Reviews and Awards

James Suckling:

Big Sky Pinot Noir 2014 92 Points

A mellow red cherry and forest floor-scented red that has easygoing, supple tannins and sweet baking spice oak influence. A laid-back and charming pinot noir. Drink now. Screw cap.

Huon Hooke:

Big Sky Pinot Noir 2014 93 Points

Ripe and fruity bouquet of Pinot with strawberry and red cherry scents laced with an earthy mineral quality then brown spices of oak - vanilla, cinnamon and clove; attractive and inviting bouquet. On the palate - fleshy, fruity, tense and flavourful; loads of charm and pinosity, ripe core of fruit, fine to moderate tannins and plenty of acidity, great texture and mouth feel; youthful still - needs cellar time. Drink now if decanted, best drinking 2018 through 2026.
Big Sky Provenance Pinot Noir 2014 94 Points

Lovely bouquet and quite alluring with aromas of vanilla and cinnamon laced tea, ripe and fragrant strawberry fruits, red apple skin and earthy silty mineral tones. On the palate - lovely tension and poise that holds my attention, flavours of red berry fruits and red apple skin, dusty and chalky tannins, harmonious and showing complexity as well as potential with a decent and lengthy finish. Drink from 2018 through 2028.


Raymond Chan:

Big Sky Martinborough Gruner Veltliner 2017

Katherine Jacobs and Jeremy Corban operate Big Sky Wines from an established vineyard they purchased after returning to New Zealand from France in 2005.  The vineyard on Te Muna Road in Martinborough is planted to Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir, and they make a tight range of wines from those varieties; the portfolio including a quality sparkling as well as a Gruner Veltliner from fruit from therir neighbours Craggy Range.  Recently, it was announced that Katherine and Jeremy will be utilising fruit from the Pond Paddock vineyard over the road.  Katherine and Jeremy are full-hands-on, and tend to the viticulture, and making the wines.  The Pinot Noirs to date have shown plenty of richness and structure, but the white wines are equally well-made.  Here, I review the 2017 Gruner Vetliner.

Big Sky Te Muna Road Martinborough Gruner Veltliner 2017 4 stars

Brilliant pale straw-yellow colour, a little lighter on the rim.  The nose is elegant in proportion with fresh aromas of white stonefruits melded with subtle herb notes.  This is finely concentrated with good depth.  Dry to taste medium-bodied, the palate has rich and lush flavours of white stonefruits with fresh white florals and nuances of green stonefruits and herbs forming a well-packed, rounded core.  The fruit has a degree of unctuousness, and is balanced by light phenolic textures providing a fine line.  The acidity is refined and adds to the richness and liveliness on the palate, and the wine carries to a lingering finish.  This is a rich and luscious fruited dry Gruner Veltliner with soft unctuousness and fine textures on a lively palate.  Match with herb-marinated poultry and pork dishes over the next 3 years.  Fruit from Te Muna Road fermented in stainless-steel with 20% in barrel to 12.5% alc. and dryness, the wine aged on lees.  18.0+/20  Feb 2018  RRP $22.50

Big Sky 2016 Gruner and Sauvignon, and 2014 and 2013 Pinot Noirs

Big Sky Wines is the Te Muna Road Martinborough wine venture of Katherine Jacobs and Jeremy Corban who returned to New Zealand from France in 2005 to make world class, hand-crafted wines that express their origins.  Katherine studied and worked in viticulture and winemaking in New Zealand and France, doing vintages in Bordeaux.  Jeremy is a fourth generation winemaker, a scion of the famous Corban family.  Katherine and Jeremy are part of the fabric of the Te Muna Road district, with well-known neighbours Craggy Range, The Escarpment Vineyard, Te Hera and Julicher Estate around them. 

Katherine and Jeremy took over a site established by Ian Campbell, with 1.8 ha of Sauvignon Blanc and clone 10/5 Pinot Noir planted in 1989, and 4.2 ha of clone 115 Pinot Noir planted in 1999.  They have revitalised the vineyard and personally tend the vineyard.  The first crops were sold as contract fruit, but from 2013, their own label ‘Big Sky’ became the main focus, taking 80% of the yield, a reversal of the past.  The range of wines made has the ‘Stellar’ sparkling Sauvignon Blanc and barrel-fermented Sauvignon Blanc, a Gruner Veltliner made from fruit sourced from neighbours Craggy Range, a Pinot Noir rosé, an ‘estate’ Pinot Noir and a reserve-styled ‘Provenance’ Pinot Noir.

Big Sky Te Muna Road Martinborough Gruner Veltliner 2016  4  stars

Bright, even, light straw-yellow colour, paler on the rim.  The nose is softly concentrated with a fine core showing refreshing aromas of white stonefruits and white florals along with subtle notes of white pepper, delicate nuances of fresh herbs and hints of minerals.  Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate is crisp and zesty with bright acidity enlivening the mouthfeel and lifting the flavours of white stonefruits and florals,  Nuances of fresh herbs and white pepper add detail and interest.  The palate has plenty of energy and drive, carrying the elegantly concentrated core along a fine, dry textured line with mouthwatering, juicy acidity.  The wine has a long finish of white stonefruits.  This is a fresh, bright, lively and mouthwatering dry Gruner Veltliner with concentrated core of white stonefruits, florals and herbs on a fine-textured palate.  Match with seafood and poultry over the next 3 years.  Fruit from Te Muna Road, WBP and cool-fermented in a neutral barrel to 13.5% alc. and 0.4 g/L RS, the wine aged 2 months on lees with batonnage.  17.5-/20  Oct 2016  RRP $25.00

Big Sky Te Muna Road Martinborough Sauvignon Blanc 2016  4  stars

Bright, light straw-yellow colour, lighter edged.  This has a rich, full and deep nose with aromas of greengages, nectarines and green stonefruits along with passionfruit, tropical fruits and dark herbs.  The aromatics are harmoniously entwined.  Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the flavours of greengages, nectarines and passionfruit are luscious and rich, showing breadth and depth on the palate.  The fruit is underlined by light, balancing dry textures and fresh, lacy acidity.  The wine flows with vitality and tension, leading to a soft, dry finish of passionfruit and greengages.  This is a mouthfilling oak-influenced Sauvignon Blanc with lush flavours of greengages and passionfruit, balanced by light, dry textures and fresh acid cut.  Match with Mediterranean fare or Pacific Rim cuisine over the next 2-3 years.  Equal portions of Te Muna fruit from 30 y.o. vines and Dry River Flats, vines 10 y.o., WBP and fully barrel-fermented in seasoned oak to 13.0% alc. and 4 g/L RS, the wine aged 2 months on lees with batonnage.  17.5/20  Oct 2016  RRP $25.00

Big Sky Te Muna Road Martinborough Pinot Noir 2014  4  stars

Dark, deep, ruby-red colour, a little lighter on the rim.  The nose is full, broad and up-front with ripe fruit aromas of dark-red berry fruits along with black plum elements, and savoury dark herb and black-earth nuances, unfolding lifted red florals with aeration.  Full-bodied, the palate features fulsome flavours of sweetly ripe dark-red berry fruit and subtle plum notes, entwined with savoury dark herbs and some earthy complexities.  The mouthfeel is robust with good structure and grip providing textures, but allowing the fruit sweetness to prevail.  This is juicy and luscious, with fresh acidity enlivening the fruit as it carries to the finish.  This is a fulsome and robust, dark-red berry fruited Pinot Noir with plum, savoury herb and earthy interest on a well-textured palate with a lively mouthfeel.  Match with lamb, beef and venison dishes over the next 6+ years.  90% clone 115 and 10% 10/5 fruit from Te Muna Road, vines 15 y.o., hand-picked and indigenous yeast fermented with 5% whole bunches to 13.8% alc, the wine 25-28 days on skins, spending 10 months in 15% new oak.  18.0+/20  Oct 2016  RRP $35.00

Big Sky ‘Provenance’ Te Muna Road Martinborough Pinot Noir 2014  4  stars

Even, dark ruby-red colour, lighter on the edge with some garnet hues.  The nose is full and voluminous with aromas of ripe, dark-red berry and cherry fruit along with nuances of black plums, earth and some lifted, cedary, spicy oak, melded with notes of dark herbs and game complexities.  Medium-full bodied, this has a plush and juicy palate with finely concentrated and well-bound flavours of red cherry and berry fruit interwoven with layers of spicy, cedary oak, dried herbs and lifted red florals.  The fruit is supported by moderately extracted, fine-grained, flowery tannins that lend a refined texture, and the acidity is softly integrated.  The wine flows smoothly along a velvety line, leading to a long, lingering finish of dark-red berry and cherry fruit, with spicy, cedary oak layers.  This is a refined Pinot Noir with dark-red cherry and berry fruit melded with spicy, cedary oak on  smooth-flowing palate.  Match with coq au vin and casserole over the next 6-7 years.  100% clone 115 from Te Muna Road, vines 15 y.o., the fruit from selected vineyard parcels, hand-picked and indigenous yeast fermented to 13.6% alc., the wine spending 28 days on skins and aged 22 months in 35% new oak.  18.5/20  Oct 2016  RRP $45.00 

Big Sky Te Muna Road Martinborough Pinot Noir 2013  4  stars

Even ruby-red colour, a little lighter on the edge.  This ha an elegantly proportioned and presented bouquet with bright and vibrant, rich fruit aromas of dark-red and black berried fruits, along with nuances of dark–red plums and a subtle layering of red florals, savoury dark herbs and whole bunch stalk elements.  Medium-bodied, the palate is well-concentrated with a core of ripe dark-red and black berried fruits, showing sweetness and vitality.  The fruit richness is balanced by moderate, supple extraction lending a fine-grained tannin structure.  The mouthfeel is lively with lacy acidity, and the palate unfolds nuances of spicy oak, savoury herb and stalk detail.  The structure carries the wine to a strong and positive finish with good depth, concentration and length.  This is a rich, vibrant dark-red and black-fruited Pinot Noir with fine structure and complexing savoury herb notes and nuances of spicy oak.  Match with wild duck and pork, and lamb and venison over the next 6-8 years.  80% clone 115 and 10% each 10/5 and Abel clones from Te Muna Road, vines 23 and 14 y.o., fermented to 13.2% alc. with 20% whole bunches, the wine on skins 24 days and aged 11 months in 20% new French oak barriques.  18.5+/20  Oct 2016  RRP $35.00

Big Sky ‘Provenance’ Te Muna Road Martinborough Pinot Noir 2013  4  stars

Ruby-red colour with some depth, lighter on the rim.  The bouquet is refined with intense aromas of dark=red cherry and berry fruit interwoven with layers of cedary, spicy oak, nuances of dried herbs and a little volatile lift.  The aromatics grow in intensity with aeration.  Medium-bodied, the palate features a concentrated and deep heart of dark-red cherry fruit intermixed with layers of spicy, cedary oak.  The mouthfeel is smooth with very fine-textured tannin extraction and structure, and balanced, integrated acidity.  The concentrated core has linearity and drive, carrying to a very long, sustained, dry, fine-textured finish of cherries, herbs and spicy oak.  This is an elegantly concentrated Pinot Noir with fine textures, showing red cherry fruit, dried herbs and spicy oak.  Match with slow-cooked game meat and semi-hard cheeses over the next 6-7 years.  80% clone 115 and 20% clone 10/5 from Te Muna Road, vines 15 and 24 y.o., hand-picked and indigenous yeast fermented with 20% whole bunches and mainly whole berries to 13.0% alc., the wine spending 28 days on skins and aged 20 months in 50% new French oak.  18.0+/20  Oct 2016  RRP $45.00

Big Sky Te Muna Road Martinborough Pinot Noir 2013

Moderately deep ruby-red.  The nose is softly full with good depth of dark red berry and cherry fruit, quite classical varietal expression, with some complexing herb and smoky notes.  Medium-bodied, this has a bright fruited core, with finely judged ripeness and subtle, complex underlying herb and savoury elements.  Whole cluster here?  Sinewy mouthfeel with tannin grip and integral acidity.  Quite burgundian.  6+ years.  115 and 10/5, low cropped, wild yeast to 13.2% alc., 25% new oak.  18.5/20

Nick Stock Review 6 July 2014
2013 Big Sky Reserve Pinot Noir
A barrel sample pre-bottling, this already has a wealth of brambly ripe dark cherry fruits and plenty of fine tannins too. The structure is better built in this wine than in the standard Big Sky pinot. With a sappy cherry and plum stone finish, there's potential in this. Drink in 2016.
Score: 91-92



2008 Big Sky Pinot Noir
Romeo Bragato Awards - Silver
New Zealand International Wine Show - Silver
2009 Big Sky Pinot Noir
New Zealand International Wine Show – Silver

2011 Big Sky Pinot Noir
NZ International Wines Show - Silver
Winestate Magazine - 4 Star


New Zealand Herald Article
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Jane Skilton, MW writes an article about Martinborough.
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New Zealand Herald article.
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Fish Head article.
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