Bright and delicate with none of those wet leaves’ flavors that often overpower some pinots, this Goldwater 2012 Pinot Noir hails from the famed Wairau Valley of Marlborough, New Zealand, where winemaker Stuart Marfell grew up “just next door,” (if you could call a 2,000-acre farm “just next door”) at his father’s sheep ranch near the small town Blenheim, population 500. It has all the luscious flavors — strawberry, raspberry, black cherry and spice –that make Pinot Noir so enjoyable with food.
We paired it with a pork tenderloin from The Fresh Market, my new favorite grocer, in a sauce Joe made from Bourbon, mustard, and peach preserves from St. Supery’s famed Fay Elberta orchards at Dollarhide Ranch.
Another great pairing: Spaghetti Carbonara with Black Summer Truffles from the winemaker lunch at Coppa Osteria in Houston’s Rice University Village.
Founded in 1978, Goldwater is among the oldest wine producers in New Zealand. Winemaker Stuart (Stu) Marfell’s first harvest was at age 9, when his mom answered a call to the locals to help pick grapes, and brought Stu and his brother along with her. He continued to work at Goldwater (and sister label Dashwood) during summers and school holidays.
“I knew I didn’t really want to be a sheep farmer,” says Stu. Off he went to Lincoln University in Christchurch, where he was one of the first graduates of the school’s Viticulture and Oenology degree program. Following graduation, in 2003, he was named assistant winemaker. He became winemaker in 2007.
I met Stu in June, during a winemaker lunch at Coppa Osteria to taste Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir from both Goldwater and Dashwood. Affable and charming, he is a true Marlborough native son.
“Marlborough is a special place for wine,” says Stu, “and I cannot imagine living anywhere else. Perhaps it’s our cloudless skies or mild temperatures or well-strained soils. Our home in the Wairau Valley is a place of wistful beauty and extraordinary terroir.”
Both Dashwood and Goldwater Pinot Noirs show Stu’s respect for the grape. “We do a hand punch on the Pinot, because the grapes are so delicate,” he says.
Harvest takes place during the cool early morning hours to help retain the bright, pristine characteristics of the grape. After the gentle crush and cold fermentation, the wine is then aged in a mix of new and one-year old French barriques for a minimum of nine months to integrate the fruit and add complexity. The 2012 Goldwater Pinot Noir spent 11 months in barrel. Grapes are sustainably farmed. 100% Pinot Noir. ABV 13.0%
Primarily sold in Australia and the United Kingdom, you can find Goldwater Pinot Noir in mainly fine restaurants in the United States. If you can find it available retail it is priced $20 to $24.
Other wines from Stuart Marfell we enjoyed at Coppa Osteria included the Dashwood 2012 Pinot Noir, the 2013 Dashwood Sauvignon Blanc and 2013 Goldwater Sauvignon Blanc. All are lovely selections at great value. The Goldwater Sauvignon Blanc is just $20 SRP, 2013 Dashwood Sauvignon Blanc around $15 and the 2012 Dashwood Pinot Noir around $18. These wines are imported by Pasternak Wine Imports. To find them in your area, please visit Pasternak’s location page here.