The cruel frosts, which hit many regions of the country in the spring of 2002, caused considerable damage to parts of the vineyard. The small succulent green shoots (which provide fruit for the vintage) were subject to sub-zero temperatures on a number of occasions and much of the new season’s growth and fruit were lost. The front half of the vineyard was not so badly affected as it is slightly elevated and therefore warmer than the rear section which suffered considerable damage.

The one positive effect of the frost was that the vines were able to pour their vigour into what little fruit remained - these grapes produced wine which is powerful and concentrated.

John and Annabel are proud of the 2003 vintage. It caused heartbreak at the time, but the 2003 Pinot has truly rewarded their faith in the vineyard and in the Martinborough region. If you wish to secure these wines, it is suggested that, because of the small quantities, you order quickly.

2003 Porters Pinot Noir

pn2003_10The Pinot Noir fruit in this vintage was heavily reduced in quantity. The bunches themselves and the berries within those bunches were smaller than usual - it was almost as if the vines displayed the effect of the early season’s suffering from frost right through until vintage!

The effect of small bunches and small berries are that the flavours are concentrated. The grape skins provide a higher than normal percentage of the ferment and it is the skins that provide the highly desirable colour and taste compounds in the finished wine. The wine has an intense ruby colour and displays aromas of violets and cherries, coupled with hints of tar and liquorice.

At this stage the palate is dominated by primary berry fruit flavours of blackberry and blackcurrants, which give the wine a brooding intensity. The tannins are fine and integrated and this is wine showing considerable texture and charm.

Whilst approachable now, this wine will show its best after several years in the cellar. 2003 Porters Pinot Noir was released on 22 August at the Wine New Zealand show in Auckland.

2003 Porters Pinot Gris

The severe frosts in the spring of 2002 resulted in intense concentrated stone fruit flavours which these old Alsace clones of Pinot Gris can produce. Because we had such a small crop, we were not able to complete maturation of the wine in stainless steel as is our normal practice, and the only solution was for the wine to be matured in old French oak 225 litre barriques. The oak maturation has served to tame the exuberance of the fruit at this stage in the life of the wine, but it has produced considerable complexity whilst at the same time permitting the wine to obtain the richness and textural quality which we enjoy in Pinot Gris from our vineyard.

The wine shows aromas of quince and sherbet, underpinned by the taste of stonefruit on the palate. This wine is more French than New World in its infancy and provides a fascinating contrast to our traditional style. Sadly, there was insufficient Pinot Gris to permit a commercial release.