Archer McRae 2010 Pinot Noir and 2011 Cabernet Franc

Originally coming from Australia, Chris Archer is one of New Zealand’s most enthusiastic winemakers. His considerable industry experience includes production at the iconic Tyrrells winery in the Hunter Valley and time in Bordeaux, before eventually taking up positions in this country at Morton Estate in Katikati and Alana Estate in Martinborough. Leaving the latter, he set up ‘Archer McRae’ with his partner Cath Hopkin in 2009, to hand-craft limited quantities of wine to showcase terroir.

Chris has very strong views in his approach to making wines, wishing to capture the unique attributes and expressions each variety gives and how they interact with the site where they are grown. He calls himself a "gypsy winemaker” taking his specially designed tanks and equipment to the locale of the vines and fruit to make the wines. Three wines have been made so far, a Riesling and Pinot Noir in 2010, both from Martinborough, and a Cabernet Franc from Hawke’s Bay in 2011, from fruit from selected rows from specific single vineyards.

Concurrently Chris created ‘Joiy’ a sparkling Riesling-based wine beverage, this project growing exponentially and becoming nearly totally consuming in terms of time, resource and energy. Nowadays, the making of ‘Joiy’ has become the primary focus of Archer McRae, with the terroir-based wines on hold. Chris intends to resume his Archer McRae wines in the future. Here, I review the two red wines made to date, the Riesling now sold out. Of particular note is the labelling of the wines, featuring the textural artwork of their friend, noted New Zealand artist Lynne Sandri.


  • Archer McRae Martinborough Pinot Noir 2010
  • Archer McRae Hawke’s Bay Cabernet Franc 2011

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