Featured Reviews

Alexander 2016 Martinborough Pinot Noir and Merlot

19 June,2017
Michael Finucane and Roz Walker have been making Martinborough wine under the ‘Alexander’ brand for over 15 years from their 5 ha vineyard on Hinakura Road. They are an enthusiastic couple with a sense of style who wish to make first-class Pinot Noir and Merlot. There are 15,000 close-planted Pinot Noir vines and approx.750 Merlot vines. Chardonnay has just been added to the mix. I believe the quality of the Alexander wines took a significant step up with the commissioning of their new winery and cellar door on-site in time for the 2014 vintage. I’ve rated the Pinot Noirs particularly well, including the second label ‘Dusty Road’ (click here to see my review of the 2016). Michael and Roz have begun experimenting with greater inputs of indigenous yeast fermentation, whole bunches and new oak. The 2016 vintage is seen by Michael and Roz as one of the best they’ve experienced in Martinborough, and they see this is reflected in the wines. Here I review the 2016 Alexander Pinot Noir and Merlot. For availability, contact Michael Finucane on Tel: 06 306-8171 or Email: alexvin@xtra.co.nz


Alexander Martinborough Pinot Noir 2016

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Wairarapa & Wellington

Very dark, deep, near impenetrable black-red colour with purple hues, a little lighter on the rim. The nose is deeply concentrated and packed, intense aromas of ripe blackberry and black cherry fruit along with dark plums entwined with nutty oak with resinous nuances, unfolding notes of liquorice, dark herbs, some earthy hints and suggestions of savoury whole bunch stalks. Medium-full bodied, the palate is well-packed and concentrated with rich, ripe and deep flavours of blackberries, black cherries, plums and liquorice, entwined with nutty oak, unveiling dark herbs and spices. The palate has very good fruit depth and intensity forming a firm-textured core with drive and linearity, the acidity ripe and well-integrated. The wine carries to a long, concentrated black-fruited finish. This is a very firmly concentrated ripe, black berry, cherry and liquorice-fruited Pinot Noir on a fine-structured, linear palate. Match with roasted and grilled game meat dishes over the next 7-9+ years. A selection of the 9 best barrels. A blend of 44% clone 5, 23% Abel, 23% mix of 6 and 113, and a 10% mix of 115 and 667, the fruit hand-picked, the clone 5 with 10% as whole bunches and indigenous yeast fermented to 13.6% alc., the wine on skins approx. 24 days and aged 11 months in 33% new Alliers oak. 219 cases made. 18.5/20 Jun 2017 RRP $39.00

Alexander Martinborough Merlot 2016

Merlot from New Zealand – Wairarapa & Wellington

Full, near saturated black-red colour with slight purple hues on the edge, very youthful in appearance. The nose is subtly restrained in expression with well-concentrated and elegantly packed aromas of ripe blackberries, along with black and dark-red plums. The fruit unveils notes of dark herbs, spiced, and cedary and pencilly oak, moving to blackberry liqueur. Medium-full bodied, the palate has ripe and sweetly rich flavours of blackberries and black plum fruit, along with notes of spice and cedary oak. The fruit has real concentration, forming an elegantly packed heart, the fruit richness balanced by considerable fine-grained tannin structure, with fresh, underlying acidity. The wine carries to a well-proportioned, sustained finish of black fruits and plenty of fine structure. This is a ripe blackberry and black plum fruited Merlot with notes of liquorice, soces and cedary oak, on a fine-grained, considerably structured palate with freshness and energy. Serve with lamb, beef and venison over the next 8-10 years. Clone 481 fruit, hand-picked and fermented to 13.8% alc., the wine spending 24 days on skins and aged 10 months in 33% new Alliers oak. 965 bottles made. 18.5+/20 Jun 2017 RRP $29.00
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