John came to Martinborough specifically for Pinot Noir, and became the Chief Winemaker at Te Kairanga in 2012. A graduate of Lincoln University with a post graduate diploma in Viticulture and Oenology, John was born and raised in Waiuku, south of Auckland.
2021 marks John’s 30th Vintage making Pinot Noir, it’s his mastery and lifelong love of Pinot Noir that has made it Te Kairanga’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 Te Kairanga 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.
John’s philosophy is to honour the past while looking to the future; "While our land is steeped in history, our winemaking is very much focused on the future - to fully realise the potential of this incredible piece of land.”
What is your favourite food match with Pinot Noir?
Crispy duck breast with confit potatoes.
What is the best Pinot Noir you’ve ever made?
John Martin Pinot Noir 2017, it's refined and seductive
What is the aroma/flavour profile? Dark ripe fruits and exotic spice aromas. Full soft smooth palate has fine tannin structure.
What are the best local food favourites in Martinborough?
Beef fillet at Union Square, Little Square Pizza, Sourdough from Borough Bakery.
What are the best Local activities?
Sunset dinner at Lake Ferry Hotel, Tauherenikau River Gorge swimming, day trip to Cape Palliser.
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