Margrain Rivers Edge Pinot Noir 2020 (12 Bottles) Martinborough

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Amongst Pinot producers, there is an old adage, often discussed late into the evening: “Barrel aging maketh the wine”. The micro-oxygenation which occurs very slowly through the inch-thick oak staves mellows the wine and can turn unruly or even stroppy and aggressive tannins into a silky and seductive texture which rounds out and gently supports the fruit. Even older barrels have this amazing effect so to complete its upbringing, the wine spent 12 months in new and recent-vintage barriques, then a second year in much older and therefore softer wood.

You will fall prey to this wine from the first furtive glance. A teasing vibrancy at the edge leads to a warm glow toward the centre of the glass. Hello Ruby Tuesday. Crackling bracken fern and toasted nori rise from the glass and nudge suggestively at the nasal receptors then make way for well-seasoned split acacia, roasted beetroot and freshly uprooted truffle. Warm poached plum, tay berries and dark chocolate gateaux with coffee buttercream icing form a warm welcome as do notes of rich beef consommé, sweet violets and a dash of spicey tomato.

The palate stands like a beacon of hope in the garden of a stately manor. A classic razor strop and cigar box complexity is omnipresent as it glides back and forth amongst oven baked wild oats, dark sticky prunes and sun-dried beef jerky. The tannins, which sit somewhere between rhubarb crumble and central plateau pumice, lightly flagellate the tongue while a tiny streak of acidity adds freshness and focus, like the resounding rap of a gravel on the bench of a high court judge. There follows the suggestion of marmite on sourdough toast, soft roasted aubergine, rubbed oregano and warm caramel brûlée. A sense of calm, like still waters, runs deep in the finish.



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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