“Punchy and exotic, with a fresh-fruited nose and palate of gooseberry, nettles, grapefruit, apple, peach, herbs and spice. Crisp, refreshing and dry with intensity and drive, lots of minerality and fresh herb complexity.” - CD
James Suckling 90
“Quite fresh, gravelly aromas with lime and lime leaf, as well as tropical melon. The palate has a core of citrusy drive and fresh acidity holds in passion-fruit and lime flavors in long. Drink now. Screw cap.” - JS
75% MacDonald Family Home Vineyard, Wairau Bar. 25% Redwood Hills, Awatere Valley.
The fruit for this wine was harvested from the best blocks from each of te Pa's two main Sauvignon Blanc vineyards. These blocks were selected for their great fruit expression as well as low cropping, and early ripening characteristics. 50% of this wine was hand-picked and whole-bunch pressed. The blocks were fermented separately, mostly in stainless steel tanks, before blending and then aging on light lees. A small percentage of new oak was used in the blend.
te Pā winery is located on the Wairau Bar in Marlborough, which is New Zealand's earliest known settlement. Before the MacDonald family started te Pā in 2003, their family history was already deeply rooted in the Wairau Bar for over 800 years. The location is the ideal place to grow Sauvignon Blanc, nestled between the river to the south, and Cloudy Bay on the eastern boundary. These two bodies of water mediate the temperature and encourage air flow throughout the vineyards. The effect is more even ripening of the grapes, a lower diurnal shift, and decreased disease in the vineyards. The variety of soil types range from loam to alluvial to sand/silt and promote a healthy drainage for the vines. Sauvignon Blanc vines were first planted in 2003 with the inaugural release in of the first wine in 2011. Now with over 400 hectares under vine, the family has expanded their vineyards to Awatere Valley near Seddon, which is a cooler terroir than Wairau Bar. The winery grows Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir. The vineyards are sustainably farmed.
Te PaView all from Te Pa
It all began here. Around 1350 AD, it is said, the first canoes rode the crashing waves of the Wairau Bar in to the Wairau river mouth. People set foot in Aotearoa-New Zealand, perhaps for the very first time.
Nestled between the mighty Wairau River and the azure waters of the Cook Strait ocean, with Cloudy Bay directly in front, te Pā's home block vineyard at the Wairau Bar is as majestic as it is productive.
The Wairau Bar is New Zealand's earliest known settlement. It's a long gravel bank formed where the Wairau River meets the sea. Back when it was occupied, the site was probably an island, ideally located to source plentiful kaimoana (seafood) and birdlife from the lagoon. The Wairau river also gave access inland.
It seems that the Wairau Bar was probably a permanent settlement. Archaeologists first excavated the site in the mid-20th century, digging up many graves, including detailed adzes and personal ornaments. The bones and possessions were only repatriated to their rightful resting place in recent years, thanks to a team of archaeologists from the University of Otago and representatives of the Rangitane iwi.
With the river to the south, and Cloudy Bay on the eastern boundary, these two bodies of water ensure continuous air flow throughout the growing season which dramatically reduces disease pressure and alleviates mid-summer heat spikes.
Soils range from rich fertile loams of varying depths overlying alluvial deposits, through to the sandy/silty soils of the seaside blocks. The Wairau Bar tends to ripen earlier than te Pā's Awatere Valley vineyards, and this relates to the warmer nights and reduced diurnal range.
This unique microclimate gives the fruit parcels from this vineyard a soft acidity, pungent aromatics, and complex, ripe flavour profiles.