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Te Whare Ra Winery or TWR is a small, family-run vineyard and winery; grapes from TWR's PN vineyard and from a hillside vineyard in Rawiri were used in 2016 which is generally considered a stellar vintage. 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 & 4 clones from the Rawiri block
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 I am not alone in thinking that is top quality wine.
I 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 partly because of the excellent vintage and partly because the soils in TWR's Pinot Noir vineyards have a higher clay content which gives their wines more depth and structure.
This wine is aromatic in a very elegant way, quite Burgundian in style. 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 which has a lot of fans as you can see from the awards it has won.
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.
95 Points Cameron Douglas MS
"Distinctive, pure aromas of Pinot Noir with pressed red roses, raspberry and dark cherry, dark red apple skin and crushed rock mineral core. Aromas of baking spices and toasty wood add complexity, depth and allure. Dry on the palate with flavours of red berries, cherries, mineral and wood. Youthful with firm tannin and acid voices suggesting some cellar time still in play. Persistent, pure, youthful and yummy! Decant for service. Best drinking from 2020 through 2028."
94 points Sam Kim
"Elegantly styled and inviting, the bouquet shows spiced cherry, plum, olive and floral characters with hints of dried herb and almond. The palate delivers excellent purity and roundness, beautifully complemented by fine texture and polished tannins. The wine is wonderfully proportioned and poised, offering refinement and stylish complexity."
93 points Nick Stock
"This delivers a very complete and fruit-focused impression with the right balance of fresh red cherries and berries and more savory, woody and lightly earthy notes. The freshness and elegance is impressive."
93 points Bob Campbell MW
"Bright, fresh and flavoursome Pinot Noir with cherry, raspberry, red rose and spicy oak with a suggestion of savoury and dried herb character."
92 Points Mike Bennie
"Spicy as! Clove, cinnamon, spiced cherries, with some raspberry/red berry fruitiness in tow. The palate is quite sinewy, hemmed with good-dusty tannins, quite restrained, leaner and dusty savoury fruit profile, tightly wound and finishes long and squeaky. Structured, serious expression here."
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."
An exceptional Marlborough Pinot Noir with red fruits, silky smooth texture and, in addition, elegance. A seriously refined wine loved by many judging by its scores & accolades