1 October 2014
It is 12 years since we launched our single vineyard “Block” label with Home Block Chardonnay. Since then I have been looking forward to having Pinot Noir vines of sufficient age to also merit a single vineyard designation. The launch of 2013 Lease Block Pinot Noir this month fulfills that wish.
The story starts in 1997 when my aunt and uncle purchased a 1 hectare property on Huangarua Rd., Martinborough. In 1999 we planted 0.8 hectares of the property in Pinot Noir and since then we have run and leased the vineyard. The clonal mix is UCD5 (70%), AM10/5 and B115 (both 15%) on rootstock 101-14 and the grapes from the block have consistently made the cut for the Nga Waka Pinot Noir label. The soil profile of the block is the classic Martinborough mix of shallow topsoil (alluvial silt) over river gravels. The vines are trained to the VSP (vertical shoot positioning) system and cane-pruned (two canes per vine). Yields for the block are typically 2-2.5 tonnes per acre.
The premise for the establishment of the single vineyard “Block” series was our observation, in 2001, that the wine from our then 15-year old Home Block Chardonnay vines, was shifting in style from a dominance of primary varietal characters towards more expression of structural and mineral characters, with greater depth. We have seen exactly the same shift with Lease Block Pinot Noir, which we attribute to the onset of vine maturity and greater expression of the character of the individual vineyard site. We aim to showcase this individuality by bottling the wine under its own vineyard designation, Lease Block Pinot Noir.
The first release of Lease Block Pinot Noir is the outstanding 2013 vintage (see 2013 Vintage Report). The wine showcases all the berry, spice and savoury flavours for which Martinborough Pinot Noir is renowned but the extra depth, texture and complexity the wine delivers are a reflection of a special site and mature vines. I expect this wine to improve, under sound cellaring conditions, for at least 5-7 years and to provide pleasurable drinking for many years thereafter. More details on the wine can be found at 2013 Lease Block Pinot Noir.
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