There is so much going on with this wine it is hard to know where to begin! Firstly, it is a mid yellow with green hues and shows a highly intense and complex bouquet. The wine has notes of lemon yoghurt, buttered toast, cashews and spicey nuances (due to barrel fermentation and lees stirring). The fruit flavours of nectarine, limes, marmalade and pears are still apparent, resulting in a balanced aromatic profile. The palate is full bodied with peach, hazelnut, spicey oak, and underlying minerality. This is a first class Chardonnay that comes along once in a blue moon. Drink now to 2020.
About the Winery:
Matahiwi is one of those rare wineries that do not make a bad wine…or if they do I haven’t tried it yet. Their vineyards lie in both the Wairarapa and Hawkes Bay regions of New Zealand. However, it is the Wairarapa vineyards that utilize the important alluvial gravels and unique microclimate so perfectly suitable for Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. The winery is owned by Wellington based Alastair Scott, who smartly employed Jane Cooper to run this impressive facility. Jane is one of the single most talented winemakers I have come across in all my travels. The quality of their portfolio can be witnessed in both the Matahiwi and “Holly” ranges of wines. All labels show clarity, typicity and intensity without being boring. I can see why these guys are constantly on top of the wine show circuit.
Martinborough is one of the three main sub-regions (Gladstone and Masterton being the other two) in the Wairarapa region of the north island of New Zealand. Martinborough lies in a rain shadow between the Taraua and Rimutaka mountain ranges, making it the North Island’s driest spot. It has 4 distinct seasons, with warm days and crisp nights during the growing season. At 40 degrees south latitude it has 1130 growing degrees and a long growing season. However, it is prone to spring frosts, which necessitates the use of wind machines in some vineyards.
Martinborough produces less than 1% of New Zealand’s grape production yet attracts an enormous amount of attention mainly due to the high quality of it’s Pinot Noir. The area is interesting because the wineries are usually small and family owned. There are a large number (over 30) of wineries dedicated to producing high quality Pinot Noir and cool climate varieties from the unique alluvial gravels found throughout the area. The cute village of Martinborough has been transformed over the last 30 years (since vineyards came) into a trendy wine tourism hub, with excellent accommodation and fine restaurants. There are only a handful of wine regions in the world that can rightfully claim to make great Pinot Noir, but this is one of them.
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