Ward Valley Epicentre Pinot Noir 2019
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It is delightfully fruited and nicely fragrant on the nose showing spiced cherry, dark plum, olive, mushroom and almond characters. The palate is juicy and supple, delivering sweet berry flavours together with rounded mouthfeel and smooth texture, backed by polished tannins.
Located just south of Seddon, our Ward Valley vineyard sits at the southern frontier of Marlborough, making it a special place within a special place. The vineyard’s combination of high altitude, dry air, temperature extremes and deep clay creates a marginal climate and terroir that produces wines of rare complexity.
The 20 h.a. Ward Valley Estate vineyard was purchased in 2008 as bare pasture land by James Leary and Freddy Davison (a 4th generation South Islander). Freddy had searched for the perfect vineyard site around his home in the lower Awatere Valley and found a unique terroir in Ward. The vineyard site was chosen as the soil structure is mainly clay based, with hard papa subsoil, gravels and clay loam. These denser, water retentive clay soils, combined with a cooler climate than the northern end of Marlborough made the site perfectly suited to growing Pinot Noir. The long dry summer in Ward reduces pest and disease pressure while the hot 30 degrees + days and cool nights allow balance in ripening process.
Marlborough Wine Region is New Zealand’s largest and most famed wine region. Early successes with the Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc varietal range far and wide, landing NZ on the international wine map. With vintners interest in varied terroir and varieties escalating the recognition of the region globally adding fuel to the fire. Soon enough winemakers took to the cooler sub-regions of Southern Valley’s and Awatere.
Back in the 1980s as an understanding of the regions potential slowly unfurled, farmers and foresters alike made a switch. The switch was to viticulture and the industry blossomed.
Marlborough’s Wine Region Conditions
Resting to the east at the tip of the South Island, Marlboroughs enjoys long drawn out daylight hours. This is coupled with a clear, cool atmosphere at night. This union results in a long, leisurely ripening period. Greatly contributing to the grapes intensified flavours while the chill of the night retains the acidity levels.
Consisting of the three sub-regions; Wairau Valley, Awatere Valley and the Southern Valley’s. Marlborough has a diversified range of terroirs, allowing for impressive variation in style, minerality, and flavour. As the name suggests, the Southern Valleys sit south of the Wairau Valleys and houses the Omaka and Fairhall. As well as Brancott, Ben Morven and Waihopai valleys – Marlborough’s original sites.
The southern location of these valleys and the soils relatively heavier clay content is a key factor in its wine product. The clay gives the ability to produce a diverse range of wines.
Enjoying the slightly warmer north of the region, the Wairau Valleys sit more inland. It benefits from the Wairau River running through. This decreases the need and frequency of irrigation.
Soil Profiles and Notes
With each of the sites here having varying soil profiles consisting of alluvial gravel, wind borne loess and greywacke. Each vineyard will produce a unique wine, with flavour inherited from its unique soil composition. Although it must be noted, no matter how far a style strays, its intensity remains. The rich fruit intensity that’s a hallmark of the region can always be found.
Close to the Coast lies Awatere, arguably Marlborough’s most distinctive sub-region. The windier and cool location means the vines have a lower yield. This means the wines produced have an incredibly distinctive character as each abstraction and variation isn’t diluted.
The Herbaceous and flinty minerality truly reflect the sub-regions unique Terroir. While the good aromatics one can find stem from a decrease in the vigour of the vines.
As the New Zealand’s Wine Industries largest wine region it houses around 77% of the countries vines. It also produces over 75% of the Sauvignon Blanc. Marlborough has an upward trajectory and an exciting future.