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Featured Reviews




TerraVin ‘Eaton Family Vineyard’ Pinot Noir 2013 – 2011

25 June,2018

Since Highfield and TerraVin merged in mid-2015, the combined company has been somewhat under the radar. Things have continued quietly, though there have been some changes. Gordon Ritchie is the chief winemaker and oversees the 32 ha of estate vineyards with consultancy from Bart Arnst. Pete Coldwell, who was general manager, and Alistair Soper who was the Highfield winemaker have departed to pursue other wine interests. The company has continued to make the TerraVin and Highfield wines which are sold mainly in the U.K. and Australian markets. However, the owners, the ‘Pinot Partners’, a syndicate of wine-enthusiastic investors are keen to see the brands have a stronger presence in the domestic market. This will involve some consolidation of the ranges of wines made, with Highfield concentrating on Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. TerraVin will no longer produce the single vineyard wines but will probably bring forward their ‘Te Ahu’ flagship tier to encompass their top Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines.

The company still has limited stocks of some single vineyard Pinot Noirs, including the ‘Eaton Family Vineyard’ which was the hillside Southern Valleys site of TerraVin founder Mike Eaton. This site has yielded very attractive, refined wines with excellent aromatic character. Gordon Ritchie tells me the intention is to market the 2013, 2012 and 2011 vintages as a vertical tasting pack, very much as they did with the ‘Estate ‘ Pinot Noirs of the same years in 2016 (click here to see my reviews). Here are Gordon’s remarks on the vintages: 2013saw a late start, but warm November and December temperatures resulted in beautifully ripe grapes. Harvest was between 27 March and 15 April. In2012, a cool spring and summer saw reduced yields, but the March ‘Indian Summer’ resulted in wines of excellent concentration. Harvest was between 3 April and 1 May.2011was a moderate yielding vintage of small berries, the wines concentrated, but well balanced. Harvest was between 17 March and 4 April. Here are my reviews of the TerraVin ‘Eaton’ Pinot Noirs 2013 to 2011. All are in their maturity plateau and are showing secondary complexities, yet retain the vineyard fragrance and elegance. www.terravin.co.nz

FEATURED WINES IN THIS REVIEW



TerraVin ‘Eaton Family Vineyard’ Marlborough Pinot Noir 2013

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Marlborough

18.5+/20

Dark garnet-red colour with some depth, a little lighter on the rim with a hint of bricking. The bouquet is soft and gently full with harmoniously and seamlessly interwoven aromas of red berry fruits along with subtle notes of dried herbs and fragrant red florals. Some undergrowth and mushroom secondary complexities unfold. The aromatics show finesse, elegance and pretty, fragrant lift. Medium-bodied, the palate has a soft and lush, sweet core of red berry fruits along with complexing secondary dried herbs entwined with lifted red florals. A little undergrowth and mushroom detail adds to the interest. The fruit sweetness and richness is underlined by soft, fine-grained tannin extraction and structure, and the mouthfeel is soft and supple in texture. The wine carries smoothly to a gentle, lingering finish. This is a smooth, sweetly luscious Pinot Noir with savoury red fruits and dried herb notes with fragrant red florals on a supple palate. This is beginning to drink at its best. Serve with wild duck and pork over the next 3+ years. Clones 667 and 777 from the ‘Eaton Family Vineyard’, from vines planted in 1998 and 1999, fruit fully destemmed and indigenous yeast fermented to 13.0% alc., the wine aged 16 months in 28% new oak. 18.5+/20 Jun 2018 RRP $80.00

TerraVin ‘Eaton Family Vineyard’ Marlborough Pinot Noir 2012

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Marlborough

19/20

Full, even, dark garnet-red colour, a little lighter on the rim with hints of bricking. The nose is firmly packed with well-concentrated aromas of dark-red and black-berried fruits along with dark herbs forming a firm core and heart. The fruit retains freshness and vibrancy, and still has the potential to develop more complexity. With aeration, black minerals, a little undergrowth and lifted dark-red florals unfold. Medium-bodied, the palate is elegantly concentrated with a firm, tight heart of dark-red and black-berried fruits along with dark and dried herbs. The fruit has freshness and fragrance, with dark florals and minerals notes. The mouthfeel is bright and lively with fresh acidity, and the fruit is underlined by a fine line of tannin extraction and structure. This has sweetness and linearity, and carries to a long, sustained finish of ripe dark-red and black fruit with some undergrowth interest. This is a firm and well-packed dark-red and black-fruited Pinot Noir with freshness and developing notes of secondary interest with a fine, firm structure. Match with lamb, beef and venison over the next 4-5+ years. Clones 667 and 777 from the ‘Eaton Family Vineyard’, from vines planted in 1998 and 1999, the fruit fully destemmed and indigenous yeast fermented to 12.5% alc., the wine aged 17 months in 33% new oak. 19.0/20 Jun 2018 RRP $80.00

TerraVin ‘Eaton Family Vineyard’ Marlborough Pinot Noir 2011

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Marlborough

18.5/20

Even garnet-red colour, lighter on the rim with some bricking. The bouquet is full and broad with even volume, showing integrated aromas of red berry fruits seamlessly layered with dark and dried herbs, along with undergrowth, mushrooms and cedar.. The aromatics are expressed with smooth intensity and penetration, and are complete in proportion. Medium-bodied, the flavours are rich, soft and smooth with a mouthfilling breadth, of harmoniously interwoven flavours of savoury dark-red berryfruit with dried herbs, red floral nuances and a layering of undergrowth and mushrooms. The fruit richness is countered by fine, grainy, slightly drying tannins and integrated acidity lending a soft-textured grip. The flavours and textures carry to a full, broad and even finish. This is a seamlessly layered and integrated Pinot Noir with savoury red fruits and secondary development on a soft, textured palate with fine-grained tannins. This is on its maturity plateau. Serve with coq au vin and casseroles over the next 3 years. Clones 667 and 777 from the ‘Eaton Family Vineyard’, from vines planted in 1998 and 1999, indigenous yeast fermented with 5% whole clusters to 13.4% alc., the wine aged 17 months in 40% new oak. 18.5/20 Jun 2018 RRP $80.00

Clones 667 and 777 from the ‘Eaton Family Vineyard’, from vines planted in 1998 and 1999, indigenous yeast fermented with 5% whole clusters to 13.4% alc., the wine aged 17 months in 40% new oak. Moderately deep, dark ruby-red colour with some garnet hues. The bouquet is elegantly proportioned with ethereal aromas of red berry fruits, red florals and minerals that build in volume and intensity in the glass. Oaking is sensitive and subtle earth and dried herb complexities unfold. Medium-full bodied, this is finely presented with well-concentrated and deep flavours of dark red berry fruits entwined with red florals. Some secondary dried herb complexity is present. Very fine-grained, flowery tannins underline the fruit, and along with the discreet, lacy acidity carry the wine to a fine-textured, sustained finish with sweet red floral and dried herb notes. This is a finely structured and concentrated Pinot Noir with aromatic red fruits and florals along with subtle secondary complexities. Match with wild duck and pork dishes as well as hard cheeses over the next 6-7 years. 18.5-/20 Feb 2015 RRP $80.00
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