Martinborough Vineyard 2015 Chardonnay, 2015 Te Tera, 2014 Home Block and 2013 Marie Zelie Pinot Noirs

05-May-2017
Martinborough Vineyard is one of the pioneers of the Martinborough winegrowing district, first planting Pinot Noir vines in 1980. The company has an illustrious history of making some of the region and country’s finest wines. After a period of difficult trading exacerbated by the GFC, the company came into ownership by Foley Family Wines in 2014, joining the portfolio that nearby Te Kairanga became part of in 2011. Consolidation and investment, just as at Te Kairanga has seen Martinborough Vineyard resume its position as one of the producers of some of the district’s top wines. Martinborough Vineyard draws from around 42 ha of vineyards, some shared with Te Kairanga, and crushes around 150-200 tonnes annually. The asset of old vines is the heart of the quality, and this is treated with great respect by winemaker Paul Mason who has been with the company since 2007. He is assisted by Phill McArthur, working at Martinborough Vineyard since 2010. The viticulture is under the care of Dave Shepherd, who also tends the Te Kairanga vineyards. The premium tier comprises the ‘Estate’ wines from the best fruit from established vineyards. The ‘Te Tera’ range introduced in 2002 comprises wines which are more approachable in their youth. The ‘Marie Zelie; is the limited release super-premium Pinot Noir.

The ‘Marie Zelie’’ Pinot Noir
The ‘Marie Zelie’ is the flagship wine of Martinborough Vineyard, taking over from the ‘Reserve’ Pinot Noir developed in earlier years. It is a barrel selection wine, made only in exceptional years. Invariably it comes from the best-performing and oldest blocks of estate vines. It is named after Marie Zelie Hermance Frere who married Wairarapa pioneer William Beetham; she planted 3,000 vines at their Highmore Estate in 1892. (Click here to read my report and tasting notes of her 1903 Lansdowne Claret, the oldest known surviving wine made in New Zealand.) Her great, great niece married Derek Milne, one of the founders of Martinborough Vineyard. The first vintage of ‘Marie Zelie’ was the 2003, released in 2006. There were 737 bottles made. The other vintages released have been the 2006, with 984 bottles, 2008 with 1,096 bottles, and the 2010 with 1,868 bottles. The 2013 vintage is the fifth release with 1,312 bottles and 32 magnums made. Winemaker Paul Mason is particularly pleased with this wine as he considers it shows the character of the older ‘Home’ blocks, and the 10/5, 5 and Abel clones, these contributing to greater secondary complexity and tannin completeness. He says it shows a "real Martinboroughness”. Here, I review the 2015 ‘Home Block’ Chardonnay, and a trio of Pinot Noirs, the 2015 ‘Te Tera, 2014 ‘Home Block’ and the 2013 ‘Marie Zelie’. All of the wines grow in richness with aeration. www.martinborough-vineyard.co.nz

FEATURED WINES IN THIS REVIEW

  • Martinborough Vineyard ‘Home Block’ Martinborough Chardonnay 2015
  • Martinborough Vineyard ‘Te Tera’ Martinborough Pinot Noir 2015
  • Martinborough Vineyard ‘Home Block’ Martinborough Pinot Noir 2014
  • Martinborough Vineyard ‘Marie Zelie’ ‘Reserve’ Martinborough Pinot Noir 2013

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