PINOT UNEARTHED IN CENTRAL OTAGO
The Pinot Unearthed team has had three good cracks at Central Otago in the last 2 months. First we organised a tasting of 35 wines in Melbourne held for convenience at the offices of the New Zealand Winegrowers in the city. This was done for convenience sake, to get the ball rolling on content for our website, and also so we could choose what wines to serve at our New Zealand dinner to be held at Mahjong Black on Friday the 11th of March.
Two of the team, Chris Crawford and Dan Sims then joined the Central Otago Pinot Noir Celebration
in Queenstown, while Ben was moderating the Mornington Peninsula
IPNC on the same days. Chris and Dan got moved around plenty, seeing the lay of the land and tasting many of the exciting 2009 wines of the region. Following this Ben joined up with the team to explore Waipara
, and then the whole team headed over the ranges to further explore Central Otago.
While on the surface this seems like a lot of work, this defines the very essence of what Pinot Unearthed is all about today and in to the future. Our annual tastings will be held in each region, with interviews and stories to follow, and we hope you will engage with the website by leaving comments. As time continues, we will further develop the website to provide even more opportunity for you to have your say.A SUMMARY OF 2009 IN CENTRAL OTAGO
Following a challenging vintage in 2008 where structure and somewhat fragile fruit was the order of the day (of course there are exceptions), 2009 has produced generous, detailed and highly perfumed wines across all of the sub-regions. The whole team was pleasantly surprised by the overall quality of the wines tasted, it really was a joy to do, but also recognised the regions insistence on adhering to a single style of 'safe' winemaking. This is a double-edged sword.
On the one hand this appears to provide homogeneity to the wines, but it also provides a relatively unobstructed view to the characteristics of the terroirs of each of the sub-regions. We were also pleased to see that some prominent producers such as Felton Road were pulling back on ripeness levels, looking for lower levels of alcohol and an even greater expression of their site as a result. 2010 promises to be an exciting vintage based on this progression alone.
The different sub-regions of Central Otago are quite distinctive in terms of location when discussing Alexandra, Bannockburn, Lowbur/Pisa, Bendigo, Queensberry/Tarras, Gibbston Valley and Wanaka, but further analysis has given the Pinot Unearthed team an insight in to the different characteristics in general terms of what you may expect to find.
Given our love of Burgundy, and most Pinot lovers understanding of the different structures you find in the Cote d'Or, we have added a little comparative village from Burgundy as we see they fit in terms of Central Otago Pinot Noir in 2009. We are sure that some people will see this as rather silly, but we believe it provides an insight beyond what ratings and tasting notes can deliver.
Below are some rough generalisations moving roughly south to north, about each of the sub-regions of Central Otago. Some would say this is a silly exercise as time is necessary to really get a feel for what each of the regions produces, but we can't help ourselves. Let's face it; if we wait the right amount of time to do this, we may be pushing up the daisies!
» MAP OF CENTRAL OTAGO PRODUCERS
ISSUE NUMBER FIVE IS IN!
After what seemed like an interminable time, the team has sorted out their notes, travelled across the Tasman and in short, got their shit together.
The tasting held in January at the Melbourne offices of the New Zealand Winegrowers is complete, but there will be more, as the team finds time to put there heads together and work out the details of the wines tasted in situ.
So read the report below first, and then watch this space for more on Central Otago.
And remember, if you subscribe to the website, then you will be notified of reports as soon as they are out.
Regards,The Pinot Unearthed TeamBen, Chris & DanAgree with us? Disagree? We'd love to hear your thoughts about the report on our blog. Click HERE to join the conversation
» Pinot Unearthed Issue 5 - Central Otago, Part 1