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Pioneer Block 16 Awatere Pinot Noir 2011

WINEMAKER: Matt Thomson and Hamish Clark


The Awatere vineyard is named from a north-facing hillside vineyard, overlooking the Awatere Valley, 25km south of Blenheim.


Southern Awatere Valley.


Soils: Windblown loess over clay.

Topography: A gentle north facing slope.

Climate: Slightly cooler than the Wairau Valley.

Regional Characteristics & contribution to Uniqueness of Flavours:

The vines are planted closely together on a north facing slope on vigour moderating soils. A long ripening season provided ideal conditions for the development of concentrated flavours and ripe tannin.


The fruit was sourced from a vineyard on the southern side of the Awatere Valley. The sloping site allows each vine to receive maximum exposure to sunlight, while the cooler maritime influence assists with acid and flavour retention.


The fruit was harvested when it had reached full physiological ripeness and maximum flavour maturity. At the winery the fruit was held cold for five days prior to fermentation to help extract maximum flavour and to enhance colour stability. A specially selected yeast was used to carry out the primary alcoholic fermentation, during which the fermenting must was hand plunged up to six times daily at the peak of fermentation. At dryness the wine was pressed, then racked off gross lees to a mixture of 44 per cent new French oak and older seasoned 225 litre oak barriques. During maturation the barrels were regularly tasted until the right balance was achieved (ten months). During its time in oak, the young wine completed malolactic fermentation. The wine was then carefully extracted from oak, blended and prepared for bottling.


Dark garnet core with purple hues on the rim.


An aromatic nose with crushed thyme, red cherry, blueberry and a touch of spicy oak.


A luscious palate with delicious boysenberries, and blueberries followed by an elegant structure, balanced acidity and a rich toasty finish.


This is a complex wine which is perfect for drinking immediately. With careful cellaring this wine will continue to develop for the next 5 years.


Alcohol: 13.5% v/v, Titratable Acidity: 6.2g/litre, pH: 3.55.

Food Match:

Beautifully matched with rare venison steak, barbecued lamb rack or scotch fillet with mushrooms.


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