Joel Watson - Martinborough's maverick winemaker

Posted by John Shearlock on

Joel Watson is a winemaker on a mission. Having made wine around the world, he knew it would take something special to get him back to NZ, and the chance to work with Pinot from two stunning sites in Martinborough was exactly that.

Martinborough was the region that first put NZ Pinot Noir on the map. Its cool, wind tempered climate bringing challenges that demand hitting a level of winemaking from where the returns can be exceptional.

Under Joel's guidance, Luna Estate's two plots on the Dry River Terrace and the Martinborough Terrace are now planted with 85% Pinot; a statement on the winery's intent to back this grape, fostered by the ambition of offering not just the high end Pinots that Martinborough is best known for, but exceptional quality at the entry level too.

The old vinestock and differing terroirs between these two Luna sites - Eclipse Vineyard on the Martinborough Terraces and Blue Rock on the Dry River Terrace, offer a fabulous contrast that is every winemaker's dream.

At Eclipse, the silty clay/loam top soil over free draining, ancient, alluvial river gravels and cooler climate drive structured powerful wines with high acidity.

At Blue Rock, planted all the way back in 1986, the soil consists of layers of clay loam, limestone, greywacke and the famous blue rock, created by marine bed formation some 190 million years ago. The wines are mineral, complex and deep yet approachable, as evinced by the Syrah and other aromatic grapes that thrive on this site.

Come and join Joel for a Pinot masterclass as he tastes and opens the Luna portfolio including not just three Pinots, but his rare Pinot Meunier and Blue Rock Syrah. This is Martinborough's newest winery with a big vision for the region.

Tickets are available here.

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