Martinborough, New Zealand
Drake Samson is a collaboration between two long time friends. Our very own Matthew Dunne and wine marketer and seller Nicholas Crampton. They both have a love of thought-provoking wines with individual character and expression, with a focus on Pinot Noir. They release two wines each year, a Yarra Valley Pinot and this beauty from Martinborough. It was touch and go which wine Matt selected, but he felt the Te Manu was drinking a little better as a younger wine, so this got the nod. The wine is made in conjunction with winemaker Rod McDonald, with fruit purchased from Larry McKenna (who owns Escarpment Vineyards and considered the Godfather of Pinot Noir in NZ). They have created a bold but balanced Pinot Noir with the hallmark intensity and structure you get from Martinborough (Only 250 cases were made).
Martinborough is near Wellington down the bottom of the North Island of NZ. It began its life as a wine region around 30 years ago when they discovered the soils and climate were pretty much the same as Burgundy. After some early plantings and then some great wines, a new regional star was born beside Burgundy, Oregon, Central Otago and the Yarra Valley.
For the Pinot nerds out there, and there are plenty, this uses hand-picked fruit from a single close-planted vineyard that cropped at 2.3 tonne per acre. A mix of Clones 667, 114, 115, CL 5 and Abel Clone in reasonably equal parts was primarily de-stemmed and then fermented separately in small one tonne open fermenters with hand plunging. Racked to 100% French oak barriques, 30% new for nine months maturation before bottling with minimal fining or filtration.
What this means is we have a pretty serious wine, from a serious vineyard. A complex and evocative nose with an array of red cherry, wood spice, wild forest and almost gamey aromas. The palate is medium bodied and fruit driven with more red fruits, fennel and spice along with some darker, exotic notes. Fine tannins and bright acidity provide shape to a wine still developing.