New brand from an old vineyard
After a prolonged struggle, the Martinborough wine producer Alana closed its doors some time ago. The owner of Murdoch James eventually purchased Alana’s winery and vineyard. The vineyard, though a little run down, is in the heart of the Martinborough Terraces region and is planted with mature vines.
Murdoch James (tastings) is now marketing wines from the old Alana vineyard under the Luna Estate label, while top wines will be offered under the Luna Eclipse brand. I tasted three recent releases all of which show some promise. I was told that the vineyards were being resurrected after having been “run down” and all three wines seemed to be less than perfectly physiologically ripe but were well-made and I felt had potential.
Most impressive was 2015 Luna Eclipse Chardonnay, a wine of considerable power and finesse in a rather Chablis-like style. This slightly edgy wine is clearly made to be enjoyed with food with freshly-shucked Bluff oysters an obvious candidate.
The 2016 Luna Estate Riesling is pleasingly pure with attractive sweet-and-sour tension. Flavours are on the green side suggesting an early harvest perhaps to retain the wine’s knife-edged acidity.
The 2015 Luna Estate Pinot Noir had impressive power and perfume but was handicapped by rhubarb and herb flavours together with stemmy tannins. It’s a wine with character and promise and I look forward to reviewing future vintages.