The mere mention of Wairarapa, especially its sub-region of Martinborough, sends a tingle down the spine of wine lovers who worship at the church of Pinot noir. The styles produced out of this region are in the Burgundian vein. They pass more than a fleeting resemblance in excellent vintages, especially those out of the Ata Rangi and Martinborough Vineyard wineries that are approaching cult status. The Wairarapa region is sometimes called Wellington as that is the official name of the greater regional area that occupies the southern end of the North Island. The city of Wellington is only a one hour drive from the Wairarapa wine region. It encompasses the three sub-regions of Masterton, Gladstone and, of course, Martinborough. Even though the region is small production wise, it accounts for the a large slice of the New Zealand’s premier, high quality wines. The climate in Wairarapa is relatively cool with warm summer days, cool nights and low rainfall. The only climatic challenge is spring frosts. These climatic events are controlled by temperature triggered wind machines scattered throughout the region that rotate the air and minimise damage. Thanks to the Huangarua River, the soils are mostly gravelly silt loams over deep, free-draining gravels, but vineyards are also planted on limestone and clay loams. As previously mentioned, Pinot Noir is THE grape of the area; hence it is the most planted varietal. Nevertheless, good examples of Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc are also produced. The white wine styles range from light, crisp gooseberry and passionfruit Savvy, through to citrus and white peach Chardonnays. The Pinot Noirs of Martinborough are elegantly floral with an intense plummy core, wafts of earthy spice and superb structure.