jamie goode's wine blog

Friday, January 29, 2010

New Zealand, day 5 - Martinborough/Wairarapa

Four very good visits today. Pictured above, Neil McCallum of Dry River, whose wines are just incredible. I met with him - an engaging, interesting host, and Poppy and Shayne Hammond (below), winemaker and viticulturalist, respectively. The team here is doing a fantastic job.

The viticulture at Dry River is immaculate, with a split canopy system, total leaf pluck in the fruit zone, and reflective sheets under the vine to allow extra UV exposure to the developing bunches.

Then off to see another of the region's stars: Ata Rangi. Pictured above are Phyll and Clive Paton. The wines are beautifully expressive.

Here's the team at visit 3, Martinborough Vineyard: Pete Wilkins (vineyards), Janine Tulloch (general manager) and Paul Mason (winemaking): great hosts, got a good feed, and the wines were spot on. Especially liked the rare Shiraz Viognier, and the super-concentrated low yield 2007 Pinot. Good Riesling, too.

Home block vineyard, Martinborough vineyards (above)

Final visit, before my drive to Napier, was at Gladstone, in the Gladstone district of Wairarapa about 20 minutes from Martinborough. They're making super wines, but also doing good work with their vineyards. Above is buckwheat, used as a cover crop to encourage beneficial parasitic wasps.
It's owned by Scots Christine and David Kernohan (above). Below is one of their vineyards.
Over three hours drive to Napier. Went down to dinner on my own, only to meet up with Tim Atkin and later Oz Clarke. A jolly way to pass the time. Syrah symposium tomorrow.

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

NZ: from Central Otago to Martinborough

Finished my Central Otago leg with two great appointments: Peregrine (top image) and Gibbston Valley. Peregrine's 2008 Pinots are brilliantly fresh and elegant, with lovely poise. Gibbston are making great wines across the board, and Chris Keys, the young winemaker here seems on top form. The 2009 Pinots will be something worth waiting for if the barrel samples are anything to go by.

Then it was off to Wellington via Christchurch. Internal flying in New Zealand is as painless as flying can be. It's just so low stress; I guess the whole country is pretty low stress.

I picked up a hire car and drove to Martinborough, a 90-minute journey that gets winding and pretty in places. Wellington is a bigger city than I'd realized.

I'm staying for one night at Peppers Martinborough Hotel, a beautiful period-style hotel that has been beautifully restored. I managed to get here in time to get a feed in the bar, while watching Murray's semi on the big screen. The food was fantastic: a beautiful belly pork on a bed of asian slaw, washed down with a couple of Emersons (the red wines were at room temperature, which was about 25 C, which put me off).

Now for some winery visits. Dry River first, then Ata Rangi, then Martinborough, then Gladstone, then a long-ish drive to Napier for the Syrah Symposium.

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