“A swage of pith-cutting acidity is the first batter up to the plate and is followed closely by a finely honed team of all stars which pack a combined punch like a mercenary All Black Centre in a heavy-weight boxing bout.” (Margrain Chenin Blanc)
It’s not your typical wine description, but Strat Canning is not your typical winemaker. Strat is well known for his turn of phrase. Who wouldn’t be a tiny bit tempted by a Riesling that “has a complex side made up of Caribbean white spice and something reminiscent of a mouse’s footprint in the corner of an old shed” (Margrain Proprietor’s Selection Riesling) or a Chardonnay in which “the soft oak influence can be felt rather than tasted and melds with the argy bargy characters of barrel fermentation to give a mischievous complexity that feels a little like getting dirty in the rain” (Margrain Chardonnay)?
Having just completed his 19th vintage at Margrain, Strat is no starry-eyed newcomer. His wines reflect the careful guidance of a winemaker who knows his terroir and gets the best from his vines each vintage (Strat also doubles as head viticulturalist at Margrain). Pinot Noir represents the majority of planting at Margrain and the icon wine of the operation is undoubtedly the Home Block Pinot Noir. The 2010 vintage, which recently claimed Silver at the London International Wine Fair, is typically classy with lovely savoury characteristics superbly integrated with dark red fruit and fine tannins. As Strat describes the wine: “The result will leave your subconscious weak at the knees and your inner goddess licking her fingers like pork riblets!”
The Home Block Pinot Noir has been a firm favourite on the Wellington wine scene for many years, and the team at the winery hope a fresh pricing strategy will introduce the brand to a new audience. At around $40 a bottle, the wine compares favourably with other iconic Martinborough labels.
Where to buy in Wellington
Liquor stores: Moore Wilson’s, Centre City Wines and Spirits, Liquor King Petone
On wine lists: Wine Loft, Petone Beach Café, The Grand Steakhouse
For more of Strat Canning’s winemaker’s notes, go to margrainvineyard.co.nz
Margrain 2013 Chenin Blanc
Chenin Blanc is another variety Canning is passionate about, and the Margrain Chenin Blanc has attained a cult following over the years. This famous grape of the Loire Valley is grown from 35-year-old vines Margrain acquired from Martinborough pioneer Stan Chifney. Balance is the key with this wine. The crisp acidity is balanced with a moderate level of residual sugar to create an off-dry style. This is brilliant summer wine bursting with zesty green apple flavours, good minerality with a lovely long honeyed finish. Luscious! $30