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DWWA 2014 Regional Trophy: New Zealand Pinot Noir under £15

This year's Decanter World Wine Awards Regional Trophy for New Zealand Pinot Noir under £15 went to Lay of the Land, Ben Morven Farm Pinot Noir, Marlborough 2012 (14%)

Tasted against:

  • Mt Difficulty, Roaring Meg Pinot Noir, Central Otago 2012
  • Staete Landt, Map Maker Pinot Noir, Rapaura, Marlborough 2013


Lay of the Land’s winemaker Mike Paterson’s first job out of university was as a banker. It was during this time that he met his now wife, Anna, who happened to be employed by a fine wine distributor. As she brought her work home with her, Paterson slowly began to ponder a change in his career path.

He eventually became the winemaker at Jackson Estate in Marlborough, although the desire to start his own wine business with Anna still burned. Step in Naked Wines, a customer-funded wine business, which provided the cash necessary for them to initiate their own venture. Lay of the Land’s first vintage was in 2011.

The sub-region of Ben Morven Valley covers a small part of Marlborough’s South Valleys region. As opposed to the more free-draining, alluvial land found in Wairau River, the soils here are rich in clay which, says Paterson, ‘lend more density, flesh and extract to Pinot Noir’. This single vineyard is tended to in a way that amplifies these characteristics.

Paterson produces about 700 cases a year of this Trophy-winner: ‘This is an expression of a single site and the 2012 growing season. It represents our unique and special vineyard, as well as the wonderfully talented and caring people who farm it.’

Written by Decanter

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