2019 Staete Landt “State of Grace” Pinot Noir, Marlborough, New Zealand (Alcohol 13%, Residual Sugar 2 g/l) LCBO Vintages (released April 13th) $32.95 (750ml bottle)

Ruud Maasdam’s State of Grace Pinot is a wine I have thoroughly enjoyed over the years. It took me some time to begin to understand Marlborough Pinot Noirs, having for decades been much more fond of those hailing from Martinborough in the north island, but now I can really appreciate what the better Marlborough examples bring to the table.

The 2019 was the first in a series of three short crops, but despite the reduced yields, the fruit was picked at optimum physiological and phenolic ripeness, leading to a wine that will only get better with time, perhaps up to a decade from vintage.

The hand-picked fruit is sourced from specific parcels within the Rapaura and Brancott sub-appellations, with varied soils ranging from alluvial deposits to stonier gravels, both with occasional clay layers. This fruit was destemmed before going through a 6 – 10 day cold maceration before fermentation, followed by an extended post-ferment maceration, some of the parcels seeing up to 45 days. Maturation took place in a mixture of new and older French oak cooperage for 18 months.

The alluring bouquet is one of raspberries, red cherries, cola, and a teasing hint of florality. The light-medium-bodied palate shows darker fruits (blackcurrants, black cherries), bright acidity, and a deeply savoury character. The wonderfully soft and supple tannins are chalky and mineral-like, and add a great deal to both the structure and the extended savoury finish.

I enjoyed a glass of this all by itself, but I feel that a wine with this degree of complexity really comes into its own alongside food. I experimented with some simple plank-roasted salmon with garlic rapini, and the pairing was simply sublime.

(Four and a half out of a possible five apples)



Staete Landt wines are represented in Ontario by Lifford Cellars.

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