Grape Varietal: 100% Pinot Noir
Growing Region: Marlborough, New Zealand
*Winemaker: Chloe Gabrielsen

A lot can happen in a year - since the ‘Saint Clair Family Wine Estate’ bought fellow Marlborough wine company Lake Chalice. Last year they acquired more than 50 hectares of prime vineyards in Rapaura near Grovetown, and in the Waihopai Valley - along with stock and the Lake Chalice brand. Lake Chalice was established in 1989 by Chris Gambitsis and Phil Binnie, they were joined by fellow director and winemaker Matt Thomson in 1996.


Matt who also made the wines at Saint Clair, was on hand to oversee that the ethos of the wines remained - until recently moving onto a new wine project of his own. *Today, the winemaking is in the capable and skilled hands of Chloe and an experienced team. This 2014 vintage was crafted by the founding hands of Lake Chalice. So, with Chris recently getting married, I thought I would raise a glass to an iconic Marlborough and New Zealand wine brand, and too three pioneering individuals.
The fruit for this 2014 ‘Raptor’ Pinot Noir, came solely from the ‘Eyrie’ vineyard - located in the lower part of the Waihopai Valley. It was a hand-picked selection of Clone 115, that was identified and set aside from their main Pinot Noir blocks and parcels from this vintage. Plus, these vines were specifically pruned to 2 canes and the crop levels were carefully monitored throughout the growing season.
The 11-hectare ‘Eyrie’ vineyard was first planted in 2002, and vine age is starting to bring depth and character. Situated in the picturesque Waihopai Valley on the southern side of the Wairau Plain. This site has a high clay content in the soil profile, and is well suited to bringing out the best in Pinot Noir.
After harvesting - the fruit was fermented in 5000-litre open top vats, which allowed for maximum hand plunging of the cap. The wine went through a full malolactic fermentation and then 12 months aging in a mix of French oak barrels. The final blend is made up of 11 selected La Tonnellerie Mercurey and François Frères barrels. The wine was then gently egg white fined and made ready for bottling.
In your glass, you will be greeted by a deep ruby red colour. On the nose inviting aromas of ripe red plums and cherries, which are joined by lifted herb and floral notes. On the palate, this Pinot Noir has a vibrant character with supple tannins and ripe red fruit flavours. Those ripe plums and cherry fruits are joined by balanced tannins and well-integrated oak which add a hint of mocha-coffee onto the mid-palate. These layered flavours are well supported by fine grained oak tannins and all result in a smooth texture, and a lingering elegant finish.
This 2014 Lake Chalice ‘The Raptor’ Pinot Noir has 13.5% Alc. Decanter for 30-40 minutes, and serve in an appropriate shaped glass at 15-17°C. 

This character filled Pinot Noir, is a toast to the varietal and the people that crafted it.

With minimal decanting, drinking perfectly well this coming season; and will age nicely for another 3-4 years. 

Perfect wine pairing with seared tuna, smoked salmon, duck breast, lamb or pork cutlets, wild mushroom pasta dish, and aged smoky cheeses - enjoy.