In his A Wine Atlas of New Zealand, Michael Cooper summarises Nga Waka wines as ‘typically immaculate, with a voluminous fragrance and fresh, deep, lingering flavours. These are consistently classy wines’.
Three Paddles is technically Nga Waka’s second label. However the quality and personality of Three Paddles Pinot Noir have led to its recognition as a wine that consistently offers exceptional value for money. Made using fruit only from low-cropping Martinborough vineyards that Nga Waka owns or controls, it is a wine with typically plummy, spicy fruit character and perhaps unexpected concentration and depth of flavour.
In the winery fruit is destemmed and cold macerated before fermentation. Post-ferment maceration on skins extends for between 18 and 22 days and is followed by about nine months maturation in tight-grained French oak, about 25% new. The wine is bottled unfined and unfiltered. Nga Waka is an accredited member of Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand.
A mild whiff of reduction isn't enough to suppress the otherwise pretty red cherry and spice-scented nose that is trimmed in just enough wood to notice. There is good vibrancy to the delicious if lighter weight flavours that retain a good sense of detail on the bitter cherry pit-inflected finish. This mildly edgy effort could easily be enjoyed young or held for a few years first.
Allen Meadows, Burghound, October 2019.
MartinboroughMartinborough is located on the North Island of New Zealand and is the island’s driest area, due to the rain shadow created by the Tararua and Rimutaka Ranges. The district is prone to spring frosts, with wind machines employed throughout the area to protect young vines from frost damage. Martinborough’s climate is cool with some maritime influence and the region enjoys one of the longest growing seasons in New Zealand. There is significant diurnal variation, excellent for preserving aromatics and acidity and the naturally breezy conditions help to curb vine vigour, resulting in low yields of grapes with great intensity and flavor concentration. Over time, the river which runs through the region, has carved out cliffs and escarpments to expose stony sub-soils, helping to create the premium vineyard site of ‘Martinborough Terrace’ built over layers of alluvial river terraces. Martinborough has significant plantings of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Riesling but is best known for producing outstanding Pinot Noir sought the world over.