Tinpot Hut Marlborough Pinot Noir 2017  £18.95

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Tinpot Hut wines are made primarily from fruit grown on winemaker Fiona Turner's vineyard in Blind River. Fiona, who has worked with Matt Thomson for a number of years, supplements her own grapes with fruit from other growers in Marlborough and Hawkes Bay. The tinpot hut that gave its name to Fiona's wines is an old mustering hut in the remote hills between the Wairau and Awatere Valleys. The huts were used as a base for musterers as they rounded up the sheep that had been in the hills from spring to autumn. The name links Marlborough's past as a sheep farming centre with its current state as one of the world's most dynamic wine regions.

Pinot Noir grapes were sourced from three well-tended, low yielding vineyards in the Blind River, Omaka Valley and Dashwood sub-regions in Marlborough.

2017 was a challenging vintage for wine growers as conditions were wetter and cooler than usual. This reduced yields by approximately 9% compared to 2016. It also pushed harvest dates back for all varieties. The final wines are more restrained on the nose and the palate but still display distinctive varietal characteristics.

The fruit was picked at optimum ripeness and carefully transported to the winery for destemming and chilling. Each vineyard was kept separate in small open top fermenters and cold soaked to extract maximum flavour and colour stability. The wine was fermented using a mixture of selected yeast strains and hand plunged up to six times daily. After fermentation, 20% of the wine was transferred into French oak barrels (50% new, 50% second and third use) and aged for 10 months. The remaining batches were aged in stainless-steel tanks to preserve the delicate fruit characters. Each batch went through malolactic fermentation and was aged on lees before being blended, stabilised, lightly egg white fined and prepared for bottling.

This Pinot Noir is ruby red in colour with a purple hue. It has intense aromas of black cherry, blackberry and plum mingle with a hint of redcurrant. Savoury mushroom and toasty oak characters complete the attractive nose. On the palate, it has classic black cherry notes that dominate and are supported by hints of bramble, reflecting the aromatics. Structurally, the tannins are soft and silky, and well-balanced acidity ensures good length and weight.

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