Lansdowne Estate Pinot Noir 2014

Masterton Wairarapa | $49

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Lansdowne Estate

Masterton Wairarapa

The location of Lansdowne Estate pays tribute to the visionary settler and wine pioneer William Beetham, who established the Wairarapa’s first vineyard using classical French vines.

He planted carefully sourced classic French Rhone Valley and Burgundy-originating vinis vinifera cuttings of Hermitage (Syrah) and Pinot around his Lansdowne Homestead in Masterton in the early 1880’s. These classic grapevines flourished and he then moved them to a vineyard of about six acres which he established nearby, in a vale within the valley, on the bank of the Ruamahunga river. This became the first successful commercial vineyard in the Wairarapa.

By 1887 he was producing over 8000 litres of what was judged to be excellent wine. In 1895 the New Zealand Government invited an internationally recognised consultant and recognised viticulturist Romeo Bragatto to appraise and judge the potential of the wines being produced. He visited the Lansdowne Estate and found the wines to be of “prime quality” and to be at least equal to the very best of French wines.

Bragatto reported that the Wairarapa Valley but especially this vineyard’s “terroir”, was eminently suited to viticulture. The development of Masterton as a top wine region was halted by the prohibition movement, which in 1908 voted ‘no license’. Winemakers went out of business and the vines at Lansdowne were pulled out.

In 1997 a bottle of 1903 Lansdowne sold at auction in Wellington for $14,000. Bragatto’s input to the industry is still recognised in a New Zealand wine competition named in his honour.

In 1998 Margaret and Derek Hagar bought land on the west bank of the Ruamahanga River which was part of the original Lansdowne Estate. The terrain with its dry climate, cool nights and long hot sunny days with stony, clay over limestone soil compare favourably with any in the world for the cultivation of Burgundian wines.

After several years of hard struggle in the stony, free-draining soil Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir and Syrah were again established at Lansdowne. The six acres planted are about the same size as the original vineyard. They may well be on, or very near to the original site, being less than a kilometre from the original homestead.

Lansdowne Estate Pinot Noir 2014

Masterton Wairarapa | $49

$49 inc. GST

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