Vintage was in full swing in Martinborough when our wine experts, including yours truly, here at Regional were given the chance to try three super new wines from this tiny wine region, over the hill and 90 minutes’ drive away from Wellington.
It’s been a small harvest this year. There are fewer bunches of grapes and significantly lighter ones too, which means the quality is likely to be good to very good but the volumes are small. The region’s usually bone dry weather and strong winds were exacerbated by spring frosts, summer heat and lack of moisture, so watch out for 2021 wines when they start trickling onto the market later this year (for whites) and later next year for the first reds. In the meantime, we have taken on three new wines from Martinborough’s rapidly expanding Te Muna Road area from the old Julicher Vineyard. This property is now owned by yachtee Brad Butterworth, four times winner of the America’s Cup as the tactician for New Zealand and winner of the Whitbread Round the World Race, among many other seafaring accolades.
Here are the tasting notes I wrote about them, which include facts and a few stats for those interested in the nerdy end of the detail. If you’re not interested in the data, check out the delicious flavours of this tasty new trio, available in store at Regional now.
2019 Butterworth Sauvignon Blanc RRP $25.99
This is a deliciously distinctive, flinty dry white, offering a stylish take on the Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc theme. It's made entirely from estate grown fruit and since only 1600 bottles were produced by winemaker Martin Bell, it’s worth beating a path to find some of your on. Grapes were whole bunch pressed into old French oak barrels, the youngest being five years old. The wine is very concentrated, very dry and has lively acidity with great balance which adds zingy appeal to this great white from Martinborough.
2020 Butterworth Dry Riesling RRP $31.99
Dry Riesling is gaining prominence here in New Zealand, as it is globally, and this one was picked late, towards the end of Covid on 10 April 2020. It is technically speaking an off dry wine with 6.5 grams residual sugar, which is beautifully balanced by refreshing noticeable acidity, both giving the wine a lingering, lovely and lively finish.
2018 Butterworth Pinot Noir RRP $53.99
Pinot Noir clones 5, Abel, 666 and 667 go into this wine and all come from the Ranger Block, the new name for the home block at the Julicher Vineyard site. Winemaker Martin Bell matured this Pinot Noir for 11 months in French oak, 25% new. It has great fruit weight and concentration, which Bell says comes from both the clones and because it’s a barrel selection of his best Pinot Noirs, so a combination of winemaking methods finds its way into this lovely Pinot Noir.