Margrain La Michelle Méthode 2018 (6 Bottles) Martinborough

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It goes without saying really but one of the main features which sets sparkling wine apart from table wine, is the bubbles. A slow and steady release of CO2, trapped during secondary fermentation in the bottle gives the appearance of freshness and the sensation that the wine is alive in the mouth. The wine glass itself is critical to the success of this strategy and the contemporary flute, with its narrow base, tall stature and small surface area is ideal to enhance the performance and life of the bubbles. The “Coupe” or saucer glass, reputedly modelled on the breast of Marie Antoinette certainly is sexy but allows the bubbles to dissipate quickly. Fortunately, it holds but a small volume so must be replenished often!

The nose intrigues with a fresh fragrant-apple crispness, whets the appetite with vanilla pod and white jelly-bean, then seduces with buttered popcorn, freshly baked croissant and a cracked almond mealiness. The bead is fine and consistent as it buoys up sweet doughy aromas of crisp brioche spread liberally with something almost reminiscent of… ah, marmite! White truffles, peony roses and a little barn stored hay lend an intriguing complexity.

When sipped, the wine literally explodes in the mouth as the mousse carries the flavours to the farthest reaches of the taste buds with all the gusto of Women’s Rugby arriving on the world stage. It is at once euphonious, effervescent and ebullient with a clean and tingling texture which shows good manners while introducing itself then wags its tail in sheer delight like an overzealous Labrador puppy. Vigorous Pinot flavours like raspberry drops coated in icing sugar show through then combine with apple-Danish pastry and hot salted cashews while the Chardonnay component brings the softness of freshly tanned calf hide and a mounting complexity which thickens on the tongue like a beef stock reduction. This wine would make a beautiful accompaniment to a rich caramelised onion and mushroom risotto.


About Margrain Vineyard Wines

The Margrain vineyard, planted in 1992, was born from the passion for fine wine, good food and the country lifestyle held by husband and wife owners Daryl and Graham Margrain. While running a successful Wellington business they were looking for a new focus when they recognised the potential Martinborough held for the establishment of a quality winery, accommodation and conference complex.

They were part of the second wave of wine enthusiasts who came to town to follow on from the success of the pioneer wineries which had established themselves some 10 years previously. Having developed a love for the regions wines, they quickly came to realise the importance of the local climate plus the effects of the now famous Martinborough Terrace soils.

The original 4 hectare property combined perfect location with the essential soil type, – a fine layer of silty loam over deep river gravels which sits on the edge of the terrace overlooking the Huangarua river bed. The site was immediately planted to Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris, – a combination of what was already emerging as the regions best styles.

The company then expanded with the purchase of the adjacent vineyard (one of the original 4 in the town). The proximity is perfect, the soil excellent and the site well proven. Extensive replanting to Pinot Noir has been carried out and the remaining original plantings gave welcome access to fruit from 20 years old vines, – a rarity in this young region.

In the winter of 2001 a further block was planted to Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc in an exciting new sub-region 8 km south of town. The site has very similar attributes to the home block, being on the edge of a terrace rising above the Dry River – a small river so named because of its propensity to run beneath its bed in all but the wettest times of year.

Graham’s philosophy in branding the company was a simple one, “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth putting your name on.” Our winemaking philosophy is equally straight forward, simply to produce the very best wines we can, without compromise. This task begins each year with pruning and ends only when the wine is in the bottle. Yields of between 1.5 and 2 tonnes per acre are an essential part of this strategy.


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