Description 1 of 2

 

While wines from Marlborough, in New Zealand’s South Island, have only come into prominence recently, there is actually a wine-making history in that region that dates back to the 1870s. Meadowbank Farm Manager David Herd planted Muscatel in a parcel of land in the Fairhall/Brancott area that became very well regarded. Though he died in 1905, his vineyard continued to produce until the 1930s. A few other small wineries also began to crop up during the late 1800s into the early part of the 20th century.
 
But it wasn't until 1973, when Frank Yukich of Auckland’s Montana Wines selected Marlborough for its expansion efforts. He saw the potential of this region, with sunny days and cool nights that ensure a long growing season and well balanced grapes. The success of his endeavors prompted other wineries to follow, many of them international enterprises. One of the most notable of these is Australia’s Cape Mentelle, who established the widely successful Cloudy Bay label out of Marlborough.
 
The areas located within the Wairau River Valley subregion have warmer, more humid growing conditions while moving south-east to the Awatere Valley, conditions become cooler and drier. The pride of Marlborough is its Sauvignon Blanc, which some consider among the world’s best. Pinot Noir is also well regarded and widely planted in the region. Other popular varietals in this cool-climate region are Chardonnay, Pinot Gris (Grigio), Riesling and Gewurztraminer. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are also cultivated for sparkling wines made in the Champagne style (Methode Traditionelle). 
 
– Description from Amanda Schuster

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Description 2 of 2

Marlborough, New Zealand http://www.wine-marlborough.co.nz When the first growers planted grapes in Marlborough in the 1970s (there is evidence of plantings as early as 1870s), it is unlikely they would have foreseen the extent of the growth and fame that the region’s wine industry would achieve, based upon a single varietal called Sauvignon Blanc. The distinctive pungency and zest fruit flavours of the first Marlborough wines, in particular Sauvignon Blanc, captured the imagination of the country's winemakers as well as international wine commentators and consumers and sparked an unparalleled boom in vineyard development. Worldwide interest in Marlborough wines, particularly Sauvignon Blanc, has continued to fuel that regional wine boom. The continued worldwide interest and demand for Marlborough wines fuels on ongoing growth of plantings. The region currenly has 23,600 hectares of land planted with planted grapes. These plantings are primarily located within the Wairau Valley. Over the last decade, viticulture has also spread southeast into the smaller slightly cooler Awatere Valley. More recently the southern side valleys of the Wairau – Fairhall, Hawkesbury and Waihopai – have gathered a collection of vines. New Zealand’s first exportation of wine in 1963 came ten years before grapes were even planted in Marlborough. However, Marlborough is now the largest wine producing region in the country, 79% of New Zealand’s total active wine production. CLIMATE Located on the east coast with mountains to the west, Marlborough is one of New Zealand’s sunniest and driest areas. In these bright, but relatively ‘cool’ climate conditions, the grapes have the advantage of a long slow, flavour-intensifying ripening period. The average daily temperature during summer is nearly 24 degrees C but clear cool nights keep acid levels high in the grapes. Marked diurnal (day/night) temperature variations are a key factor behind the ability of Marlborough grapes to retain both fresh, vibrant fruit and crisp, herbaceous characters. The contrast between day and night also helps to enhance the colour development in the skins of Pinot Noir. SOILS Within the region, viticulture has been developed primarily on sites with moderate low fertility and a noticeably stony, sandy loam top soil overlying deep layers of free-draining shingle, as found in the viticulturally developed areas of the Wairau and Awatere Valleys. These shallow, fast draining, low fertility soils help to produce a lush, aromatic ripe wine because they reduce the vines vigour. Where a more herbaceous style is desired, sites with greater water retentive soils and moderate fertility are chosen. http://www.wine-marlborough.co.nz – Description from Sileni

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