Wine Review: Matua Wines from New Zealand

I know it’s been awhile since my last blogpost, but the wines I’ve had since then haven’t been worthy of mentioning. This is until the dinner I had last night.

Madagascar Prawn

I was fortunate to attend a wine event at Baku. The Japanese-inspired cuisine was fabulous. It reminded me of a Brazilian steakhouse, but with sushi. I highly recommend the place to anyone in the Charlotte area.

Baku Dessert

The dinner showcased Matua (pronounced “Ma-too-ah”) wines out of New Zealand. The vineyard was started by two brothers, Ross and Bill Spence, and I had the pleasure of meeting Bill and learning about his wines at the event.

Bill Spence, Matua Founder

New Zealand, specifically the Marlborough region, is well-known for Sauvignon Blanc and Matua had two great Sauvignon Blancs that we tasted. The first was the 2011 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. Zesty, citrus fruits were rounded out with grassy undertones commonly found in this varietal. It had a crisp, well-balanced finish.

The next was the Matua Valley Estate Series 2011 Paretai Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, NZ. I enjoyed this Sauvignon Blanc a little more than the first. To me, it seemed like it had a little more depth and character. I believe this was a single vineyard wine.


The final Matua wine of the night was the 2011 Marlborough Pinot Noir. I have to admit that this may have been my first Pinot Noir out of New Zealand, normally I go for the Oregon Pinot. Cherry, blackberry, and smoky oak notes were all noticeable in this wine. The mouthfeel was soft and light, which held up nicely in the finish.

After the Matua presentation, we got to enjoy a treat by the name of Stags’ Leap 2010 Napa County Merlot. Traditionally, I’m not a Merlot drinker unless it’s part of a blend. This Merlot was a smooth surprise. Aromas of blackberry, cherry and strawberry, combined with juicy flavors of black fruit on the palate, offered a complex, yet easy drinking wine.

Stags' Leap Merlot

All in all, it was a great dinner with new wines worth sharing. I know it’s hard to imagine with all the cold weather most of us have been experiencing, but Spring and Summer will be here before you know it. With the warmer months approaching, I think the Matua Sauvignon Blanc will be a perfect drink for those sunny days ahead!

2 responses to “Wine Review: Matua Wines from New Zealand

  1. I am glad you had a good experience. I like the setting, but food and service were horrendous when we were there in December. The waitress did not know the difference between a Sauvignon Blanc and a Cabernet Sauvignon. Our second round of wines was delayed by 30 minutes because they ran out of clean wine glasses (even though the restaurant was half empty!). The food was mediocre at best with the biggest let down being that giant Madagascar prawn which tasted like rubber with too much salt on it. My San Francisco guests we were entertaining summarized it best: PF Chang experience for $125 pp. We did like the bar though and would consider coming back for a cocktail.

    • Sorry to hear that you had a bad experience there! Never a good thing when you’re paying that kind of money on dinner. Hopefully if you try it again for the cocktail it will be better!

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