Marlborough is one of the New World’s greatest wine regions and home to a wine that has been described as the most significant new style of the 20th Century – Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. Lately another cool-climate variety, Pinot Noir, has also come to the fore.
Marlborough’s main wine region is the triangular Wairau Valley. One side runs north-south along the coast near the top of New Zealand’s South Island. The other two sides are bordered by the high Richmond Ranges to the northwest and the Wither Hills to the southwest. The single estate vineyard is nestled in the corner furthest from the sea.
In most years, Marlborough sees more sun than any other part of New Zealand. The high UV levels create excellent photosynthesis in the vines, aiding the development of character in the fruit. At night, Marlborough temperatures are cooler than you’d usually expect for such a sunny region. This wide diurnal temperature range helps to intensify flavours.
Serious winegrowing only started in Marlborough in the 1970s. The region’s capacity to achieve spectacular results with cool-climate varieties became clear early on. Marlborough built its reputation on Sauvignon Blanc, but recently Pinot Noir from the region has also started turning heads. These are the two varieties we focus on at Ara.