While Bill and Ross Spence were the sons of a winemaking father, but decided not to follow his winemaking path. They began in a ragged tin shed in West Auckland, in 1974. The wines they released from that first vintage immediately placed them amongst the leading group of innovative winemakers. Chardonnay and Gamay Teinturier were not common varieties in New Zealand at that time, and it was the first time Sauvignon Blanc had ever been produced, but they were committed to a new way.
Within a year the success of these wines was being noted. In 1975, the "Burgundy" won the first competition trophy for Matua Valley at the Royal Easter Show. A less publicized triumph was the impression the Sauvignon Blanc had made amongst the other winemakers, leading to the decision to include large quantities of this variety in the first vineyards to be planted in the now famous Marlborough region. In 1976 a new company, Matua Valley Wines Ltd was formed in partnership with another Auckland family, the Margans.
The new foundation allowed Matua Valley to put down more substantial roots, and in 1977, 25 hectares of land was purchased in the beautiful green Waikoukou Valley, 35 kilometers west of Auckland. A new winery was built on the crest of a low ridge overlooking the valley, and the first steps made towards landscaping gardens and establishing a visitors’ center were made.
Learn More About Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir (PEE-noh nwahr)
Pinot Noir is a finicky grape. It only grows in
the right climate, with the right soils and the right care. Perhaps because
it is so difficult is why it is so loved. Pinot Noir hails from Burgundy, a region known for crafting the most collectible and sought-after wines from this varietal.
Not only does Pinot reign in Burgundy, it is also essential in Champagne, where it is one of the
three main grapes in creating sparkling wine. Pinot Noir mutates
easily and so there are many different clones floating around in different wine regions.
Other than Burgundy, Pinot has been successful in areas like
and lately, New
Zealand - the Central
Otago region to be exact. Burgundian Pinot Noir typically offers flavors and aromas
of red fruit, summer pudding and baking spices. As the wine matures - and great
Burgundies are able to do so for years - the flavors become more like the earth
the wine comes from- mushrooms, truffles - and the wine gains tremendous complexity.
Pinot Noir from the new world like Oregon and California typically exude stronger
fruit intensity. Some are able to reach a high level of complexity, structure
and age. Others are wonderful for drinking now with a myriad of foods. Many
may wax poetic about this grape, the reason being that Pinot Noir produces an
amazing contradiction in wine - something so delicate and subtle, yet powerful
Learn More About Marlborough, New Zealand
Sitting pretty on the northern tip of New Zealand's south island, Marlborough has become synonymous with New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. As well it should be – Marlborough is the primary region for those delicious, citrusy, summer-lovin' wines with vibrant acidity and pungent, grassy, grapefruit flavors. Sauvignon Blanc is the main grape here; Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Riesling are also made.
The region has well-drained alluvial loam soils, which are perfect for grape growing. The grapes receive a good deal of sunshine during the day, but recovers in the cool evenings. Marlborough's growing season is long, which helps foster the gradual, even ripening of the grapes. Not made for much aging, the Sauvignon Blancs of Marlborough are of the buy ‘em and drink ‘em class of wine. Expect little vintage variation here - quantity differs more than quality.