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Gold medal for Borthwick pinot

The Borthwick 2019 pinot noir range. PHOTOS/KAREN COLTMAN

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Gladstone winemaker Paddy Borthwick says the soil and climate his grape vines grow in makes great pinot noir and New World wine judges agree.

Paper Road Pinot Noir 2019 has won gold in the ‘New World Wine Awards Top 50’.

The judges waxed lyrical about the wine.

“Perfumed cedar, ripe black cherry and tamarillo fruit aromas extend through the palate, giving a genuine complexity,” they said.

“Beetroot, mushrooms and duck are all extraordinary when paired with this pinot noir.”

Borthwick said the gold pinot noir was made with a blend of his grapes and others from around the Gladstone valley.

This blend started with pinot vine clones from Burgundy, France.

Winemakers Briony Carnachan and Paddy Borthwick.

Another factor involved in the success was that he brought in experienced winemaker Briony Carnachan a couple of years ago.

She was most recently the winemaker for Matahiwi Wines.

Carnachan said to get the wine right it started with rigorous vine selection, and 2019 was a good vintage.

The Borthwick family bought the 27 hectares on Dakins Road in 1996.

The land borders the Ruamahanga River where it is stony, free draining, with a ‘micro climate’ that has warm daily temperatures and cool nights. The two winemakers use French oak barrels to add flavour.

From the vine to the glass was about 18 months but the wine can last in the bottle for many years.

“There is an earthiness that comes through our pinot, a savoury flavour that you can chase in this wine and we are very pleased with it,” Borthwick said.

“There are plenty of berry flavours in it because of the breeze and good drainage being right on the Ruamahanga River.”

Paper Road Pinot Noir is not their top-of-the-range pinot. That is the Left Hand and Right Hand brands which retail for about $50 a bottle, but the New World judging was based on bottles retailing for less than $25.

“It’s pretty cool to be a winner, we are really chuffed to be in the top 50 and to be getting national exposure for the wine we love,” Borthwick said.

“It is superb for us to get this gold medal in this price range.”

Most of Borthwick’s wine was exported to overseas buyers including in China and the United States.

Borthwick said for a small area, unlike Otago where pinot noir was produced in large quantities and renowned for producing good quality pinot, “Gladstone valley is doing very well”.

New World judges assessed more than 1200 wines across New Zealand. The judging team consists of 18 independent wine experts from around the country.

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