Red, Ready, but will keep

2010 Churton Pinot Noir, Marlborough

2010 Churton Pinot Noir, Marlborough

Red | Ready, but will keep | Churton Wines | Code:  18679 | 2010 | New Zealand > Marlborough | Pinot Noir | Medium Bodied, Dry | 13.0 % alcohol

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Scores and Reviews

WA - Medium deep ruby-purple in color, the 2010 Pinot Noir has expressive, warm red plum and red cherry compote notes with hints of cloves, cinnamon, lilacs and lavender. Medium-bodied with a good amount of red berry and spice flavors, it has medium levels of grainy tannins, with just enough balanced acid and a long finish.
Lisa Perrotti-Brown - eRobertParker.com #203 Oct 2012

WINE_PAGES - English couple Sam and Mandy Weaver specialise in Pinot Noir at their small Marlborough estate, which is farmed biodynamically on a hillside of the Waihopai Valley. Sam describes 2010 as "an excellent growing season" for Pinot, which he makes from whole bunches in open fermenters, and ages 14 months in French oak, only 20% of which is new.

The wine has a pleasing pale but youthful colour, and delightfully vegetal and rhubarby notes, a hint of roasting chestnuts and plenty of spice, in a complex layering with earthy red berry fruit. On the palate this is Pinot in a savoury style, the spices are fruity rather than oaky, the tannins fine and grippy and good levels of acidity add to that savoury, edgy concentration. The cherry fruit begins to assert mid-palate, just softening the picture, and the swirl of smokiness from the barrels underpins.

Complex stuff that evolves in the glass and will surely age, but has the substance now to take on not only festive roast poultry, duck or goose, but maybe even rare roast beef too. Terrific Pinot Noir.
Tom Cannavan- Wine Pages- November 2013

The Producer

Churton Wines

Churton Wines

Churton is a small Marlborough winery, owned and operated by Sam and Mandy Weaver. Churton has been exporting its wine since 1997. Their winemaking is focused on producing Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir that combines the renowned flavour and aromatic intensity of Marlborough fruit with the finesse and complexity characteristic of fine European wines. Smaller parcels of Viogner and Petit Manseng have been added to the vineyard, the plan of which resembles a side of beef (and the various plots reflect this with memorable titles like skirt, loin and rump). 

Sam has had a distinguished and varied career in the wine trade, not least his early job working in the Basingstoke cellars of Berry Bros. and Rudd! Since moving to New Zealand he established himself first as a winemaking consultant and then proprietor of Churton which takes its name from Sam’s Shropshire birthplace, known more formally as Church Pulverbatch.

Read the blog on the Churton winery.

The Grape

Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is probably the most frustrating, and at times infuriating, wine grape in the world. However when it is successful, it can produce some of the most sublime wines known to man. This thin-skinned grape which grows in small, tight bunches performs well on well-drained, deepish limestone based subsoils as are found on Burgundy's Côte d'Or.

Pinot Noir is more susceptible than other varieties to over cropping - concentration and varietal character disappear rapidly if yields are excessive and yields as little as 25hl/ha are the norm for some climats of the Côte d`Or.

Because of the thinness of the skins, Pinot Noir wines are lighter in colour, body and tannins. However the best wines have grip, complexity and an intensity of fruit seldom found in wine from other grapes. Young Pinot Noir can smell almost sweet, redolent with freshly crushed raspberries, cherries and redcurrants. When mature, the best wines develop a sensuous, silky mouth feel with the fruit flavours deepening and gamey "sous-bois" nuances emerging.

The best examples are still found in Burgundy, although Pinot Noir`s key role in Champagne should not be forgotten. It is grown throughout the world with notable success in the Carneros and Russian River Valley districts of California, and the Martinborough and Central Otago regions of New Zealand.

The Region

Marlborough

Marlborough

New Zealand's answer to Napa Valley, Marlborough is a veritable engine room that in 2006 accounted for 47 percent (10,419 hectares) of the country's vines, and over 60 percent of its production, even though it is home to just 20 percent of the nation’s 530 wineries. Around 76 percent of the vineyards are planted with Sauvignon Blanc.

Located on the north-easterly tip of South Island at a latitude of 41.3 degrees South, the Marlborough flats are protected from the tropical north-westerlies by the Richmond Ranges, separating Marlborough from Nelson. It is similarly protected from the frost-bearing Antarctic south-easterlies racing up the eastern coastline by the Kaikoura Ranges. The region consequently experiences low rainfall, together with high sunshine hours and a significant diurnal shift between day and night temperatures, thus preserving the aromatics.

The Marlborough viticultural zone, now being delineated, actually consists of three sub-regions: the fertile, alluvial soils of the Wairau Valley on the northern side (site of  the original Marlborough settlement in 1880, and subsequently to Montana in 1973) is constantly fed by a subterranean aquifer, resulting in an easy, tutti-frutti style of Sauvignon Blanc best exemplified by Hunters wine.

The Southern Valleys zone on the opposite side of the Valley comprise drier, stonier, poorer soils and clay knolls (such as those of the Brancott Valley), delivering a fuller, more structured, defined, gooseberry and limey Sauvignon Blanc with more bite and poise; Cloudy Bay (who put the region on the world map in 1985), Dog PointIsabel Estate and the Winegrowers of Ara all inhabit this stretch of the Valley.

Lastly there’s the Awatere Valley, which is located across the Kaikouras on ancient black volcanic soils amid a cooler climate, with harvests often running two weeks behind those in the Wairau Valley; the Awatere style of Sauvignon Blanc is peachier and richer than elsewhere, with Vavasour a fine example.

Although most wines are vinified in stainless steel and released within 12 months of the harvest, some enterprising growers are trialling the use of oak barrels, especially when vinifying superior parcels of hand-harvested fruit. Dog Point Section 94 is one such wine.

The region is also home to the country's small sparkling-wine industry, employing the traditional method to vinify Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Some producers have sought to diversify into still Pinot Noir production, whilst using an inappropriate Swiss clone. A glance at what's been happening in Central.Otago and in Martinborough, however, has persuaded those serious producers to plant a greater selection of clones, notably 667, 777, Abel and 115, as well as the common Pommard (UCD 5) and 10/5. The result has been a shift from the classic Marlborough Pinot Noir spicy red fruit with its almost Côte de Beaune character towards a fuller, fleshier, smokier, black cherry Côte de Nuits style.

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