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  • Stylish pinot noirs and well-rounded whites are a feature of northern Wairarapa’s output.

    Issue 3950 28 January 2016

    Wine has flowed in the northern Wai­rarapa for a century longer than at Martinborough in the south. But most of the wineries near Masterton are still tiny. When asked about their output, the winemakers talk in terms of bottles, not cases. I recently tasted a comprehensive line-up of northern Wairarapa wines: stylish pinot noirs and sturdy, generous, well-rounded whites.

    Gladstone Vineyard Sophie’s Choice Barrel Fermented Sauvignon Blanc 2014 (4 1/2 stars)
    Fragrant, full-bodied wine with vibrant tropical-fruit flavours, a gentle seasoning of oak and excellent ripeness, depth and complexity. $35

    Johner Estate Gladstone Reserve Pinot Noir 2013 (4 1/2 stars)
    From the estate’s oldest vines at Gladstone, this delicious red is generous, savoury and sweet-fruited, with substantial body and rich cherry, plum, spice and nut flavours. $50

    Matahiwi Holly Wairarapa Sauvignon Blanc 2013 (4 1/2 stars)
    Barrel-fermented with indigenous yeasts, this is a weighty, subtle, dry wine with strong, ripe melon/lime flavours, lightly seasoned with oak. It’s drinking well now. $29

    Fairmont Estate Gladstone Pinot Gris 2014 (4 stars)
    Weighty, fleshy wine with strong, ripe, peachy, slightly spicy flavours, showing a touch of complexity. Good now. $18

    Lynfer Estate Wairarapa Pinot Gris 2014 (4 stars)
    Sturdy Alsace-style pinot gris with good concentration of peachy, faintly honeyed flavours and a dry, lingering finish. $21

    Paddy Borthwick New Zealand Pinot Noir 2014 (4 stars)
    Already enjoyable, this full-coloured Gladstone red has strong, plummy, cherryish, slightly spicy and nutty flavours, gentle tannins and good complexity. $34

    Paulownia Estate Riesling 2013 (4 stars)
    Bright, light yellow/green, this is a fleshy, rich style of riesling, estate-grown at Masterton, with strong grapefruit and lime flavours, developing bottle-aged complexity. Fine value. $20

    Schubert Marion’s Vineyard Wairarapa Pinot Noir 2013 (4 stars)
    Savoury, ruby-hued, mouthfilling red, finely textured, with plum, cherry and spice flavours, showing good ripeness and complexity, and a well-rounded finish. Drink now or cellar. $48

    Paper Road Pinot Noir 2013 (3 stars)
    From a small producer north of Masterton, this is a pleasant, drink-young style, with plum and dried-herb flavours, showing a touch of complexity. Ready. $20

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