2008 Martinborough Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir •Estate Vineyard
New Zealand: Martinborough
What We Say
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Mission Codename: The Kiwi Connection
Operative: Agent White
Objective: Secure an exclusive and delicious single vineyard Pinot Noir from New Zealand
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Alana Estate
Wine Subject: 2008 Martinborough Pinot Noir
Winemaker: Chris Archer
Martinborough, at the southern tip of New Zealand’s North Island sits at 40 degrees south (about equivalent to Mendocino on the northern side) is well know for intense and distinct Pinot Noir reminiscent of those from Burgundy. While Pinot Noir thrives in its mineral-laden soils and cool climate other varietals such as Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Riesling also does very well. The region accounts for about 1% of New Zealand’s total wine production.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Deep garnet and ruby with a clean dense core that shows ruby red and violet highlights. The color remains intense to the very edge of the glass and when swirled the initially fat legs thin as they streak down the side of the glass.
Smell – Expansive aromas of tart black cherry are integrated with classic Pinot scents of floral violets, soft earth, sweet exotic spice and toasted vanilla oak.
Feel – Smooth and dry, this medium-to-full bodied wine has silky fine tannins with subtle firmness. Bright acidity and earthy dark minerality blend with a touch of spice hits on the tip of the tongue.
Taste – Not quite lean or austere, the tart black cherry along with hints of cranberry and plum fruit shines through but doesn’t overpower the balanced flavors of earth, exotic sweet spice, toasted oak, mocha and cola flavors that glide over the palate.
Finish – Medium in length and super clean in character with this wine’s silky texture gripping the black cherry and other flavors as they fade softly.
Conclusion – The 2008 Alana Estate Martinborough Pinot Noir is a delicious single vineyard Pinot that rivals California, Oregon and even the best of Burgundy. Showing its own distinct character of finesse and balance, and regardless of your preference, this wine is sure to please.
AGENT WHITE: Greetings, Ian. We are thrilled to be showing your 2008 Alana Estate Pinot Noir today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
IAN: It’s a pleasure, thank you.
WHITE: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
IAN: On a trip to Burgundy many years ago I visited the wine cellars in Beaune and have been hooked ever since.
WHITE: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
IAN: Once again Burgundy white and red. La Montrachet is a wine that is the holy grail of Chardonnay and we strive to emulate this style, with red it’s the area of Nuit St George in Burgundy and its pinot that has the influence.
WHITE: Who do you make wine for?
IAN: We strive to make wine that can be enjoyed and appreciated by the range of consumers, whether or not they are wine enthusiasts.
WHITE: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today
IAN:. The 08 Pinot is typical of the Pinot style that we strive to produce at Alana Estate. The wine exhibits graceful distinctiveness and exudes Alana Estate’s single vineyard personality. While the Pinot is unfined and unfiltered, it is beautifully scented, perfumed and elegant with fine knitted tannins that give the wine great structure.
WHITE: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
IAN: I enjoy this Pinot with several foods from pasta to meat dishes. However, I would have to say my personal favorite is when we pair it with game meats like duck and pheasant.
WHITE: In your opinion, what makes the Martinborough region so special?
IAN: The entire Martinborough region in the southernmost point of the North Island is widely regarded as a perfect climate for growing Pinot Noir. Alana Estate is located on the northern edge of the Martinborough Terrace, and is believed to be the driest area of this cool climate region. Our free draining alluvial soils and cool climate give us a terroir that is ideal for Pinot Noir. We believe it is so special that we work very hard to respect the terroir and let our Pinot Noir reflect a true expression of it.
WHITE: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
IAN: We have just finished the 2010 vintage and attending to the ferments as they finish. Tonnage and quality are superb so great wines to look forward to.
WHITE: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?
IAN: Interest in New World wines from New Zealand is growing, the wines are evolving and becoming more and more focused and individual. Discovering new boutique wines that you can enjoy is great fun! In general we believe consumers should enjoy wines they want to drink no matter if it’s at the lower or higher price end. It’s what you like about the wine and it’s the wine itself that counts.
WHITE: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
IAN: Just to say thanks again, we hope you enjoy our wines as much as we enjoyed making them.
WHITE: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Alana Estate in the Martinborough, New Zealand can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
Awards & Accolades:
90 Points – Tasting Panel Magazine – Dense; long and meaty; balanced, ripe, and complex.
Rusty Gaffney, Pinotfile, Prince of Pinot, California, USA – Grapes were handpicked and 100% de-stemmed. Aged in French oak for 10 months and settled in stainless for an additional 5 months. Unfined and unfiltered. Bottled July 3, 2009. A black cherry bombast in the nose and on the palate. A hint of cola and spice add interest with oak playing a subtle supporting role. The most striking feature of this wine is the velvety texture. Beautifully crafted and perfectly harmonious, this is a complete wine. One of the best Pinot Noirs I have ever sampled from New Zealand.
Barbara Drady, Founder, The Wine Evangelist, Calif. USA: When it comes to Pinot Noir is it ever too late? I’ve been hearing from a whole lot of Pinot producers who didn’t submit their wines to the Pinot Noir shootout this year and have been asking if it is too late to participate in the 8th Annual Pinot Summit. The answer is ….yes, it’s too late to submit your wines if you’re a winery, but it’s NOT TOO late if you want to attend this year’s Pinot Summit.
One winery was incredibly persistent in trying to submit their wines. Alana Estate was not not on my radar screen. The tried like crazy to get me their wine in time to participate in our Pinot Noir Shootout competition.
Unfortunately, their wine was “on the water” (on a container and had not yet arrived in the U.S) Once the wine landed they shipped three wines for me to taste. I decided to taste the Alana Estate 2008 Single Vineyard Pinot Noir from Martinborough, New Zealand tonight as I worked on details for the Summit. I had no intention of writing about this wine but when it comes to Pinot…. I’m hopeless so here it is: This wine is opulent, much more lush than I’m used to finding in New Zealand wines. It’s more delicious than elegant. It’s a great example of well made Pinot. We look forward to sharing this wine with our judges and Summit attendees next year!
Pigs and Pinot, 2010, Healdsburg – Alana 2008 Pinot was one of 50 Pinots worldwide selected for the Prestigious Pigs and Pinot Food and Wine event held in California in March 20-21 2010.
About This Wine:
This wine exudes Alana’s single vineyard personality, words like supple, plush, scented and perfumed come to mind when enjoying a glass. In general terms this wine has made itself, a very minimalistic approach was possible due to the balanced fruit received from the vineyard, hence no finings or filtration were necessary. My personal achievement in this wine is the honing of the Alana tannin expression on the back palate, the tannins are prominent in the structure of the wine while remaining knitted into the flavour and expressing itself with elegant suave. These tannins keep the palate light and tight on the finish leaving the natural acidity integrated and balanced. This wine can be enjoyed now but will delight in long term cellaring. – Chris Archer, Winemaker
The Vintage: The early bud break in the first weeks of September led the vineyard team in to early frost fighting mode, successfully surviving 6 events that carried on through to mid November. Other than the annoyance of these frost mornings, the 2007, 2008 season has all the hallmarks of Martinborough in the 80’s. The usual November – December winds racked the vineyards, slowing our vigour as vines closed stomata’s to hold water retention. The average temperatures (20°C) have been slightly higher than average as well as night time temperature pre- veraison which helped to successfully complete fertilisation in rapid succession of all our varietals, except Sauvignon Blanc which struggled with a well timed Southerly. This average heat load has bided well for vineyard lignifications and phenolic maturity in the early half of the 07-08 seasons. The average temperatures after the month of January were in decline heading into autumn, growth and photosynthesis dropped dramatically from March to April as Heat degree growing days were almost zero, and this was coupled with three wet northerly weather fronts that increased disease pressure with higher humidity. In essence, the cool climate growing varieties were well suited to these conditions as long as vineyard management was on top of disease measures.
- The grapes were handpicked, sorted and 100% de-stemmed.
- The pick of Pinot Noir started on the 20th of March and finished on the 21st of April
- The wine has been made using the same hopper extraction techniques utilised since 2006 using low mechanical extraction. This promotes a style that has rich suppleness with integrated tannins
- The wine matured in French oak for ten months and settled in stainless for a further 5 months.
- The wine has had no finings and has had no filtration other than gravity.
- Bottled on the 3rd of July 2009.
About The Winery:
Alana Estate is located on the Northern edge of the famed Martinborough Terrace. The microclimate and unique soil structures combine to produce beautiful complex wines with their own unique characteristics.
Alana Estate was founded by Ian and Alana Smart who still work day to day in the Company. Alana wines are very sought after around the world and are on strict allocation. Markets in the USA and UK account for the majority of exports. An allocation of wine is purchased by a strong local customer base. Three to four concerts per year are held at the vineyard each summer season featuring local and international acts.
We would love you to be part of the Alana Estate Friends and Family and invite you to complete your details below. We will advise you about upcoming concerts, offer you some wine and generally inform you about what is happening in the vineyard and industry. This is a wonderful industry to be in and we look forward to sharing our passion and wines with you.
First established In 1993 the founding shareholders headed by Ian and Alana Smart had a strong vision for this 17 hectares of land on the north edge of the Martinborough Terrace. 14 years later this dream has being realised beyond their original expectations.
The first vintage was in 1997 and over the following two to three years the vineyard was developed further.
The original vision of producing premium wines has been with Alana Estate since its inception and is true today. Viticulture and wine making practices are hands on – hand picked, hand sorted, handcrafted.
A state of the art gravity fed winery allows for gentle handlng of the fruit in the winery.
A beautiful Terraced area allows for Corporate Functions, Weddings or just enjoying a superb Platter and a glass of wine.
Distribution is now world wide with Alana wines being sold by Fortnum and Mason in the UK who have selected Alana Estate wines as their ‘house wine’. Alana wines are distributed into top class restaurants through London and the UK. USA, Hong Kong, Canada, Singapore and Germany.
Alcohol Content: 14.3%
Titratable Acid: 5.1 g/L
Total Dry Extract: 31.0 g/L
Total Sugar: <1 g/L
Total Sulphur Dioxide: 45 mg/L
Volatile Acidity: 0.57 g/L