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Notes from New Zealand, 2011

text © 2011 Tom Cannavan

These notes accompany our in-depth feature on New Zealand 2011.


fiona turner Like Tinpot Hut, Delta Vineyards is another joint partnership between winemaker Matt Thomson (right of picture) and David Gleave, M.W of Liberty Wines UK. Matt consults for Saint Clair, Mudhouse and other New Zealand wineries, but is also active in Italy making wine in Verona, Friuli and Piemonte.

Matt and David Gleave met in Italy in 1994 (before Liberty wines was formed) but the idea for their project came to life when Matt found the Delta vineyard site in 2000. At that time it was operating as a sheep farm, but Matt planted it through 2001 and 2002, exclusively to Pinot Noir. Some Sauvignon Blanc is produced under the label, but from other vineyards. Around 45% of the Delta vineyard, which is on heavy clay soils, is on the 'flats' and is principally used for the Delta Vineyard Pinot label, whilst the 'hills' comprising 55% of the vineyard rises to 175 metres and is the main source for the Hatter's Hill wine.

Though their first releases were only in 2004, Delta Vineyards hit the ground running, their 2005 Pinot Noir winning both the Pinot Noir Trophy and the Champion Wine of Show at the 2006 Air New Zealand Wine Awards. "The combination of low vigour clay soils and the best of the new Dijon clones gives us superb fruit, some of the best Pinot I've ever worked with in Marlborough," says Matt Thomson.

the wines

Delta Vineyards is imported into the UK by Liberty. See all wines on wine-searcher.

Delta Vineyards, Pinot Noir 2009
Lovely delicate colour with a fine, sweet, soft strawberry aroma and an engaging touch of herbal quality and some briary, chocolaty notes. It has a fine palate too, plenty of lemony acidity and it has good finesse, the fruit having a keen raspberry edge and a long, pure finish. 90/100.

Delta Vineyards, Hatters Hill Pinot Noir 2008
This wine spends one year in bottle before release. It is a barrel selection from the 100% Dijon clone vineyard, some whole bunches go into the fermentation tank and the wine is aged in around 40% new oak. Beautiful Pinot Noir nose, with a nice open freshness, a touch of blueberry depth and gloss. Nice little floral note and hints of sweet strawberry fruit. The palate has delightful fruit and balance and a gently charry underpinning. 92/100.

Delta Vineyards is imported into the UK by Liberty. See all wines on wine-searcher.

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