Red wines from Marlborough

On my last evening in Blenheim, the buzzing metropolis at the heart of the Marlborough wine region, I dined with Jim Robertson (Pernod Ricard’s wine ambassador) and Jeremy Oliver (one of Australia’s leading wine journos) at Raupo, a relaxed bistro on the riverbank.

The wine list could, in all honesty, do with a bit of work, but we found some interesting reds on it.

Marlborough is rightly famous as the home of Sauvignon Blanc, and in its message to the rest of the world, this should remain centre stage. But in communicating to more involved consumers, the story of red wine in the region could do with telling a bit more actively. That’s because there are boutique wineries (and even larger wineries) in the region making some very interesting reds. Not only Pinot Noir, but also Syrah, oddities such as Montepulciano, and as we found out here – even Bordeaux varieties.

Framingham Montepulciano 2008 Marlborough
13% alcohol. Fresh and bright with nice cherry fruit. Berryish with some spiciness. Supple, fruity and finishing quite juicy, this is very appealing. I really like the combination of sweet fruit with fresh acidity and subtle spiciness. 91/100

TerraVin Pinot Noir 2008 Marlborough
14.5% alcohol. This was a little controversial. It’s a very rich, darkly fruited Pinot that tastes more of Sonoma than Marlborough, and someone felt it was a bit bretty. Ripe with sweet black cherry fruit, and some meaty, spicy notes. 89/100

TerraVin J Cabernet Merlot Malbec 2003 Marlborough
13% alcohol. Rare to see a Bordeaux blend from this part of the world, but it works. Mike Eaton planted some of these varieties at his wife’s request. Intense, fresh blackcurrant fruit with notes of cloves, tar and spice. Grippy and fresh with lots of blackcurrant character and a spicy finish. Surprisingly good. 92/100

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