Te Whare Ra Winery or TWR is a small, family-run vineyard and winery
; the vineyard is one of the oldest in Marlborough and is certified organic although they cannot call this wine organic
because they include some grapes from a neighbour's vineyard which is nevertheless considered of excellent quality. The winemakers, Anna and Jason Flowerday, say that all winemakers are obsessed with Pinot Noir because it is the most challenging variety to grow and it is very unforgiving of mistakes. And you can tell that they themselves are obsessed; for instance
- 8 different clones of Pinot Noir from their vineyards and 4 from their neighbour's are included
- all grapes are hand-picked and hand sorted
- some native yeasts are used but also some specially selected yeasts
- barrels from different coopers are used for different parcels
- there is minimal intervention and the wines are given sufficient time on lees in the winery to build texture and complexity
These are winemakers who really care about the end product and it shows. And we are not alone in thinking that is top quality wine. We are lucky to have got our hands on a few cases.
We expect fruit and texture from Marlborough Pinots and this medium-bodied wine is no exception with very evident red cherries and strawberries. But this wine has much, much more. Light in colour, it is aromatic in a very elegant way, more Burgundian in style than the other New Zealand Pinot Noir in our portfolio. In the TWR there is a great mix of complexity, structure and elegance. Multi-dimensional flavours persist in the long finish - red fruits, a touch of mocha, spice like anise and clove and savouriness. The tannins are evident yet fine-grained and, with the refreshing acidity, give the wine its structure; the texture is silky smooth. A seriously refined Pinot Noir.It is definitely worth decanting or at least swirling this wine in a large glass to give it chance to open up
. Read my blog on Decanting
This wine will improve over the next few years but is already an exceptional wine that can be enjoyed now.
Perfect with duck, lamb and pork.
"This Pinot Noir exhibits gorgeous, fragrant notes of ripe strawberry and omega plum with hints of baking spice, mocha and some complex savoury undertones. The fleshy, silky tannins combine with vibrant flavours of omega plum and strawberry. The palate has serious weight and flows from fruit purity into more savoury and complex flavours. The wine has great fleshiness and depth and finishes with a lingering persistence of fruit, fine tannin and well integrated oak.
2014 was an exceptional vintage in Marlborough, characterised by a textbook summer and very even ripening and the resultant wines have great concentration and balance."
96 Points Decanter Magazine (Cameron Douglas MS) Dec 2015
"Exotic, fragrant, floral and fruity: Ripe red berry fruits, wild ferment aromas of honey, light dried herb and sweet new oak. Lots of texture and spice with firm ripe tannins – delicious! Drink 2017 – 2026"
18+ points Raymond Chan Nov 2015
"Moderately dark ruby-red colour with light purple hues on the rim. This has a very tight and elegantly proportioned nose of dark red cherry fruit with subtle notes of dark herbs and dark red florals, unfolding nuances of minerally detail. This is still youthfully bound and will unfold more from the core. Medium-full bodied, this is elegantly concentrated and slender in presentation, with flavours of dark red cherry and raspberry fruit. Some subtle herbal notes add interest, and soft red florals add lift. The palate core is sweet and rich, and supported by fine-grained, firm tannin extraction lending a taut and sinewy line and mouthfeel. This has good acid freshness and linearity, and the wine carries the dark cherry, herb and mineral notes to a long finish with spice elements. This is an elegant, taut Pinot Noir with cherry fruit flavours and sinewy mouthfeel. It will develop greater richness and complexity over the next 5-6 years."
92 points Robert Parker Mar 2016
"The 2014 Pinot Noir displays a pale to medium ruby-purple color and fragrant nose of cranberries, pomegranate and rose with hints of underbrush, anise and fennel seed. Light to medium-bodied, it possesses beautiful elegance and freshness with satiny tannins and great persistence."
Winery of the Year 2014 Raymond Chan Dec 2014
"... the Flowerdays represent the modern and young face of winegrowing in New Zealand, making a range of beautifully elegant, exceptionally high quality wines, with the greatest respect for the environment from which the fruit is obtained.
I’ve come across very few winegrowers and winemakers who give so much thought to every aspect of the vineyard, winery, winemaking, how their wines show in stylistic and quality terms, and how the wines are presented in the marketplace, as Jason and Anna. This reflects their passion, enthusiasm, extremely high standards, hard work and attention to detail in creating and crafting wines that reflect their vineyard and region, and their guiding the wines sensitively so that they are expressed with great finesse. At present, New Zealand wines are generally enjoyed for their strong and distinctively clear fruit flavours. It is apparent that our industry must progress towards producing wines which are more refined, subtly complex and textured with the ability to develop, so as to appeal to the increasing and maturing fine wine drinkers of the world. The Te Whare Ra wines are at the forefront of this movement in this country."