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 Vintage2008 Label 1 of 52 
ProducerFelton Road (web)
VarietyPinot Noir
CountryNew Zealand
RegionSouth Island
AppellationCentral Otago
OptionsShow variety and appellation
UPC Code(s)720815590335

Drinking Windows and Values
Drinking window: Drink between 2010 and 2016 (based on 17 user opinions)

Community Tasting History

Community Tasting Notes (average 90.4 pts. and median of 91 pts. in 68 notes) - hiding notes with no text

 Tasted by jchua123 on 3/24/2016 & rated 91 points: Bottle #11 of a 12 bottle case. Served at room temperature - c.18 degrees celcius.

Decided to pop this mindful that a bottle of 2008 Craggy Range Te Muna Road had disappointed recently. Fortunately, the 2008 Felton Road took me someplace better - ageing well and still delicious!

Lovely, spicy nose with red and black fruits with some lovely meat tones - very reminiscent of the 2008 Vougeraie Gevrey Les Evocelles. In the mouth, the fruit is more settled and less vibrant than I remember, with more olives and earth. The soft-tannins still leave a nice mouth feel, with a slight hint of alcohol and notes of eucalyptus on the long finish.

I would be happy to drink this any day! (252 views)
 Tasted by TiggerK on 3/14/2016 & rated 90 points: From Magnum at the Xmas do, solid and bold in the Felton fruit forward blacker fruit style, but still felt a bit closed and unforgiving, too young and certainly would have benefited from more decanting time. (297 views)
 Tasted by Lewis on 1/9/2016 & rated 91 points: Allowed it a brief bottle breath before serving. Bouquet needed some times to fully elaborate into a Vosne-like spices and red fruits. Fruit driven palate with mineral and very fine acidity. Don't get me wrong, it's still a NZ PN. But it's mature and indeed a very fine one. In fact, I would prefer it over almost all Burgundy red at this price. (579 views)
 Tasted by leonardo_de_araujo on 10/9/2015 & rated 83 points: Simple, unidimensional boring (819 views)
 Tasted by MindMuse on 10/4/2015 & rated 91 points: This reminded me of Rhys PN, with some stemmy character (though I don't know if there is any actual stem inclusion), perhaps being what characterize as green. I didn't find true greenness, but the fruit was tart and obviously not highly ripe. I did find this developed a fuller body with some about 45 minutes of air time. Nice spice, tart berry, expressive nose. 91+ (839 views)
 Tasted by Argrath on 8/22/2015 & rated 86 points: Full, generous and spicy nose. Oak well integrated. Cherry fruit aroma and some perfume. Disturbing green notes not to its advantage.
Medium-fullish, generous palate with smooth tannins, but also with an un-elegant sweetness. Some hints of cooked strawberries. Anise, mint and violets. Spicy, but no animaly or forest floor characteristics.
I found this wine too sweet in the fruit, and thereby giving an un-elegant and slightly disjointed impression. Up against a trio of Jadot wines (village, PC, GC) it was outclassed. (853 views)
 Tasted by astroman on 3/29/2015: Pretty good Pinot from NZ. (1026 views)
 Tasted by honest bob on 3/18/2015 & rated 91 points: From 75cl, screwcap. This badly needed an hour in the decanter: On opening it was almost fizzy, disjointed and artificially acidic. Then suddenly at 45 minutes after opening – everything came together and it started rolling along as expected. From that point on, see my TN of 18.07.2014, add a supremely silky texture (and hopefully agree with my 91P rating). If you P+P, you will probably be disappointed. (958 views)
 Tasted by Anonymous on 9/14/2014 & rated 88 points: Good nose but not comparable side by side to a vosnee romanee village. Dark fruits but rather short finish. A bit tannic even after 2 hours of decanting. (1287 views)
 Tasted by honest bob on 7/18/2014 & rated 91 points: From 75cl screwcap. Stunningly expressive scent: oriental spice bazaar, dark black cherry, inkwell are the basic elements, but the spiralling, ethereal peacock's tail colours are much greater than the sum of the parts. Thereafter the taste is delicious, but merely earth-bound. Very concentrated, nervy, black cherry; high acidity; highly strung. A bit short on the finish. Wonderful now, good for perhaps 2-3 further years. 91(-93)P (1458 views)
 Tasted by jchua123 on 2/25/2014 & rated 92 points: Bottle #4 out of a 12 bottle case. Popped and poured - served at room temperature (~18 degrees).

Translucent ruby colored, with good viscosity. Nose of cherries, with some hints of meat - just starting to develop some complexity. Full fruit flavor in the mouth, balanced off with some good acidity and lovely spice on the long finish provided by the soft tannins.

I really enjoy this wine. (1923 views)
 Tasted by Drinking Trees on 10/17/2013: Nose of smoking twigs, roast meat, and red and black cherries. Palate shows refreshing acid and strong, juicy fruit: cherries and spices. Similar to the 2003, but simpler, a little more closed. Likely to improve. (2189 views)
 Tasted by leonardo_de_araujo on 8/2/2013 & rated 90 points: Burnt wood, dark cherries and a grassy piney sap nose.
Wood is giving in to dark red fruit with airtime.
Quite dry what is good, but giving some extra airtime to open up.
Good fruit, bright acidity. Good finish
 Tasted by MyCellar01 on 6/24/2013 & rated 92 points: 30 minute decant.
Translucent ruby in colour, faint hint of orange rim.
Lovely uplifting fragrance, sweet raspberry, spice and cherry nose.
Silken mouth feel. Deliciously light, dances across the front palate.
Beautiful sweet cherry, raspberries again, a hint of acidity which develops towards the back palate as an enjoyable accompaniment.
Long finish which begins with the developing acidity, then soft welcome tannins, and a never ending story of drinking very well now. (1912 views)
 Tasted by CamWheeler on 4/24/2013 & rated 90 points: Dinner with the grapemates: Very stemmy, spicy and earthy on the nose. The bright palate has wonderfully driven acidity and great length. Really liked the restrained flavour and fruit clarity here. (2213 views)
 Tasted by Dingo on 1/4/2013 & rated 90 points: Perfect right now. Will drink the rest of these over the next year. (1733 views)
 Tasted by maderay on 12/27/2012 & rated 90 points: VG. Medium-bodied, black cherries, a little smoky (1726 views)
 Tasted by Lewis on 8/15/2012 & rated 89 points: pop-n-pour; spices, alcoholic and heavy oak influence upon open; gradually turns into subtle cherries and berries based bouquet; not like other NZ PNs, there is no explosive aromas; tannin is tamed; some vegetal, earthy and spices at the back which slightly ruined the palate; will keep another bottle for at least six months before try again (2114 views)
 Tasted by vino_per_tutti on 5/13/2012 & rated 86 points: Nice color and quintessential nose (black cherry, spice), but thin on the palate and finish. Black cherry is the dominate note throughout. This one is missing that strong Otago brett, making it a disappointment. (1175 views)
 Tasted by honest bob on 4/14/2012 & rated 91 points: From 75cl screwcap. Darker than your average PN, with an appealing blue-purple hint at the centre. Up-front, luscious aroma promises just what the entry delivers: ripe summer PN fruit, a wallop of lovely ripe black cherry but with much stronger acidity than some other NZ PNs with this dominant flavour deliver (I'm thinking of Wild Earth) and very fine, still slightly sqeaky tannins on the mid-palate. 14% alc, but not at all hot. Very moreish towards the black cherry-dominated finish. Delicious now, and good for at least 3-4 years. 91(+)P (2173 views)
 Tasted by Audun G on 2/12/2012 & rated 91 points: Tasted semi blind together with Burgundians and other new world pinots. Clean and expressive pinot flavours. Feminine style. An impressive pinot with good concentration and length. (2312 views)
 Tasted by Clos & Cru on 1/14/2012 & rated 88 points: too extracted and oaky for my personal taste (2310 views)
 Tasted by JonathanP on 12/22/2011 & rated 88 points: Fruit forward - sweet and sour cherry and raspberry - with spice and dried herbs. Tannins are round and light-to-moderate and balanced by decent acidity. Would like to see more integration though, and there's a touch of heat on the finish. Overall it's a decent wine, but seems to lack a bit of purpose and definition. (2204 views)
 Tasted by benfri on 5/28/2011 & rated 90 points: Really good but not outstanding. Can't find anything wrong with this wine but had expected something more. (2838 views)
 Tasted by Wising on 4/16/2011 & rated 92 points: Yummy! Not very complex, but great bright sweet ripe fruit flavours. Will develop for many years but why wait? (2998 views)
 Only displaying the 25 most recent notes - click to see all notes for this wine...

Professional 'Channels'
By Jancis Robinson, MW
JancisRobinson.com (9/3/2013)
(Felton Road, Bannockburn Pinot Noir Central Otago Red) Subscribe to see review text.
By Stephen Tanzer
Vinous, September/October 2011, IWC Issue #158
(Felton Road Pinot Noir Central Otago) Subscribe to see review text.
By Julia Harding, MW
JancisRobinson.com (10/7/2009)
(Felton Road Pinot Noir Bannockburn Red) Subscribe to see review text.
By Allen Meadows
Burghound, October 2009, Issue #36
(Felton Road Pinot Noir Villages Red) Subscribe to see review text.
By Stephen Tanzer
Vinous, September/October 2009, IWC Issue #146
(Felton Road Pinot Noir Central Otago) Subscribe to see review text.
By Jancis Robinson, MW
JancisRobinson.com (7/2/2009)
(Felton Road Pinot Noir Central Otago Red) Subscribe to see review text.
By Jancis Robinson, MW
JancisRobinson.com (7/2/2009)
(Felton Road Pinot Noir Central Otago Red) Subscribe to see review text.
NOTE: Scores and reviews are the property of JancisRobinson.com and Vinous and Burghound. (manage subscription channels)

CellarTracker Wiki Articles (login to edit | view all articles)

Felton Road

Producer website

Our Wines

A good winemaker has a thousand ways to make a wine "better" but, better by whose assessment? It has taken us over a decade to gradually acquire the confidence to understand that the wine should be what the wine should be.

Like any good parent, one should encourage but not mould. If one sees a trait that is perhaps not what one would like to see, the solution lies not in how to cure the problem. but in learning to understand where it came from. Each year we have a new family to raise and our increased understanding can pass back to the new generation's schooling in the vineyard.

Gravity flow is the start of a gentle process, avoiding the need to pump fruit uphill. Ferments are spontaneous from the wild or indigenous yeasts that are in our vineyards and winery. Inert gas is shunned. Oak is a subtle companion not a loud guest. The Malo is simply a function of letting the warm spring air into the cellars. Pinots are unfined and unfiltered, Chardonnays are increasingly treated in the same way. The bottlings of single vineyard and single block wines are based on their speaking of a place, not on their size or hierachy of flavour.

Our Land & Vines

Considerable research by Stewart Elms (hence the Elm tree logo) in 1991 identified the north facing slopes at the end of Felton Road, Bannockburn as being one of the warmest and most ideal sites in Central Otago for the growing and production of premium wine. Heat summation data and soil maps of the area, developed as a result of the construction of the Clyde dam, were helpful in this decision. The three different soils identified are free draining with low fertility characteristics, and combined with the unique climate, are ideal for the production of premium quality Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Riesling.

Our vineyards are managed by our own viticulturist, Gareth King, and his team of dedicated staff. Meticulous summer management of a single vertical shoot positioned (VSP) canopy ensures even and early fruit maturity. Shoot thinning, shoot positioning, leaf plucking and bunch thinning are all carried out by hand as required to ensure optimum quality fruit. Inter-row planting of various different cover crops in order to assist in controlling vine vigour, and to improve soil health and general biodiversity.

Mulch is also used in drier parts of the vineyard to help retain moisture, minimise the requirement for irrigation, and to balance areas of lighter more free draining soils. Organic compost is made utilising the winery waste, and organic cow manure and straw.

Since 2002 the vineyards have been managed organically and biodynamically, and in 2010 all three vineyards were awarded full Demeter certification. Pruning is carried out to leave desired bud numbers thus ensuring moderate controllable yields and to create an even, light penetrable canopy. Irrigation is usually necessary during the later dry summer months. Soil moisture levels are carefully monitored and water is applied only when necessary to maintain appropriate soil moisture levels. All grapes are carefully hand picked, keeping separate any quality differences within blocks due to clones, rootstocks and viticultural trials.

The Elms Vineyard - 14.4 Hectares

History & Location

The Elms Vineyard at the end of Felton Road lies in a gently sloping, north facing valley cut into the Bannockburn hills at the southern extremity of the Cromwell basin. Immediately above the vineyard lies Stewart Town and a large dam, where water was stored for sluicing the slopes of Bannockburn during the gold-rush which started in the 1860's. The fact that this valley was untouched by the gold miners is possibly a reflection of the deep benches of heavy soil that form much of its structure: soils unlikely to hold significant amounts of gold. After the gold miners departed, the slopes were left for sheep to graze until Stewart Elms discovered the site's potential for great Pinot Noir. He started to plant in 1992 and Felton Road began.

Cornish Point - 7.6 Hectares

History & Location

Cornish Point is an old gold miners settlement located adjacent to the Hartley and Reilly diggings where the first large find of gold was made in the Central Otago gold rush. It was named after the Cornish gold miners who lived there and was abandoned in the late 19th century then planted as an apricot orchard in the mid 20th century. We planted it to vines in 2000. Bordered on one side by the Clutha River and on the other by the Kawarau (now both flooded at this point to form Lake Dunstan), it is unique in being almost totally surrounded by water.

The vineyard is adjacent to the entrance to the Cromwell Gorge which results in steady airstreams. This as well as the proximity to the lake, both help minimise frost. Additional spring frost protection is provided by a flipper vine row sprinkler system for when temperatures really plummet. Although the edges of Cornish Point were eroded by sluicing or other digging, the vineyard itself is undisturbed soils.

Calvert Vineyard - 10.1 Hectares

History & Location

Calvert Vineyard is located just 1km east of the Elms Vineyard on Felton Road. The gentle north facing slopes lie immediately below the hills of the Bannockburn gold sluicings, now a historic park. Bailley's Gulley tailrace that carried away massive amounts of sluiced gold workings divides the property and provides excellent cold air drainage to minimise frost risk. The vineyard land had been home to a few sheep, rabbits and briar bushes until planting of vines began in 1999.

Pinot Noir

Varietal character (Appellation America) | Varietal article (Wikipedia)
Pinot Noir is the Noble red grape of Burgundy, capable of ripening in a cooler climate, which Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot will not reliably do. It is unpredictable and difficult both to grow and to vinify, but results in some of the finest reds in the world. It is believed to have been selected from wild vines two thousand years ago. It is also used in the production of champagne. In fact, more Pinot Noir goes into Champagne than is used in all of the Cote d'Or! It is also grown in Alsace, Germany, the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Croatia, Serbia, Italy, Austria, and so forth, with varying degrees of success.

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