Spy Valley 2014 ‘Envoy’ Johnson and Outpost Pinot Noirs
The Spy Valley ‘Envoy’ wines have always been the more sophisticated and complex bottlings from this highly respected Marlborough producer. Viticulturist Adam McCone and the winemaking team led by Paul Bourgeois have taken the approach of allowing the Envoy wines to express the vineyard sites and nature of the fruit and varietal expression with the least winemaker inputs or with techniques that allow the wines to show their most balanced and natural character. I personally love tasting and drinking the wines, as they are distinctive in their differences and interesting personalities. Often they require some bottle age, or once poured, a little more time than usual in the glass to reveal the full character. They always reward some thought.
Pinot Noir is the significant red variety at Spy Valley. There are 45 ha planted in the ‘Johnson Vineyard’ in the Waihopi Valley, with plantings dating back to 1993. The company also has 11 ha, which were the original Eaton Family plantings, a hillside vineyard, the vines planted in 2002. Here, I review two 2014 ‘Envoy’ Pinot Noirs, one from 1 ha (10 rows) of the 5.5 ha ‘F Block’ of the ‘Johnson Vineyard’, and the other from 1 ha, the mid-slope section of ‘Outpost Vineyard’. The comparison of the two wines is fascinating, demonstrating the differences in clonal material and site, but also the similarities as in winemaking technique in drawing out and showing the best expression of the wines that the fruit can deliver. www.spyvalleywine.co.nz
FEATURED WINES IN THIS REVIEW
Spy Valley ‘Envoy’ ‘Johnson Vineyard’ Waihopi Valley Marlborough Pinot Noir 2014Pinot Noir from New Zealand - MarlboroughReview Date : 18-Dec-2016Ruby-red colour with some depth and suggestions of purple, lighter on the rim. The nose is softly voluminous with fine and deeply presented, bright, dark-red berry fruit harmoniously entwined with dark herbs and delicate whole bunch stalk fragrances, unfolding dried herb elements, along with red florals and some oak spice. Medium-full bodied, the palate possesses a rounded, but concentrated core of juicy and sweetly ripe dark-red berry fruits entwined with dark herbs and subtle, savoury whole cluster stalk notes. The flavours gently fill the mouth and the wine is enlivened by light, lacy, background acidity. The fruit is supported by supple, fine-grained tannins and the textures carry the wine to a concentrated, lingering finish of berry fruits and dark herbs. This is a rounded and concentrated Pinot Noir with sweet dark-red berry fruit and subtle dark herb notes, on a supple palate of finesse. Serve with wild duck and pork dishes over the next 5+ years. Hand-picked 10/5 clone fruit from the ‘Johnson Estate F Block’, indigenous yeast fermented with approx. 50% whole bunches to 14.0% alc., the wine aged 16 months in 27% new French oak. 18.0+/20 Dec 2016 RRP $55.00
Spy Valley ‘Envoy’ ‘Outpost Vineyard’ Omaka Valley Marlborough Pinot Noir 2014Pinot Noir from New Zealand - MarlboroughReview Date : 18-Dec-2016Even ruby-red colour, a little lighter on the edge. The nose is initially restrained in aromatics, but grows in depth, breadth and presence to show a harmonious array of complex interwoven aromas of dark-red berry fruits with dark herbs, savoury whole bunch stalk notes, along with nuances of undergrowth and earth. The aromatics build to form a firm and well-concentrated core. Medium-full bodied, the palate features rich, luscious and succulent favours of savoury dark-red berry fruit entwined with dark and dried herbs, whole bunch stalk elements, and complex undergrowth, game and earth suggestions. The flavours are mouthfilling and the vibrancy of the palate are enhanced by fresh acidity. There is plenty of fine-grained tannin extraction providing structure, which carries the wine to a rich, textured, lingering finish. This is a succulent and vibrant red-fruited Pinot Noir with complex savoury herb and whole bunch flavours, and a well-structured palate. Match with casseroles and game meat, and semi-hard cheeses over the next 6+ years. Fruit from mid-slope in the ‘Outpost’ vineyard, clones 5, 6, 116, indigenous yeast fermented with 50% whole bunches to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 16 months in 37% new French oak. 18.5+/20 Dec 2016 RRP $55.00