Dog Point Pinot Noir 2011, Marlborough, New Zealand

Drunk October 2013

The winery

Dog Point vineyard in Marlborough, New Zealand combines the experience of Ivan and Margaret Sutherland and James and Wendy Healy.

The name Dog Point dates back to the earliest European settlement of Marlborough and the introduction of sheep to the district.  These were the days where, due to a lack of fences, boundary riders used boundary keeping dogs to protect the local flocks of sheep.  

Shepherds' dogs sometimes became lost or wandered off, eventually breeding to form a marauding pack that attacked the same flocks they were meant to be protecting.  Eventually settlers were forced to cull the dogs and the area was named Dog Point.

These dogs lived on the tussock and scrub covered southern hills of Dog Point Vineyards.  This landscape was, and still is, characterised by the iconic New Zealand native plant the Ti Kouka ‘cabbage’ tree which is also an established feature of the Dog Point property.

Ti Kouka Tree

Ti Kouka Tree

Ivan Sutherland, James Healy

The founders have a vision of a  boutique and family oriented business producing wines with a clear point of difference. Winemaking duo James and Ivan embody the spirit of quality winemaking by combining their experience and passion with old world philosophies and new world technologies.

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Dog Point has some of the oldest vines in Marlborough's Wairau Valley. The vineyard is centrally located at the confluence of the smaller Brancott and Omaka Valleys and is neighbour to the first commercially planted vineyard in Marlborough; planted by Montana in 1973.  Fruit for the wines is sourced from selected vineyard plantings dating back to the late 1970's. These older well-established vines situated on free draining silty clay loams are supplemented with fruit from closely planted hillside vines on soils with a clay loam influence.

Low cropping and hand harvesting are a feature of wine production with clay loam on gentle, closely planted hill slopes being ideally suited to Pinot Noir.  These soils express cherry, plum and earthy characters. The winery focuses on making the wine production as sustainable as possible with aflock of around 2,000 sheep including Romney, Perendale Cross and Merino Wiltshire Cross are grazed in the winter to keep the grass low and fertilise as they go. 

The wine

The Dog Point Pinot 2011 was matured for eighteen months in French oak barrels.

Spicy oak and fruit, notably cherry, with a floral note, dominate the nose, whilst the palate is silky smooth and laden with fruit with a hint of sweetness and residual spice. The finish is long, with complex tannins and balanced acidity. Another delicious New Zealand Pinot Noir.