Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Is the Martinborough Region now producing the world's best Pinot Noir?

Now you all know from past blogs, that I have always thought Martinborough is the only place in New Zealand to grow classic Pinot Noir. By classic, I mean complex, layered, textured, savoury, lingering and long-lived. Well it looks to me if the world is about to realise that too!

Many newspapers and wine critics, including Huon Hooke, writing in the Melbourne Age, are head-lining the fact that a $200 bottle of New Zealand pinot noir beat off a strong field, including a $7000 bottle of French burgundy in a blind tasting in the US.

"Martinborough Vineyard Reserve Pinot Noir 1998 triumphed over one of the world's most prestigious wines, 1990 Domaine de la Romanee-Conti La Tache, to take No.1 ranking in the World's Top 20 Pinot Noirs competition in Pasadena, USA. Twelve judges blind-tasted 20 wines from New Zealand, the US, France, Germany and Australia. The competition was based on the 1976 Judgment of Paris, which caused a sensation when a Californian wine was chosen over famous French wines. As well as being ranked No.1 overall, the Martinborough Vineyard wine also received the most No.1 rankings - from three of the judges".

From a personal perspective, we at Murdoch James came to Martinborough to grow Pinot Noir because it had the potential to craft wines equal to the best of Burgundy. Now we believe the world is about to find out how much the dedicated winemakers in our region have moved from potential to reality in regards to that criteria.

There is something special about the vines, soils, climate and people here that create a very special terroir. What you now need to look for are the subtle differences in Martinborough's sub-appellations. For example, the wines from the lime rich soils of the Dry River region are noticably different to those grown on the gravels north of the village.

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