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.

Two Rivers Awatere Selection Pinot Noir 2011, Malborough, New Zealand

Drunk October 2013

The winery

David Clouston is originally from Marlborough, and after 22 vintages abroad from Oregon to Chile, Corsica to Alsace, he returned home and set about exploring the valleys and diverse terroirs of Marlborough. The main production is the Sauvignon made from fruit from both the Awatere and Wairau river valleys, whence the 'Two Rivers of Marlborough' name, but his hillside Pinot Noir is showing great potential.

The wine

Sourced from Richmond Brook and Seddon vineyards in the Awatere with 10% from Brancott in the Wairau. These two north facing, low yielding vineyards are at an elevation of up to 1000 feet. 

The grapes were hand-picked and gently de-stemmed before undergoing fermentation by naturally occurring wild yeasts. 5% whole bunch clusters were added to the ferment for an increased lift in aromatics and structure. The resulting wine was aged in both new and seasoned French barrels for 11 months with intermittent stirring of the malolactic lees for increased palate weight and mouthfeel. The wine was unfiltered and unfined.

This is a ruby coloured red with typical New Zealand Pinot Noir aroma of fruit and earthy spices. The palate is medium bodied, blackcurrants, cherry and spice on the finish. Not as intense and complex as some NZ Pinot's but very rewarding and an excellent example of what  a Malborough micro-climate can offer in terms of this grape.

Seresin Estate - Rachel, Pinot Noir 2010, Wairau Valley, Malborough, New Zealand

Drunk September 2013


The Seresin wine estate was founded by Michael Seresin. He was born in Wellington, New Zealand, but left in the 1960s, when sheep, not grapevines, covered the Wairau Plains. He settled in Italy, where he was captivated by Italian food and wine culture, and began his career as a cinematographer. Over time Michael's interest in wine developed into a passion. In the early 1990s after investigating opportunities to start a winery in Italy, he became aware of the quality wines starting to emerge from his homeland. After visiting Marlborough, and falling in love with the Marlborough Sounds, Michael decided to purchase a home there, followed by the purchase of some land in the Wairau Valley, which became Seresin's Home vineyard. Planting of vines began immediately, followed by the importation and planting of Tuscan olive varieties and significant plantings of natives.


Michael Seresin

Seresin's first vintage was in 1996. In 2000 the Tatou vineyard was purchased, followed a year later by land in the Omaka Valley which has become the Raupo Creek vineyard.

Located in the central pocket of the Wairau Valley, this certified organic and biodynamic 45 hectare vineyard is made up of alluvial, free-draining Waimakariri soils. The land is planted with Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, and Riesling. Olive groves, orchards, and vegetable gardens are an important part of the vineyard and add to the diversity of the Estate.

This team has largely been assembled in the last seven years, beginning with the arrival in 2006 of winemaker Clive Dougall, who came fresh from a stint as assistant winemaker at Pegasus Bay, and estate manager (or "Farm Manager" as he prefers) Colin Ross. Ross is an import from Australia, where he spent the previous ten years of his career converting Brooklyn Valley Vineyard to biodynamics, before arriving at Seresin to do the same thing.

Assistant winemaker Richard Gabrielsson, a Swedish-born sommelier who came to New Zealand looking for work in the industry, started behind the counter at the winery's cellar door, but was quickly drafted by the winemaking team and has spent the last four years in the cellar with Dougall.

This triumvirate of gentlemen is filled out (or perhaps balanced) by a young woman named Wendy Tillman, who joined the winery in 2008 under the title of Biodynamic Viticulture Practitioner. Tillman has a masters in viticulture from the University of Adelaide, and serves as the conductor of the multivariate regimen both for Seresin, and for a local group of Marlborough winemakers who don't have the luxury of the self-contained farm over which Tillman presides.

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The Seresin Rachel Pinot Noir grapes are hand picked and then hand-sorted before being de-stemmed and cooled. After a pre-fermentation soaking period juice is allowed to warm and fermentation started with wild yeast. During fermentation the caps are hand-plunged daily. The wine is then left to sit on skins for two weeks for post ferment maceration; a total of four weeks is spent in contact with the skins. It was then drained and lightly pressed before being transferred to French barriques, approximately 30% of which were new. The Rachel Pinot Noir went through natural malolactic fermentation during fifteen months spent maturing in barrel, before being bottled unfiltered and without fining. The finished wine has an alcohol of 14.0 percent, pH of 3.65, and 5.90g/L titratable acid.


Another great New Zealand Pinot Noir, this time from Malborough on the Northern tip of the South Island. Concentrated flavours and aromas, a wonderful ruby colour in the glass.. Great nose of strawberry, blackberry and black cherry, and typical Burgundy like earthiness on the palate with a beautifully long finish.