Located in the Wairau Valley in the heart of Marlborough, Isabel Vineyard receives the full benefit of extended sunshine hours combined with a long, relatively cool growing season. Long, brilliantly sunny, mild autumns allow for the development of intense flavours and aromas in the fruit. Back in the early 1980s most people looking to buy a vineyard in Marlborough were happy to purchase any apparently suitable land. Mike and Robyn Tiller on the other hand were way ahead of their time in searching for a very specific site that would enable them to create something really special. They eventually found the ideal site on higher ground to the south of the valley on the banks of the Omaka River. Here the river had washed out varied soil particles for thousands of years creating a fine, fascinating terroir. In addition to the importance of vineyard site, the Tillers also realised the importance of high vineyard density at a time when many producers in warmer climes where planting vine rows as wide apart as possible. After special tractors were imported from Italy to handle the unusually narrow rows in the Isabel vineyard, cultivation began and superb grapes soon resulted. Isabel is not only one of the largest family owned vineyards in Marlborough, it also has some of the oldest vines in the area producing exceptional quality grapes and wines – Isabel wines are restricted by pruning to low bud numbers and, where necessary, shoot and bunch thinning ensures that fruit quality is fully optimised.
Wow, this wine is gaining weight rapidly – with a nose of brandied cherries/kirsch liqueur, violets and lavender. Very lifted aromatics, indicating the power to come. The palate, for a young Pinot Noir, is quite dense and full with flavours of spice and nutmeg, then a character of prosciutto ham is noticeable. The finish is long and fruit driven with fine, dry tannins and a little minerality – unmistakable Isabel family resemblance.