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Wine Hero: Te Kairanga

Wine Hero: Te Kairanga

Te Kairanga

Martinborough, Wairarapa

In the heart of picturesque Martinborough, Te Kairanga are crafting beautiful, expressive wines that capture the essence of this unique terroir.

Despite making up just 3% of our country’s vineyards, Martinborough is celebrated as one of New Zealand’s premier winegrowing regions, globally renowned for its herbaceous sauvignon blancs, elegant aromatics and – most famously – its rich, savoury pinot noirs. After ten years at the helm, Te Kairanga’s Chief Winemaker, John Kavanagh, has perfected the art of capturing that unique regionality in every bottle.

‘I’m a non-interventional winemaker,’ says John. ‘I don’t like fiddling too much. My focus is to get the best out of the fruit’s flavours and to capture that complexity that’s intrinsic to the Martinborough terroir.’

With this year marking his 30th vintage making pinot noir, it’s John’s mastery and lifelong love of NZ’s favourite red that have made it the winery’s flagship varietal.

‘Every year of pinot is an unbelievable, pleasurable, and painful challenge,’ says John.

‘You’re dealing with a very challenging grape, but a grape that makes fantastic, rewarding, intriguing wine when you get it right. It’s a wine that really expresses its place, and when you have a place with as much character as Martinborough, it comes through really strongly.’ In their Estate Pinot Noir, that character manifests in a delicious depth of ripe fruit, with layers of spice and savoury, almost earthy, characters. In their chardonnays, it’s complex, layered flavours; light stone fruit, with an underlying savouriness.

Although it’s the Runholder Pinot Noir, made with grapes from the region’s viticultural epicentre, Martinborough Terrace, that John describes as the truest expression of Te Kairanga. 2021 is set to be another spectacular year. Although challenging weather and a cool spring have yielded a smaller crop, to John that means an exciting vintage, leading to more concentrated and deeply flavoured wines.

‘I love the intensity of the environment,’ he explains. ‘It can be harsh, but the most challenging years give gracious balance to the wine. You just have to be brave enough to face those challenges. That’s when it’s most rewarding,’

 

Find the Te Kairanga range in our alcohol section.

Te Kairanga Estate Chardonnay 
With luscious aromas of cashew, almond, and ripe white peach, this is one elegant Chardonnay. The rich, poised palate makes it an ideal match for roast pork, yakitori chicken, or goats cheese soufflé. Te Kairanga Estate Pinot Noir
Deep crimson with purple hues, this Pinot Noir leads with seductive wild berry, cherry, and plum with a savoury spice. The palate is ripe, full, and satisfying, making it the perfect match for herb-crusted lamb rack.

Te Kairanga John Martin Chardonnay 
Fragrant aromatics of ripe pear and yellow stone fruit pair with stony mineral characters, resulting in a rich, refined wine with a long, flowing finish. Best paired with tray-baked chicken, butter beans, leeks, and spinach.

Te Kairanga Runholder Pinot Noir
Beautiful, dark red hues lead to an aromatic flurry of complex cherries, spice and classic Martinborough savoury notes. The palate is velvety and complex, with fruity depth, refined tannins, and a long finish.

 

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