William Grace Martinborough Pinot Noir 2013
William Grace is the Martinborough micro wine venture of Mark St Clair and Debbie Bowie who have an extreme vineyard at the ‘Waihinga Gardens’ property on New York Street. Being a burgundy wine enthusiast, Mark has adopted the techniques in making the best wines. In 2009, they planted their 0.1 ha to 1,000 vines, 75% to Abel clone and 25% to clone 115, this being a density of 10,000 vines per hectare. The vineyard is managed to organic and biodynamic regimes and the viticulture is aimed at low yields with one bunch per shoot and no irrigation. The wine is made at the Martinborough Vineyard facility with Paul Mason overseeing the winemaking. In May of 2013 I visited William Grace and made a report (click here to see), and in September last year, I reviewed the inaugural release from the 2012 vintage (click here for the review).
Being a very small enterprise, the William Grace wine is subject to the vagaries of agriculture and vintage variation, more so than a larger operation, and small batch winemaking must be undertaken with great care. So the wine will no doubt show greater range of character due to what are deemed relatively minor influences by other winegrowers. No doubt as the vineyard grows in maturity, there will be a much more consistent behaviour. Mark reports that 2013 was a vintage where yields were affected from the poor flowering and fruit set from the high winds, though the growing conditions were warmer than 2012. 2014 saw a return to the predicted cropping (still very low), but 2015 again has given a small harvest, with the clone 115 fruit particularly affected.
FEATURED WINES IN THIS REVIEW
William Grace Martinborough Pinot Noir 2013Pinot Noir from New Zealand - Wairarapa & WellingtonReview Date : 12-Jul-2015The second release of this label. 75% Abel and 25% clone 115 fruit from the ‘William Grace’ vineyard, vines planted 2009, hand-picked and fully destemmed, and indigenous yeast fermented to 12.5% alc., the wine spending 19 days on skins and aged 12 months in a 1 y.o. Francois Freres barrel. Bottled without fining or filtering. Very dark, deep, black-red colour with youthful purple hues, lighter on rim. The nose is firmly concentrated with tightly bound aromas of dark red berry fruit and black cherries entwined with savoury and nutty, resinous oak elements. With aeration, dark red and violet florals, raspberry fruit, spices and liquorice emerge to offer an array of aromatics. Medium-bodied, softly sweet and gently luscious fruit flavours of dark red berries and cherries are infused with nuances of savoury dried herbs, spices and liquorice, along with nutty, resinous oak notes. The mouthfeel is lush and supple, and the fruit supported by fine-grained, powdery tannin extraction, balanced by fresh, underlying acidity. This has vibrant juiciness and good aromatic lift as the wine leads to a soft, dry-textured, spicy, nutty finish. This is a medium-bodied Pinot Noir with soft, lusciously juicy fruit and savoury, resinous oak elements and a fine-textured palate. Match with wild duck and pork dishes over the next 5-6 years. 21 dozen made. 18.0-/20 Jul 2015 RRP $45.00 Very full, dark red colour, youthful. The nose is bright and lifted with aromatic red berry fruit, with good ripeness. Some liquorice and funky peppery elements and sweet oak notes show. On palate quite lush, juicy and sweet fruited, still quite primary with raspberryish fruit, savoury spice notes and funky sour cherry elements. The acidity is fresh, lacy and lively and tannins grainy and firm. There’s an easy fleshiness here. Is this a little too funky? 5+ years. Abel and 115 clone, planted at 10,000 vines/ha, destemmed. 18.0/20 Oct 2014 RRP $45.00