New Zealand’s first grapevines were planted in the early 1800’s in the Bay of Islands on the north section of North Island. By 1840 winemaker James Busby was successfully producing and selling his own wine. Immigrants from Dalmatia promoted wine culture at the turn of the 20th century by establishing vineyards in Auckland and Northland. After the arrival of phylloxera in the 1920s the wine industry continue to flourish through the 1960s with an emphasis in quantity. The modern winemaking industry began to evolve with an emphasis in quality by the early 1970s.
Recently wine specialist Craig Shook, who works with Grapefields, a reputable wine distributor located in the Atlanta metro area, poured me a taste of the 2009 Russian Jack Pinot Noir. This wine is from Burnt Spur, a single vineyard estate planted with Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc and part of Martinborough Vineyard Estates located in Martinborough (in the Wellington region) New Zealand. Pinot Noir from Martinborugh have earned the highest international accolades and the most notable acclaim for Pinot Noir in New Zealand. This Pinot Noir is crafted by New Zealander wine maker Paul Mason, he has extensive experience working in winemaking regions in France, Italy, Chile, USA, Australia and of corse New Zealand.
Mr Craig Shook adds: “Martinborough’s winemaking philosophy is that quality wines are made in the vineyard, they intensively manage the vineyard by hand getting low yields and giving emphasis to produce a balanced wine from the best fruit, that greatly express the terroir. They promote sustainability following the guidelines from Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand, to limit the impact on their environment.”
2009 Russian jack Pinot Noir: This balanced wine shows an intense ruby color and luscious and complex aromas of mix berries, black cherry, plum, and middle eastern spices (cinnamon, coriander seeds) with hints of leather, oak and smoke. On the palate you feel silky tannins that imparts a great texture. This medium-bodied Pinot Noir express flavors of ripe berries, candied cherry, plum, fruit cake spices, fresh mushrooms and a nice lingering chocolate finish. This wine has muscle and elegance at the same time with and almost perfect fruit to acid balance.
Like most good New World and old word Pinot Noir, this is a remarkably food friendly wine. It has enough flavor concentration to pair with a main course of salmon, duck, pork or beef. It will be a great match with savory meat dishes that incorporate fruit or mushrooms. You can find this Pinot Noir at your favorite wine retail outlet in Atlanta around $20. In Georgia this wine is distributed by Grapefields Fine Wine Distributors and imported to USA by The Sorting Table.