In the late 1800s, John Martin, an Irish immigrant to New Zealand, created a town at the southern end of New Zealand's North Island, by dividing a large sheep station into 593 sections. The first streets were laid out in the pattern of the Union Jack and were named after places he had visited around the world, including New York, Oxford and Cork. This town became known as Martinborough and would eventually be at the heart of one of the southern hemisphere's most renowned wine areas, particularly for Pinot Noir which accounts for more than 50% of the region's plantings.
Te Kairanga is one of Martinborough's founding vineyards, established in 1984 on land originally owned by John Martin and still containing his cottage. With 260 acres of sustainably-farmed vineyards planted on ancient riverbeds at different sites, the area benefits from free-draining stony soils and a relatively mild climate with long dry summers, cool nights and cooling breezes.
Although Te Kairanga produces wines from several white grape varieties, Pinot Noir is their speciality and TK Pinot Noir 2015 is a fruit-filled delight. With intense, ripe plum, cherry and juicy red berry notes on the nose and palate, this elegant wine also has an earthy edge plus touches of cedar and allspice from the six months French oak ageing. There's a lovely balance between smooth tannins and fresh, yet non-aggressive acidity, making it an ideal complement to many types of food or for drinking on its own. It's perfect with BBQ meat, venison dishes and vegetarian options such as mushroom risotto or roasted beetroot, but can also pair successfully with some fuller-flavoured fish dishes like Teryaki salmon and even seared fillet of cod with garlic crushed potatoes, French beans and a chive and tomato cream sauce (I tried this - it worked!!!).
This wine is available online (RRP £16.99) from Ministry of Drinks.