Great Hector: The Magnificent Seven

Great Hector: The Magnificent Seven
The Great Hector Palliser Estate 2013 Martinborough Pinot Noir, named in celebration of Justerini & Brooks chairman Hew Blair’s characterful Labrador Hector, is the seventh release in the Palliser Estate Great Dog series.

Palliser Estate owner Richard Riddiford began this naming tradition for exceptional vintages in 2002, in honour of his much-loved black Labrador Bear, self-appointed meeter, greeter and winery guide. Hew Blair met Richard Riddiford in Martinborough in the early 1990s when he visited New Zealand and Australia on a buying trip. They struck up a friendship, and in 1994, Justerini & Brooks made its first shipment of Palliser Estate Sauvignon and Pinot Noir from New Zealand to the UK. Twenty-one years on, Palliser has won worldwide recognition for the consistency and outstanding quality of its wines - wonderful, modern examples, generous, exuberant and beautifully balanced. Justerini & Brooks remains Palliser Estate’s exclusive UK importer, and is eagerly anticipating the arrival of The Great Hector in February 2015.

Richard Riddiford says: “When a vintage deserves extra attention and recognition, the 'Pinot Dogs' appear. Wines of such quality deserve a namesake that is also full of character. This special 2013 Pinot Noir from our Pencarrow vineyard is a wine we are very proud of, and delighted it will once again commemorate a wonderful dog in our lives, The Great Hector.” Palliser’s Pencarrow vineyard, with its favourable mesoclimate and excellent soil types, is renowned for quality. To capitalise on the fabulous terroir, sun-baked hills, old river plain and loamy free-draining soil, the estate has a highly skilled viticulturist and winemaker in Allan Johnson. Allan Johnson comments: “This 2013 Pinot Noir has been barrel-aged using 50% new oak casks for 16 months, and has excellent colour, layers of ripe, classic Pinot Noir flavours, structure and texture. The best Pinot Noir will charm you in its youth and gently seduce you in its age, which pretty much, we think, describes the Great Hector.”

Hector, a purebred Labrador, was a faithful friend all his life. He joined a menagerie of other dogs, including a bad-tempered Jack Russell, a Springer Spaniel, and a somewhat over zealous Rhodesian Ridgeback, at Hew’s Oxfordshire home. Together, they managed to instil some bad habits in nine-week old Hector before he went away to be trained as a working retriever for the shooting field. He returned after three months transformed in stature and with impeccable behaviour, although off duty he would still find time for his tearaway tendencies.

“Hector and his Ridgeback friend had to be bailed out of various local police stations on more than one occasion after great hunting expeditions,” says Hew Blair. “His appetite for food sometimes got the better of his disciplined side too. At a smart shooting party lunch in the Highlands, two pats of butter, along with wrappers, disappeared from the dining table while the guns quenched their thirst in the next room. The mystery was only solved the next day when I took Hector for a walk. He was the culprit, but it remained a closely guarded secret between dog and master.”

Limited to less than 480 bottles for the UK, the Great Hector Pinot Noir will be offered on a first come first served basis. The wine has been shipped and is available for immediate delivery

Please note that there is currently no stock available