Central Otago Wine Trip December 2010

Central Otago, New Zealand

Tasted December 20, 2010 - December 23, 2010 by kingkanu with 845 views

Introduction

Me and Steph head off for a couple of days tasting in Central Otago - Pinot Noir country !

In general we found the 2008 Pinot's to be a little green at the edges and the 2007 and 2009's far riper, there were a couple of exceptions to this rule with Chard Farm, Amisfield and Felton Road all making excellent 2008's. All the wineries said that over the past decade the odd number years were better than the even number years, 2004 was to be avoided by the sounds of it...
Most wineries were working with quite young vines still, with first vintages coming around the 2000-2004 time period, again there were a few exceptions to this and the wines from the older vines at Rippon in particular were noticeably more concentrated.

Flight 1 - Felton Road - Private Tour - Pinot Thyme Wine Tours (6 notes)

White
2009 Felton Road Chardonnay Elms New Zealand, South Island, Otago, Central Otago
Unoaked. Crisp, citrus and minerally, just what it should be. Good length
White
2010 Felton Road Dry Riesling New Zealand, South Island, Otago, Central Otago
3g/L residual sugar. Fresh limes and citrus on the nose and palate, really well defined fruit, great acidity making this really refreshing, very long, another great year for this Riesling
Red
2009 Felton Road Pinot Noir Bannockburn New Zealand, South Island, Otago, Bannockburn
Lovely concentrated ripe dark fruit, dark cherries with a little earthiness, nice acidity. very good
Red
2009 Felton Road Pinot Noir Cornish Point New Zealand, South Island, Otago, Central Otago
deeper and fuller than the Bannockburn, mocha and cola on the nose and a little more savoury flavour on the palate with good ripe dark cherry fruit, long and spicy on the finish. very good+
Red
2009 Felton Road Pinot Noir Calvert New Zealand, South Island, Otago, Central Otago
This wine had more obvious fruit on the nose than the Cornish Point or Bannockburn pinots, quite a linear palate with a touch of earth, this reminded me of a young Vosne with a its silky mouthfeel, personally i think this is the 'wife' to Cornish Points 'Mistress' ! very good+
White
2010 Felton Road Riesling Bannockburn New Zealand, South Island, Otago, Bannockburn
56g/L residual sugar. quite a floral and expressive nose, apricots and mandarins with pleasing acidity, maybe a little on the sweet side for me, but a lovely wine

Flight 2 - Olssens Winery - Private Tour - Pinot Thyme Wine Tours (4 notes)

White
2009 Olssens Riesling New Zealand, South Island, Otago, Central Otago
Floral and kerosene nose, crisp apples and limes, medium finish
White
2008 Olssens Gewürztraminer New Zealand, South Island, Otago, Central Otago
sugar roses nose, palate is a little light, the fruit wasn't very clearly defined, feeling this could have been cleaner
White
2009 Olssens Chardonnay Charcoal Joe New Zealand, South Island, Otago, Central Otago
Savoury yeasty lees on the nose, quite full and concentrated fruit on the palate with a hint of lychee, quite a long finish
Red
2009 Olssens Pinot Noir Jackson Barry New Zealand, South Island, Otago, Central Otago
Bright cherry nose, vivid bright purple colour, crunchy a crisp cherry fruit

Flight 3 - Bald Hills Winery - Private Tour - Pinot Thyme Wine Tours (6 notes)

The first Bald Hills vintage was 2002 and they had a very few bottles left, it wasn't for tasting, but we took one as a piece of their history

White
2008 Bald Hills Riesling Last Light New Zealand, South Island, Otago, Central Otago
88 points
very crisp acidity, freshly squeezed limes and crunchy green apples, long, very refreshing. very good
White
2009 Bald Hills Pinot Gris New Zealand, South Island, Otago, Central Otago
Pears and apples on the nose, quite full in the mouth with sweet green apples
Rosé
2008 Bald Hills "Friends and Lovers" Rosé New Zealand, South Island, Otago, Central Otago
85 points
Strawberries and cream with a crisp finish
Red
2009 Bald Hills Pinot Noir Three Acres New Zealand, South Island, Otago, Central Otago
Their entry level Pinot Noir, 11 months in barrel with 33% new oak. Bright fruit on the nose, cola and crunchy cherry fruit palate.
Red
2008 Bald Hills Pinot Noir Single Vineyard New Zealand, South Island, Otago, Bannockburn
I found a slightly green edge to this wine, not obvious or enough to spoil it, but there none the less, a little mocha, dark cherry and a touch of caramel
Red
2009 Bald Hills Pinot Noir Single Vineyard New Zealand, South Island, Otago, Bannockburn
This was richer, riper and fuller than the 2008 with the same mocha and dark cherry notes, had some nice complexity and was quite smooth for such a young wine, good length. very good

Flight 4 - Carrick - Private Tour - Pinot Thyme Wine Tours (7 notes)

we also had lunch here, i had a glass of the off dry 2009 Riesling with scallops and a green summer rissotto, Steph had the Chardonnay with a goats cheese and aubergine stack - yummy !

White
2010 Carrick Riesling New Zealand, South Island, Otago, Central Otago
6g/L residual sugar. Light citrus and apple nose, full and soft in the mouth with extremely crisp acidity
White
2009 Carrick Riesling New Zealand, South Island, Otago, Central Otago
25g/L residual sugar. Honeysuckle and petrol nose, very nicely balanced acidity and full in the mouth
White
2010 Carrick Riesling Josephine Sweet New Zealand, South Island, Otago, Central Otago
60g/L residual sugar. 8% alcohol. Nice floral nose, light and elegant with hints of pineapple, fresh with a medium long finish, delicious !
White
2010 Carrick Pinot Gris New Zealand, South Island, Otago, Central Otago
4.5g/L residual sugar. Pears on the nose, pear drops and red apples on the palate, but lacking a little depth on the mid and end palate
White
2008 Carrick Chardonnay New Zealand, South Island, Otago, Central Otago
only 15% new oak and 11 months in the barrel, but you can really taste this with yeasty lees coming through on the nose, butterscotch, butter and a little pineapple on the palate, not really my style of Chardonnay, but not a new world bruiser either
Red
2007 Carrick Pinot Noir New Zealand, South Island, Otago, Central Otago
14 months in the barrel 30% new oak. Full cherry nose, a deep cherry flavour with a little cola and some spice, quite long, possibly lacking a little depth of flavour, but good ripe and concentrated fruit
Red
2006 Carrick Pinot Noir Excelsior New Zealand, South Island, Otago, Central Otago
Deep spicy cherry fruit and cola nose, a very long spicy palate, lots of concentrated fruit, still very tight but drinkable now, will take sone time to unwind and show its class, very good+ wish I had picked some of this up

Flight 5 - Peregrine Winery - Private Tour - Pinot Thyme Wine Tours (8 notes)

White
2008 Peregrine Riesling New Zealand, South Island, Otago, Central Otago
5.9g/L residual sugar. Sharp lime nose, very crisp on the palate with more fresh limes
White
2006 Peregrine Riesling Rastaburn New Zealand, South Island, Otago, Central Otago
15g/L residual sugar. Petrol on the nose, smooth apricot fruit on the palate with a nice crisp finish
White
2009 Peregrine Chardonnay New Zealand, South Island, Otago, Central Otago
A little yeasty on the nose, very crisp and clean on the palate but lacking some fruit definition
White
2008 Peregrine Gewürztraminer New Zealand, South Island, Otago, Central Otago
Fresh and floral rose nose, fair acidity
Red
2008 Peregrine Pinot Noir Mohau New Zealand, South Island, Otago, Central Otago
Full sweet ripe fruit on the nose, bright cherry fruit on the palate, quite crisp and strong acidity, maybe a little green streak in this, fairly long
Red
2009 Peregrine Pinot Noir Mohau New Zealand, South Island, Otago, Central Otago
Softer, longer and deeper than the 2008 with more cola notes, ripe cherry fruit nose and palate with some cola notes creeping in, no greenness in this wine, still very young and tight, will be a very good wine
Red
2008 Peregrine Pinot Noir Karearea New Zealand, South Island, Otago, Central Otago
This has a lovely expressive rich cherry nose, with hints of earthiness, the palate has a lot going on, a real savoury edge which I enjoy, but balanced with ripe concentrated fruit and fine tannins, this really needs time to settle and unwind, but will be an excellent wine.
White - Sweet/Dessert
2010 Peregrine Riesling Charcoal Creek (late harvest) New Zealand, South Island, Otago, Central Otago
100g/L residual sugar. Apricots, lychee and grapefruits all playing in this wine balanced with a lovely clean finish

Flight 6 - Gibbston Valley Winery - Private Tour - Pinot Thyme Wine Tours (0 notes)

This was the final stop of the day, our palates were a little jaded by now and we had a cheese plate with a selection of their wines, the notes didn't amount to anything much so i haven't posted them.
We tried their 2008 and 2009 Pinot Noirs, again the 2008 was a touch green, but decent and the 2009 better and riper, we also tried the 2008 Pinot Noir reserve which was decent again, then 2 single vineyard (i think) wines, the 2009 China Terrace Pinot Noir and the 2009 Le Maitre Pinot Noir which were both very good indeed

Flight 7 - A gift from Pinot Thyme Wine Tours, who made the wine (1 note)

Red
2009 White Ashes Vineyard Estate Pinot Noir Bannockburn New Zealand, South Island, Otago, Bannockburn
87 points
Made in an early drinking style, cherry and raspberry nose, a god sweet mouthful of fruit, morello cherries in the main, balanced acidity, fresh, clean and crisp, good finish.
Given to us by the winemaker who also runs tours in the Otago area (shameless plug here: www.pinotthymetours.co.nz)

Flight 8 - Amisfield Winery (4 notes)

We were very impressed by the wines here but only tried the pinot noir flight as i was driving, they also has a beautiful looking restaurant

Red
2008 Lake Hayes Pinot Noir New Zealand, South Island, Otago, Central Otago
Warm summer fruits on the nose, full dark cherry fruit and plums showing on the palate, a touch of the 2008 green edge showing here
Red
2008 Amisfield Pinot Noir New Zealand, South Island, Otago, Central Otago
Sweet cherry fruit on the nose, more ripe cherries and plums on the palate, this 2008 is full ripe with no signs of greenness, good concentration and length
Red
2007 Amisfield Pinot Noir New Zealand, South Island, Otago, Central Otago
Very full aromatic nose with plenty going on alongside the dark cherry fruit, very concentrated juice with a savoury edge to the plums and cherries, good length, really quite long, really good. probably my favourite main label Pinot of the trip.
Red
2006 Amisfield Pinot Noir Rocky Knoll New Zealand, South Island, Otago, Central Otago
Made from only the 3 Dijon clones grown at amisfield. This has a lovely classic burgundy nose, getting a bit of bottle age now, full and concentrated, lovely mouthfeel, the palate is relatively linear, but it was so well defined that it didn't matter, ready now, but will keep for at least another 5 years, excellent.

Flight 9 - Chard Farm Winery (8 notes)

Its worth making the trip up a winding track to go here, they also make 2 single vineyard Pinots which weren't for tasting and were for long term cellaring which are worth hunting down, The Tiger and The Viper (i think 1 of these was available at Auckland airport)

White
2008 Chard Farm Riesling New Zealand, South Island, Otago, Central Otago
28g/l Residual sugar and 11% alc. fresh lime and green apple nose, granny smith apples with fresh lime palate, quite a crisp finish
White
2009 Chard Farm Riesling Viper's Vineyard New Zealand, South Island, Otago, Central Otago
38g/L residual sugar. Honied nose, more delicate that the 08 Riesling we tried but i also thought it was less defined
White
2008 Chard Farm Gewürztraminer New Zealand, South Island, Otago, Central Otago
Quite full flavoured with rose petal and lychee, not crisp enough on the finish for me
Red
2009 Chard Farm Pinot Noir River Run New Zealand, South Island, Otago, Central Otago
Delicate fruit on the nose, some cherry, some raspberry, very crisp fruit on the palate and a clean finish
Red
2007 Chard Farm Pinot Noir River Run New Zealand, South Island, Otago, Central Otago
This was unsurprisingly (as its the early drinking label of Chard Farm) more evolved than the 2009 with some mushroom on the nose alongside decent cherry fruit, more savoury and medium long
Red
2008 Chard Farm Pinot Noir Finla Mor New Zealand, South Island, Otago, Central Otago
Sweet red cherries on the nose and the palate, there was a hint of candyfloss to this and a very slight touch of the 2008 greenness, not one of their best efforts
Red
2007 Chard Farm Pinot Noir Finla Mor New Zealand, South Island, Otago, Central Otago
Good ripe fruit on the nose, getting a little bottle age from this already, good concentration and length, very good indeed
Red
2009 Chard Farm Pinot Noir Mata-Au New Zealand, South Island, Otago, Central Otago
The nose was a little shy and the wine very tight and young, this had beautiful sweet fruit, good acidity and good length, this could be an excellent wine given enough time

Flight 10 - Mount Difficulty Winery (6 notes)

A great spot for lunch up on the mountain looking down the valley

White
2009 Mt. Difficulty Dry Riesling New Zealand, South Island, Otago, Central Otago
very clean and crisp with bracing acidity
White - Sweet/Dessert
2010 Mt. Difficulty Riesling Late Harvest Long Gully New Zealand, South Island, Otago, Central Otago
Passion fruit and grapefruits here, ripe and very aromatic, long with a nice clean finish
White
2008 Mt. Difficulty Chardonnay Central Otago New Zealand, South Island, Otago, Central Otago
Apricots on the nose and to some degree on the palate, crisp and long
Red
2009 Mt. Difficulty Pinot Noir Roaring Meg New Zealand, South Island, Otago, Central Otago
Bright fruit nose, crisp clean cherry fruit, good simple drinking already
Red
2009 Mt. Difficulty Pinot Noir Central Otago New Zealand, South Island, Otago, Central Otago
This wine had a deep rich dark cherry nose, more dark intense fruits on the palate with a touch of savouriness to it, crisp acidity, tight and young, needs at least 2-3 years before thinking about this wine
Red
2009 Mt. Difficulty Pinot Noir Packspur Vineyard New Zealand, South Island, Otago, Central Otago
I think this is the first vintage of this wine, this has loads of dark cherries and plums, really concentrated juice, very clear acidity and very long, excellent wine

Flight 11 - Wooing Tree Winery (8 notes)

In Cromwell town, they are Pinot Noir specialists and a winery to watch, their 2007 won a ton of awards

Rosé
2010 Wooing Tree Blondie New Zealand, South Island, Otago, Central Otago
Some strawberries, but no cream, crisp and very dry
Rosé
2010 Wooing Tree Rosé New Zealand, South Island, Otago, Central Otago
Strawberries and cream but still crisp to the finish with a touch of sweetness
White
2009 Wooing Tree Pinot Gris New Zealand, South Island, Otago, Central Otago
Made in a crisp and dry style, very fresh with apples on the palate
White
2008 Wooing Tree Chardonnay New Zealand, South Island, Otago, Central Otago
Hints of butterscotch on the nose, crisp and quite clean, fairly long with a touch of caramel at the end
Red
2002 Wooing Tree Pinot Noir New Zealand, South Island, Otago, Central Otago
A little aged bricking at the rim, an evolved nose with mushroom and earth, fully mature with leather and gamey flavours, quite rich dried fruits, even a little porty, still enough acid to keep it alive, quite long, really enjoyable but needs drinking up now
Red
2008 Wooing Tree Pinot Noir Beetlejuice New Zealand, South Island, Otago, Central Otago
Their entry level Pinot, ripe cherry nose, strong acids and clear cherry fruit
Red
2008 Wooing Tree Pinot Noir New Zealand, South Island, Otago, Central Otago
Very ripe and full cherry nose, good concentration with fine tannins and good acids holding this all together, will keep, but is approachable now
Rosé - Sweet/Dessert
2010 Wooing Tree Tickled Pink New Zealand, South Island, Otago, Central Otago
Lovely and rich wine with strawberries and cream with some raspberry showing through, i think it needed a little more acidity to be well balanced, but still an interesting wine

Flight 12 - Rippon Winery (7 notes)

Set apart from the rest of the regions producers but well worth the trip, they have some of the oldest vines in the region and a beautiful spot over looking Lake Wanaka

Red
2008 Rippon Pinot Noir Jeunesse New Zealand, South Island, Otago, Lake Wanaka
Some savoury notes with dark cherries and good length
Red
2008 Rippon Pinot Noir Mature Vine New Zealand, South Island, Otago, Lake Wanaka
Darked and fuller than the Jeunesse with a deeper cherry fruit flavour and some earth, quite long
White
2009 Rippon Riesling Jeunesse New Zealand, South Island, Otago, Lake Wanaka
Citrus and lime nose and crisp citrus flavours on the palate
White
2009 Rippon Riesling Mature Vine New Zealand, South Island, Otago, Lake Wanaka
Deeper and more savoury than its young vines partner, a nice minerality to this wine and quite long, quite a classy riesling
White
2008 Rippon Gewürztraminer New Zealand, South Island, Otago, Lake Wanaka
Rose and lychee on the nose, rose petals and ripe tropical fruit on the palate, quite clean with a medium finish
Red
2008 Rippon Pinot Noir Emma's block New Zealand, South Island, Otago, Lake Wanaka
Strawberry and cherry nose, a soft mouthfeel with delicate red fruit, very long and elegant, needs to be kept for at least 3 years before it will blossom, very good
Red
2008 Rippon Pinot Noir Tinker's Field New Zealand, South Island, Otago, Lake Wanaka
Deep brooding savoury and cherry nose, rich dark fruit with gamey notes on the palate, medium long finish and quite burgundian in style, very good+

Closing

I'd recommend anyone who can make the trip to New Zealand to check this region out, its a really easy couple of days to get to a ton of great wineries and the scenery is pretty great too, it does get really hot here in summer and really cold in winter, so pack accordingly and you'll have a great time !

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