Murdoch James Estate Wines Ltd.


Murdoch James Estate Wines Ltd.

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Murdoch James Estate - Producing wines of distinction

Murdoch James Estate is one of Martinborough’s pioneering wine producers. It was established over 20 years ago when, Roger and Jill Fraser, first planted Pinot Noir and Syrah on the river-stone terraces of the region with the focus on producing wines of distinction. Murdoch James wines are named in memory of founder Roger Fraser’s father. Today, Roger’s son Carl Fraser is a winemaker.

The lime based soils of our Blue Rock Vineyard allow Murdoch James Estate to create white wines that combine vibrant fruit flavours with a long, lingering minerality, and red wines of complexity and character. True to their terroir, the wines of Murdoch James Martinborough are rich in flavour and elegant in structure.


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At Murdoch James Estate we do believe “the wine is made on the vine”. By carefully nurturing and giving the right attention to the grapes prior to harvest, we seek to capture the unique terroir in the wines.

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It is interesting to note recent comments about wines being released that have deposits forming in them, Known as tartrates or ’wine diamonds’ these deposits (red in red wines and clear in white) are commonly found in premium wines. Whilst they are quite harmless, the trend in recent years has been to try and remove them totally, through a process called cold stabilisation - to make them look clear - but with no consideration of impact on quality.

There is now a strong emerging view that in doing this, the character of the wine is adversely affected, and that instead of trying to prevent tartrate crystals forming, winemakers should be explaining to customers why they are not a problem, and in fact could be indicative of superior wines.

"Everyday wines are usually more thoroughly stabilised than fine wines since customers have come to expect them to be crystal clear. Fine wines are normally less drastically stabilised since those who buy them are expected to understand about tartrates and the slow throwing sediment, and also because it is believed that the less stable constituents contribute to the aging process".
 Jancis Robinson - The Oxford Companion to Wine.

"This cold stabilisation is a giant waste of energy and a sad example of unnecessary over-processing of a natural product".
 Christian Butzke - Professor of Enology, Purdue University.

At Murdoch James Estate, we use a combination of modern and traditional techniques to make the very best wines possible. If we feel a process, like excessive cold stabilisation will reduce the quality of the wine, we don’t do it, preferring to live with some tartrate deposits. We aim to make wines of interest, that are well differentiated from the masses of predictable, commercial wines now made in the world.

Nurturing the vines; handpicking the grapes

Murdoch James Estate’s meticulous team of viticulturists nurture low-yielding vines by hand, and all grapes are hand-picked. Before processing fruit is sorted, ensuring that only the best goes through to the winery.

Small batch pressing for quality

Grapes are pressed in small batches using our old generation press (circa 1960). Having recently been carefully refurbished, this press enables us to slowly and gently press excellent quality juice.

Gently guiding the winemaking process

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Our dedicated winemakers are non-intrusive – although nothing is left to chance. All practices are hands-on, fermentation size is limited, and all clones are fermented separately, thus preserving the depth, complexity and character of each wine style produced.

Ensuring consistency and quality – the old-fashioned way

Before each wine is bottled, everyone partakes in assemblage. By tasting wines from each and every barrel, we ensure that only the best barrels go through to the blend of our premium wines. This ensures the consistency and quality of our wine.

If you have questions for any other region, please do not hesitate to ask us.