In 1989, John and Vivienne Phipps purchased a block of land on the now-famous Martinborough terraces. Together with their daughters, the Phipps family lovingly planted several thousand vines by hand; this being the beginning of Ashwell Vineyards.
The vineyard was expanded in 1991, to its current size of approximately 10 acres, small enough to remain a true boutique vineyard. The vines are tended mostly by hand (including harvesting), ensuring high quality grapes and wines. All wines are created with grapes grown on their own vineyards.
The majority of vines are Pinot Noir, the specialty wine of the region. Their Pinot Noir is regional-styled and a past gold medal winner at the prestigious Air New Zealand Wine Awards. They also produce a Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and small amount of Cabernet Sauvignon.
"Bouquet of delicate florals, passionfruit, gooseberry and green bean. The intensity of aromatics could have you mistaking this for a racy Marlborough Sav. Green bean, passionfruit lemon and a hint of stone-fruit are evident on the palate. The palate is medium bodied, with rounded mouth-feel and medium length. Juicy acidity blends in nicely with other components." - Michael Cooper 4 Stars
2009 Pinot Noir "Attractive wine with strong, bright plum and dark cherry flavours. Moderately concentrated sweet fruit with a lingering finish. An appealing wine with strong varietal definition." Bob Campbell - 4 Stars
2010 Pinot Noir "Attractive wine with fresh, bright red cherry and plum flavours. Concentrated sweet fruit with a lingering finish. An appealing wine with strong varietal definition." Bob Campbell - 4 Stars
"Very similar to the regular label, with a little more fruit concentration and oak influence. Very focused wine with a linear and lingering finish ."- Bob Campbell - 4 Stars
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