John and Annabel Porter planted Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris vines in a bare and stony five acre paddock on Kitchener Street, the main road into Martinborough in 1992. Then a few years ago, Porters Estate purchased another five acres of Pinot Noir from the vineyard next door.
It is behind their house that they converted the one hundred year old barn and stables into a winery, just in time for the year 2000 vintage. The vineyards are very much a hands-on operation, and they adopt organic principles and practices wherever possible. Vine prunings are either burnt or mulched back into the soil, the pips and skins from the pressed grapes are composted and used as mulch, and sprays are kept to the bare minimum.
Their emphasis is on producing grapes of the best quality every vintage. Their winemaking methods are gentle, resulting in wines which truly reflect the terroir and vintage conditions.
Bright straw-yellow with a faint blush, pale on rim. The bead is fine and moderately persistent. This has a gently voluminous bouquet with deep aromas of fresh yellow stonefruits and a suggestion of red fruits, along with delicate nuances of nuts, toast and yeast lees in the background. Dry to taste and medium-full bodied, the palate features a firm, dense and concentrated core with grainy phenolic textures encasing a subtle amalgam of yellow stonefruits, yeast lees, hints of toast and savoury nutty elements. The mouthfeel is lively with brisk acidity and bold in mouthfeel, still unsettled and yet to integrate. Flavours of lees work, nuts and stonefruits unfold and blossom with interest on the racy, mouthwatering finish. Shy on nose, this is a dry, crisp, grainy-textured method traditionnelle with a firm core and complex nuances. It will come together and drink well over the next 4+ years. Serve with antipasto, poultry and pork. - Raymond Chan
The colour of this 2014, is slightly straw, with gold tints. There is a very slight hint of that ‘gris’ hue. The nose shows an apple and pear notes, coupled with strudel; typical of Pinot gris. Underneath all that is a faint pear skin element that goes directly to the palate. Lovely grainy texture- a slight baked pip fruit note and a texture that exhibits a delicacy rather than running on high octane alcohol and sweet sugar. Stylish rather than fruit blown giggle juice would be a crude, but accurate way of putting it. Some of our Pinot gris have progressed through the cellar with remarkable aging ability. I would like to think this one may, but I would think a shorter cellaring proposition may be called for, it’s just so lovely now. I would be pleased to be incorrect in this assumption – do contact me with your thoughts as I very much enjoy what the public think. It’s just that this wine is quite expressive now, why wait? Take these moments of pleasure whilst one can, I say. This wine has a pleasing acid that frames and articulates the palate – this means, when you put it in your mouth, it’s the acid that firms the flavours, carries the characters through the length of the palate, then finishes with a deft flick – much like a tennis player, probing his opponent with a rally then positioning himself to angle a quick spinning ball to the faraway corner. Game, set and match.
Bright, rose petal colour and hue. Quite bright in the glass, with none of that extruded bottled black Doris plum colour. The bouquet, at this stage, ever so slightly closed, tells you this wine requires a modest decanter and aeration prior to consuming. I would say about half an hour would be ideal. Typical Porter Estate aromas: a floral, cherry and earthy complexity. That “French” type complexity we love as it harmonises beautifully with game and cheese. There is a redcurrant, cherry and petal delicacy about the nose and over a period of time, new flavours and smells begin to emerge. At this stage, the palate is a good reflection of the nose, there are no unpleasant surprises. The initial mouthfeel is an “Oh My” moment, the supple, smooth entry belies the palates firm and focal end. The tannins add a subtle framework, and the acid adds tightness. This is exactly what a young Pinot should be –pleasant now, but will reward the purchaser after several years of cellaring, in which it will gradually become more integrated than it currently is. One can see the flavours, tannins and acid there, but like teenagers at a school ball, they are nervous and shy, awaiting for the right song and intestinal fortitude in order to meet up for a wonderful harmonious sway and gentle touch. It’s an eager wine, keen but slightly shy currently. Lovely, elegant finish.