Martinborough, New Zealand

Martinborough vineyards

We started our tasting after lunch at Ata Rangi; Puruatanga Rd, Martinborough; T 06 306 9570.  Here we tasted their sauvignon blanc, 2 chardonnays and 2 pinot noirs. We gladly paid $5 per head.  The whites were nowhere near as good as Hawke’s Bay.  The 2008 pinots (one young vines (Crimson), one their normal (approx $60)) were both all tannin and no fruit.  A terrible disappointment for this top rated estate. The Crimson was available in half bottles.

Somewhat down we headed across the street to Vynfields; Puruatanga Rd, Martinborough; T 06 306 9901.  Their vineyard is organic; a nice looking place.  Tasted 2008 and 2007 pinots, the latter a reserve despite the poor vintage.  Both were all tannin and no fruit.

Tirohana Vineyard entrance

Tirohana Vineyard entrance with cellar door and restaurant in the background

Now thoroughly depressed we again went across the road to Tirohana; Puruatanga Rd, Martinborough; T 06 306 9933.  Tasted the 2008 ($45) and 2007 pinots, the latter in half bottles because of the poor vintage.  At long last fruit to go with plenty of tannins.  The 07 was described as ‘reduced jus’ – a fair call.  The 05 and 06 were also available.  On their advice bought the 05 special reserve for dinner ($85).

Palliser Estates cellar door

Palliser Estates cellar door and offices

The next morning we started at the Palliser Estate; Kitchener St, Martinborough; T 06 306 9019.  This is the largest commercial operation in Martinborough.  Very good method tradionelle 06 ($34).  Good Sauvignon Blanc.  2008 Pinot ($42) had good fruit and tannin.  The 2nd label 08 pinot was great value for money and reminiscent of a good bourgogne rouge.

Around the corner was Martinborough Vineyard; Princess St, Martinborough; T 06 306 9955.  The 2008 Pinot at around $70 was a disappointment relative to its reputation and price; probably from the bottle being open too long.  The cheaper but rated Te Terra range was not available for tasting.

We then headed in the direction of Ata Range and stopped off at Schubert Wines; Huangarua Rd, Martinborough; T 06 306 8505.  Their 2008 Marion’s Vineyard pinot noir ($48) was great – good fruit and tannins.  The Block B pinot was not available for tasting (approx $60) nor was their Syrah. The 2008 Dolce ($33) sticky was very sweet but still had good acids; made from grapes raisinated on the vine.

Alana Estate cellar door

Alana Estate cellars and restaurant

The last place before headed back along the back roads to Greytown was Alana Estate; Puruatanga Rd, Martinborough; T 06 306 9784.  2007 Pinot ($60) made from a reduced crop.  Good fruit and tannins with nice earthy tones on the palate – the only one we tasted that had these.