serve with Pacific Rim fare over the next 2 years. Fruit from 65% ‘Starborough Terrace’ and 35% ‘O’Dwyers Farm’, fermented in stainless-steel to 13.1% alc. and 3 g/L RS. 18.5+/20 Oct 2018 RRP $21.99

Starborough ‘Family Estate’ ‘Sons of the Soil’ Marlborough Pinot Gris 2018

Pinot Gris from New Zealand – Marlborough


Bright, light straw-yellow colour with slight green hues, pale edged. The nose is elegant ant tightly bound with a fine core of white and yellow stonefruits along with a little nutty note, unfolding pear elements and chalky minerals. Dry to taste, the palate is softly concentrated with fresh flavours of white and yellow stonefruits with pears and subtle notes of exotic florals. The fruit forms a well-packed heart and flows along a bright and vibrant line with a little underlying power and drive. This is smooth and near seamless with fine acid balance providing energy and tension. The wine carries to an elegant, lingering finish. This is a softly concentrated, elegant dryish Pinot Gris with exotic flavours of stonefruits, pears and florals on a smooth flowing palate with some power. Serve with Asian cuisine over the next 3 years. Fruit from 85% ‘O’Dwyers Farm’ and 15% ‘Starborough Terrace’, fermented in tank with 10% in barrel to 12.8% alc., and 5.5 g/L RS, the wine aged 3 months on lees. 18.5/20 Oct 2018 RRP $21.99

Starborough ‘Family Estate’ ‘Sons of the Soil’ Marlborough Chardonnay 2017

Chardonnay from New Zealand – Marlborough


Full, light golden-yellow colour with some depth. The nose is full with well-concentrated and deep aromas of ripe citrus and yellow stonefruits along with a firm line of creamy barrel-ferment and nutty oak at the core, unfolding subtle mealy and toasty complexities and a suggestion of buttery MLF. Medium-bodied, the palate has rich and mouthfilling flavours of ripe yellow stonefruits and citrus fruits entwined with creamy barrel-ferment and nutty oak forming a firm heart. Mealy, smoky and toasty detail unfolds, adding a layer of interest. The wine flows along a fine-textured line with gentle acidity, leading to a long toasty and mealy finish. This is a rich, mouthfilling Chardonnay with complex flavours of ripe citrus and stonefruits with creamy, nutty oak and mealy notes, good firmness and fine textures. Match with roasted poultry and pork over the next 3-4 years. 100% Mendoza clone fruit from the ‘Long Lane’ vineyard, fully barrel-fermented to 12.9% alc., the wine aged 11 months in 50% new French oak, undergoing batonnage and 100% MLF. 18.5-/20 Oct 2018 RRP $27.99

Starborough ‘Family Estate’ Marlborough Pinot Noir 2017

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Marlborough


Light ruby-red colour, paler on the rim. The nose is fresh and elegant with light aromas in the cooler spectrum, showing red cherry fruit intermingling with fresh herbs, unfolding red florals. This is fresh and piquant. Medium-bodied, the palate has sweetly rich fruit flavours of red cherry and berry fruits entwined with notes of fresh herbs, with fragrant red florals and a little red liquorice, unveiling a hint of whole berry fermentation lift. A little cool-spectrum edginess shows, but is enveloped by the fruit sweetness which grows to form a soft, moderately concentrated heart. The tannins are supple, allowing accessibility, and the acidity gentle, the wine carrying to lush finish. This is a cooler spectrum Pinot Noir with red cherry and fresh herb fruit, but a sweetly rich and lush palate with aromatics and a good core and soft, supple mouthfeel. Serve with tuna and salmon, and poultry dishes over the next 3-4 years. Hand-picked fruit, 60% clones 667 and 777 from ‘O’Dwyers Farm’ and 40% clone 115 from the ‘Long Lane’ site, destemmed and fermented to 12.8% alc., the wine aged 11 months in 25% new French oak. 17.5/20 Oct 2018 RRP $27.99

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