Lauraine Jacobs

Food Writer and Author of Delicious Books

Wines to drink

14 April 2010


I have been to the tiny wine district of Martinborough many times. It’s famous for an extraordinary event held each year, Toast Martinborough. Possibly the best wine event on the New Zealand calendar. But it is also just as famous for its Pinot Noir wines.

Long before the rush for gold in Central Otago and the planting of every possible slope and patch of land there as far as the eye can see, a few pioneers chanced their arm with plantings of Pinot Noir on a terrace in the Wairarapa region in the town of Martinborough thatwas not much more than a dot on the map. The early winemakers there in 1980, Neil McCallum at Dry River, Clive Paton at Atarangi, along with the late Stan Chifney, followed by Larry McKenna at Martinborough Vineyard in 1986, knew what they were onto. And thirty years later the Pinot Noirs of this region are still my preferred red if I get to choose.

We opened several bottles of wine with a group of friends the other night and for me, the star of the night was from a vineyard that was established in the district just over ten years ago. The Alana Estate Martinborough Pinot Noir 2006 had everything I expected to find. Dark and broody in colour, complex in aroma with an almost violet fragrance, and when sipped, proved to be truly delicious. A real Martinborough treat to seek out.

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