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.
In New Zealand, one of the oldest and best-known wine families is that of Corban's. Their name and label goes back a hundred or more years. And like many of the Australian 'wine royalty', younger members of the family are now striking out to make their own names in the business. Like Jeremy Corban who, with partner-in-wine (and life) Katherine Jacobs, has rapidly built a strong reputation with Big Sky Wines in Martinborough.
Most Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc lovers already know Martinborough. Before Central Otago rose to prominence, Martinborough was the hub of New Zealand Pinot Noir and it remains arguably the premier region, with makers like Ata Rangi, Craggy Range, Te Kairanga, Martinborough Vineyards - and Big Sky.
The winery's single block of vines is located on famous Te Muna Road - a name already respected world-wide as a Pinot sub-region. The deep gravel terraces above the Huangarua River combine with low rainfall, warm days and cool nights to produce what many consider to be the perfect situation for Pinot Noir - better even than the slopes of Burgundy - so the locals say.
It's only ten years since Jeremy and Katherine set up Big Sky, to produce world-class, hand-crafted wines that give true expression of place. They have succeeded completely...