Settlement, named after the stunning Amphitheatre single vineyard site in the Omaka Valley is dedicated entirely to the production of organic, old vine single vineyard expressions of very special sites in Marlborough. Old vines? The Heritage vineyard for example was planted in 1990, these Sauvignon Blanc vines now over 30 years old. Not what you expect to hear when discussing vineyard age in this region.

Founded by Steve Planthaber, originally from Adelaide but post school left for the South Island of New Zealand. A move to Marlborough with his partner Kirsty Sutherland cemented his love for all things wine. Hard not to be inspired when meeting the Sutherland’s who were one of the pioneers of viticulture in the region, part of the original success of Cloudy Bay followed by establishing their own estate Dog Point.

Steve was keen to find his own path and after 12 years running the production and operations at Cloudy Bay decided to begin his own wine brand, Settlement.

One the key aspects to these wines is that they are all part of the Southern Valley subregion of Marlborough, with it’s Clay based soils as opposed to the Wairau alluvial ‘river rock’ plains.

Cert Organic

Heritage Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc  2020

The Heritage vineyard was planted in 1990 (now 30 years old) with UDD1 MS clone of Sauvignon Blanc in the Southern end of the Wairau Valley. The soil profile of the vineyard is a free draining silty clay loam over a clay subsoil, created by historical flooding of the Wairau across the valley floor. Whole-bunch pressed to tank. The majority of the wine was fermented in tank with 15% fermented separately in French Oak.

“From the Heritage Vineyard – Aromas of a classic Marlborough style with ripe citrus and tropical fruits then sweet red apple, grapefruit and fresh herbs. Floral and mineral scents add complexity and depth. On the palate – intense, crisp, fruity and salivating with plenty of acidity, a light salty note and fruit flavours that mirror the nose. Youthful, refreshing and very tasty with a lengthy finish. Time to develop in your cellar or drink now with freshly steamed shell fish linguine or your favourite salty starter. best drinking from 2022 through 2026”- 94 Points. Excellent. Cameron Douglas

Ashmore Vineyard Riesling 2019

Planted in 1997 the Ashmore vineyard is located in the southern end Wairau Valley hence why it has a soil type reflecting the signature of the Southern Valleys, with silt loam soils overlying clay Although the vineyard has irrigation it’s never used, simply due to the now established 23 year old plantings and terrior. Hand-picked, whole bunch pressed to tank. Marlborough of course produces wines with naturally very high acidity (in this case a PH of 2.88) and with this in mind Steve was keen to balance this in the Riesling, finishing the ferment early to retain some residual sugar,15 grams to be exact. 12 months in bottle before release.

“From the Ashmore Vineyard – Very enticing aromas of ripe citrus, apple, mandarin and lime-flower scents. There’s a wet river-stone minerality and light saline note. On the palate – an off-dry style with just a few seconds of sweetness before the core of fruit and acidity brings contrast, texture and length. Youthful, balanced, well made and delicious. Best drinking from late 2021 through 2029” +. 94 Points. Excellent. Cameron Douglas

Poplars Vineyard Chardonnay 2019

Poplars vineyard is further south in the Brancott Valley, just next to the famous Section 94 vineyard of Dog Point. Named after trees surrounding the site the vines were planted in 1992, Mendoza clone (now 28 years old). Alluvium soils over a clay subsoil as opposed to the river rock/silt of the Wairau valley floor. Hand-picked, racked of solids, wild ferment in barrel, then elevage for 12 months, 15% new.

Settlement Vineyard Pinot Noir 2019

Doesn’t get any more Southern Valley than this site, right in the Omaka Valley. High density of clay in this soil, lots of very good Pinot Noir sites in this sub-region. The Settlement Vineyard is the youngest of the 4 sites, planted in 2009 but a beautiful amphitheater, steep hillside vineyard, 4000 vines per hectare so high density plantings. North/North West facing. Hand picked/sorted, 70% destemmed/30% wholebunch. Short pre soak then wild fermented in tank, Pressed to barrel then aged for 18 months in French oak, 35% new. Francois Freres and Mercurey Oak.

“From the Settlement Vineyard – aromas of blackcurrant and dark cherry, there’s plenty of wood spices and barrel smoke moments, dried herb and dry stone mineral notes bring complexity, depth and intrigue. On the palate – dry, tense, youthful,fruity and young. A wine that must remain in your cellar till at least the end of 2022 so integration and harmonies can begin to engage. In the meantime and if you must open a bottle – be sure to serve with fresh protein foods. Firm tannins and acid line add texture, the core of fruit remain but is hidden till the tannins and dried herb layers are allowed to integrate. Plenty of potential and a lovely expression with best drinking from December 31st 2022 through 2028+. Am keen to try this wine again in 12 months to check its progress” 93 Points. Excellent. Cameron Douglas

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