William Grace Martinborough Pinot Noir 2012

The ‘William Grace’ label represents Mark St Clair and Debbie Bowie’s dream of making a special Pinot Noir wine with burgundy in mind. The name comes from an amalgamation of the middle names of their children, younger son James and older sister Emma, and represents the family’s total involvement in growing and making the wine. Mark and Debbie purchased ‘Waihinga Gardens’ a small property in New York Street on the Martinborough Terrace in Martinborough in 2009, and planted 0.1 ha to 1,000 vines, 750 in Abel clone and 250 to clone 115. This equates to a density of 10,000 vines per hectare! They tend their vines at the extreme end also, to ensure low yields, with one bunch per shoot and no irrigation once the vines were established. They keep to organic and biodynamic regimes. Mark and Debbie have received considerable support by the local vignerons, as their peers possibly see William Grace as an idealist operation, and appreciate the thought and work gone into it. The vineyard was established with the advice of Pete Wilkins, then viticulturist at Martinborough Vineyard, and the first wine from the 2012 vintage was made at Martinborough Vineyard with Paul Mason. Only one barrel was made.

I visited William Grace in May last year (click here to read my report), and I had the opportunity to taste a sample of the unfinished wine as a barrel sample. Considering the challenging, cool 2012 vintage, I was very pleased with what I saw. The 2013 vintage is a step up, the wine from a warmer and superior vintage, though the yields were affected. And again, there’s a further improvement with the 2014, when the Martinborough region experienced a consecutive superb vintage, and this year saw a more productive crop for Mark and Debbie. I believe William Grace looks to be a very interesting label to follow, especially if you’re a burgundy enthusiast and prefer elegance over up-front fruitiness. Here is my review of the 2012. www.williamgrace.co.nz


  • William Grace Martinborough Pinot Noir 2012

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