As the pre-eminent grape of Burgundy, Pinot Noir has become a global yardstick for premium wine among winemakers and discerning consumers. Pinot is a very demanding grape, but in the right hands, it has a wonderful ability to express the complexities of the local terroir. Now grown around the world—including Australia, New Zealand, America and Germany—the grape produces vastly different wines. Traditionally, though, it is light-bodied and has characters of raspberry, cranberry, truffle, and allspice. Pinot Noir's silky tannins and bright acidity pairs brilliantly with wide-ranging dishes, from pasta and roasted chicken to cheese boards and salads with balsamic vinaigrettes.
Martinborough is 65 kilometres east of Wellington. One of the three main sub-regions of Wairarapa, the small town is a relatively new viticulture site. Vines were first planted in the late 70s. Now home to twenty odd wineries, the town's centre is now referred to as 'the wine village'. The large number of vineyards are famous for their Pinot Noir grapes which thrive in the rich soils thanks to the regions warm microclimate. For what this township lacks in size, it makes up for it in its distinct, intense flavoured wines which are some of the most highly regarded in the country. Other main Varietals here include Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, and Riesling.