Leah Pinot Noir – 2017

Region: New Zealand


Michael Seresin was born in Wellington, New Zealand, but left in the 1960s, when sheep, not grapevines, covered the Wairau Plains. He settled in Italy, where he was captivated by Italian food and wine culture and began his career as a cinematographer. Over time Michael’s interest in wine developed into a passion. In the early 1990s after investigating opportunities to start a winery in Italy, he became aware of the quality wines starting to emerge from his homeland. After visiting Marlborough, and falling in love with the Marlborough Sounds, Michael decided to purchase a home there, followed by the purchase of some land in the Wairau Valley, which became Seresin’s Home Vineyard. He began planting vines and imported Tuscan olive varieties immediately along with significant plantings of native plant species.

Seresin, one of the first wineries in New Zealand to operate organic vineyards, released their first vintage was in 1996 and the winery was completed in mid-2000. A year later, the Tatou Vineyard was purchased and land in the Omaka Valley was purchased for development into what is now the Raupo Creek Vineyard. Seresin won the Marlborough District Council’s 2009 Marlborough Environment Award.

In 2018, the Tatou vineyard and winery were sold to local NZ winemakers Ben Glover and Rhyan Wardman who was the inaugural assistant winemaker at Seresin. The wines continue to be made by winemaker Tamra Kelly-Washington at what was the original Seresin winery and is known today as The Coterie, a winemaking hub championing small-batch, single-site wines.

Winemaker Tamra Kelly-Washington graduated as a top scholar from Lincoln University with a degree in Viticulture and Oenology. She started out her career at Seresin Estate. After spending time making wine in the USA, Australia and Italy she headed back to her roots where it all started at Seresin Estate, joining the team in time for the 2018 harvest.

Working with viticulturist Cameron Vawter, a passionate advocate for biodynamic farming, their focus is spent on precise picking decisions, embracing acidity in order to guide pristine fruit through the winemaking process with minimal handling. The resulting wines are elegant, structured and a genuine reflection of their provenance.


Grapes / Soils

Wine Blend Vine Age Soil Type
Leah Pinot Noir 100% Pinot Noir Over 20 years on average in 2015 Mixed alluvial silt, gravel and clay

The Wine

Vineyard Profile
  • 99.43% Raupo Creek Vineyard, a clay-rich hillside in Omaka Valley
  • 0.57%  Noa Vineyard, Waimakariri alluvial soils in Wairau Valley
  • Clones: 10/5, 777, 115, 5 & Abel
  • Yield: 6 tons/hectare
Harvest Notes

2017 was a memorable and challenging vintage. We had a wonderful warm start to
the growing season, with good soil moisture helping the vines to grow well. We
then experienced cold temperatures during flowering, resulting in lower yields and
smaller bunches. The harvest itself was fast and furious, one of the most compact
we have ever experienced with challenging rain events just before and during
harvest. The resulting wines having strong natural acidity and intense fruit flavours
from the colder season.

  • Fruit hand-picked, destemmed and cool soaked in tank
  • Must warmed, fermented with wild yeast, and the caps hand-plunged daily during fermentation
  • Wine left on skins for 4-5 weeks, then drained, lightly pressed and transferred to aged French oak barriques
  • Natural malolactic fermentation during 11 months maturation, then bottled lightly filtered and unfined


Winemaker's Notes

Exhibits bright, fragrant berry-fruit aromas, interlaced with spice and herbal notes. The wine is focused and concentrated, with a succulent fruit core, framed by fine-grained tannins and a mouth-watering acidity. An elegant and understated style with immediate appeal, but structure to last. Named after Michael Seresin’s daughter, Leah.

Wine Summary

100% Pinot Noir; Alcohol: 13%; vines average age 24 years; soils: clay, silty alluvial gravel; certified organic and biodynamic; fermented with only wild yeasts in aged French barriques, malolactic fermentation over 11 months; bottled lightly filtered and unfined.

Technical Information
  • 100% Pinot Noir
  • Alcohol: 13%
  • Total Acidity: 6.4 g/l
  • pH: 3.69
  • RS: dry
  • Total SO2: 54ppm
  • Certified Organic & Biodynamic; suitable for vegans and vegetarians


93 Points

Made from a blend of handpicked organic fruit (worked biodynamically) from three estate vineyards, yielding just two bottles per vine. It has great concentration and purity of ripe cherry fruit, showing lovely vibrancy and freshness allied to fine tannins and fresh acidity. Elegant drinking now but with the structure to age.
Drinking Window 2019 – 2023

Decanter, January, 2019

92 Points

A brooding, full style that offers a dark plum and savory interpretation of Marlborough Pinot Noir. Hailing from the richer soils of the Omaka Valley rather than the free-draining valley floor, there’s more depth and substance here and a fine coating of powdery tannins. Yields are pretty low (six tons/ha) and the finish is filled with damson fruit. Satisfying and sumptuous but there’s no shortage of acidity keeping things fresh and lengthy. Drinking well now to five years. 2021 – 2026

Vinous, March, 2021

91+ Points

Seductive scents of roses, black tea, strawberries and cherries mark the nose of the 2017 Leah Pinot Noir. Medium-bodied, dusty and cool, it’s long on the finish, ending on notes of pomegranate-like tartness. Drink 2019 – 2025

© Wine Advocate, March, 2019

88 Points

(Marlborough, 3,00 cases, 11 months in French Oak, 13%). There is a mentholated top note to the layered mix of both red and dark pinot fruit. The juicy, round and plush middle weight flavors possess good vibrancy and deliver good length on the noticeably oaked finale.  2023+

Allen Meadow's Burghound, October, 2020

General Info

Country New Zealand
Region South Island
Appellation(s) Marlborough
Proprietors Michael Seresin
Founded 1992, first vintage 1996
Winemaker Tamra Kelly-Washington
Annual Production 30,000 9L cases (including Momo)
Farming (Sustainable, organic, biodynamic) Biodynamic (grapes certified with Demeter), Organic (property and wines certified with Biogro NZ)