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Latest Raymond Chan Reviews

Porters Pinot ‘Kereru’ 2015 Pinot Gris and 2014 Pinot Noir, and 2014 Estate Pinot Noir

Although John and Annabel and son Hugo of Porters Pinot are one of Martinborough’s smallest producers, they have a fine track record going back to their establishment in 1992.  Their first vineyard was the ‘Old Block’, opposite Palliser Estate on Kitchener Street, now with 4 ha of vines, and this was added to by the purchase of the 2.4 ha old Lintz vineyard next to their house in 2009.  This is the ‘House Block’, but may be called ‘Home Block’ from now on.  These two sites have provided the Pinot Noir wines and a smaller amount of Pinot Gris that makes the Porters Pinot range.

The Porters have now introduced a new label named ‘Kereru’ named after the “majestic” native bird, the New Zealand wood pigeon, which, has begun to return to a block of native bush purchased by the Porters several years ago.  It was formerly used as grazing land, but is now fenced off and a program of replanting of native species and forming a wetland has been introduced.  Under the ‘Kereru’ brand, the Porters are making different wines to match the ‘Estate’ wines, and proceeds from the sale of the Kereru Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir will go to the upkeep and maintenance of the block, intended to be preserved for future generations.  

Here, I review the inaugural ‘Kereru’ wines, a 2015 Pinot Gris and a 2014 Pinot Noir, as well as the 2014 ‘Estate’ Pinot Noir.  The latter wine is a richer vintage but still shows a style of beauty that is more feminine as the Porter’s wines usually are. 

Porters ‘Kereru’ Martinborough Pinot Gris 2015  ★★★★

Bright, light straw-yellow colour, paler on the rim.  The nose is firmly packed with deep aromas of ripe yellow stonefruits with a complex amalgam of savoury yellow florals and honeysuckle and a layering of nutty and minerally lees elements.  Dryish to taste and medium-full bodied, the palate has good depth of mouthfilling flavours of savoury yellow stonefruits, showing nuances of honeysuckle and a complex amalgam of nutty lees and minerals.  The fruit forms a fine, grainy textural heart, with balanced and integrated acidity.  This has good palate weight and presence, and the wine carries to a lingering, full-flavoured finish.  This is a dry, full and complex Alsace-style Pinot Gris with savoury stonefruit flavours and notes of honeysuckle and minerally lees, on a grainy-textured palate.  Match with poultry, pork and veal, over the next 4 years.  Mission clone fruit from the ‘Old Block’ vines, ungrafted, planted in 1994, cool-fermented in stainless-steel to 13.5% alc. and 7 g/L RS, the wine undergoing batonnage.  18.0/20  Oct 2017  RRP $25.00

Porters ‘Kereru’ Martinborough Pinot Noir 2014  ★★★★

Full, even ruby-red colour with slight garnet hues and some depth, a little lighter on the rim.  The nose is elegant and moderately deep with good volume, showing red berryfruit aromas entwined with cinnamon and herb elements and nutty, ceday oak.  Medium-full bodied, the palate is elegant and well-proportioned with deep and sweet red berryfruit flavours melded with an intriguing cinnamon spice and herb layer, with subtle nutty and cedary oak suggestions.  The palate has fine-grained tannin extraction providing good underlying structure and grip, with restrained, lacy acidity lending tension.  The wine flows to a lingering finish with red fruits, spices and oak.  This is a well-proportioned, elegant Pinot Noir with red fruits and distinctive spice and herb notes and subtle cedary oak on a fine-textured palate.  Match with Middle Easter cuisine, or with duck or lamb dishes over the next 4-5 years.  Clones 667, 777 and Abel from the ‘House Block’ vines planted in the early 2000s, fermented partially with indigenous yeasts and 10% whole bunches to 13.5% alc., the wine aged over 14 months in 20% new oak.  17.5-/20  Oct 2017  RRP $35.00

Porters Martinborough Pinot Noir 2014  ★★★★★

Ruby-red colour with some depth and slight garnet hues, paler on edge.  The nose is full and evenly expressed with bright dark-red cherry and berryfruit aromas and lifted red florals forming a finely concentrated core unfolding subtle nutty oak nuances.  This has aromatic purity and beauty.  Medium-full bodied, the palate has an elegantly concentrated, rich and sweet heart of vibrant dark-red cherry and berryfruit, with integrated red floral notes, delicate herb and oak nuances.  The mouthfeel is smooth and velvety in texture with the fruit richness supported by fine-grained tannin extraction and balanced acidity.  The palate is beautifully balanced and carries to a sweet, sustained, red-fruited finish.  This is an elegantly concentrated, rich and sweet-fruited Pinot Noir with fine, velvety textures, showing balance and beauty.  Match with duck and pork dishes over the next 6 years.  Fruit from the ‘House Block’ and ‘Old Block’, fermented partially with indigenous yeasts and 15% whole bunches to 13.5% alc., the wine aged over 14 months in 25% new oak.  18.5/20  Oct 2017  RRP $45.00

        

 

 Porters Pinot Noir Raises $3500 in Charity Auction for Riversdale Beach Surf Lifesaving Club 

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On September 15th Gazleys held a Charity Auction to support the new Lifesaving building at Riversdale Beach. We donated a 3 Litre and a 5 litre bottle of Porters 2014 Pinot Noir which sold for $1500 and $2000 respectively. We thank Gazleys and the Riversdale Beach Surf Living Clubfor a great night and a really good cause. Some one is going to have a fantastic Dinner  - thanks for your generosity and  of course, great taste!

Notes on the 2016 Harvest

Settled weather over spring time, although slightly cooler than normal, gave us less wind damage from those brisk westerly flows. We noted a slightly heavier crop load and also the increased number of small berries within the bunch itself. As I’ve previously said, February and March were lovely – dry and warm. Our vineyard next to the house escaped the worst of the December frost, although our little block of Pinot gris lost about 50% , it will be a very small white wine production this year. We began the harvest on the 4th of April as the Brix on one block was getting towards 24 and we like to peg back the alcohols as they can play havoc with back palate phenolics and make the wines a bit wonky. The gorgeous dark berry flavours were all there, skins nicely thinned and the seeds a lovely nut brown. We also harvested a small batch at around 22 brix, as the acids and flavours looked very nice, and we do like to have a fresh, expressive character within the final blend or blends. The remainder of the block and the Pinot gris was harvested 14-20 days later. The small Pinot noir berries in this block sitting at about 25 brix were the perfect foil for the larger berries in the 22-22.5 range. The Pinot Gris juiced out at a hair under 23.4, with a lovely fresh pear juice note on the nose. We kept the Pinot noir on skin for an extended maceration, allowing an extra 7-12 days (depending on the batch) in order to allow the tannin expression to mature. We’ve found that this block likes a little post ferment maceration, in order to soften some of it’s more egregious tannins and edges.
After we press off the skins, we leave the wine for 24-48 hours to settle and then rack the tanks into French only barrels. We can tell by the gentle prickling that malolactic ferment is underway. This will probably slow down now winter has arrived, and will re-energise again in spring. In the interim, we will bottle the 2014 Estate and Reserve blends, and spend time polishing the 2015 blends. And those are looking as every bit as good as the 2016’s.

Pre Harvest thoughts on 2016

It has been a dry start to the year. The Wairarapa is full of manila folder coloured paddocks interlaced with the dark green foliage of well-established trees marching down fence lines. February and March are when wineries start to clean out the empty tanks and wipe down the press, preparing for the month ahead when it’s all hands to the pump and plunger.

At Porters we take this time to polish the 2014 Pinots and make a plan for the 2015’s. Both have lush, complex fruit notes which are hallmarks of the House block. This younger block is comprised of clone 115 and Abel. It has developed markedly in the past 8+  years from a simplistic, floral expression to a more deep, rounded and rich character. We are very interested to see where this goes over the next decade. Martinborough Pinot Noirs are about tannin and structure married to cherries and violet aromas, and this young block has started to demonstrate its potential to display these characters and much more.

In the meantime, Martinborough has enjoyed a glorious summer. It appears to me anyway that many more tourists have enjoyed all that Marty has to offer. There is a real buzz around town – particularly those who come across from Wellington to experience a weekend of pleasure and rest. One of my favourite things to do is catch up with good friends at Cool Change on the square, with a refreshing end of work Pilsner. I hope to see you there.

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