You are not permitted to download, save or email this image. Visit image gallery to purchase the image.
The latest New Zealand Winegrowers vineyard statistics report groups Central Otago and the Waitaki Valley together and occasionally throws up a surprise such as the 0.6ha planted to nebbiolo and the 0.1ha devoted to zinfandel (who would have known and who and where?).
Less of a surprise is the 1535.9ha devoted to pinot noir, fully 78.5% of the Otago vineyard total.
Some of that pinot noir made it on to the tasting bench today, mostly the value-end second labels, but also a top-end interloper.
2016 Wooing Tree. Beetlejuice. Pinot Noir.
Price: $28. Rating: Very good to excellent.
Youthfully fresh nose of plums, red fruits, dustiness and spice; hints of Turkish Delight with time. Brashly youthful fruit-driven palate, silky on entry moving to some brambly woodsiness as the fruit builds in weight. Bright, bold, perhaps still somewhat of a gangly youth, but one with a good deal of promise.
2017 Domaine Thomson. Explorer. Pinot Noir.
Price: $26-$29. Rating: Good to very good.
Powerful notes of struck match and burnt toast: perfumed fruit wafting out from underneath. The struck-match character leads on the chewy palate, the fruit disguised by the structure for now, but returns on the finish adding a cranberry sweet and sour, almost bittersweet note. Some nice elements here but needs some time to come together.
2016 Lake Hayes. Pinot Noir.
Price: $30. Rating: Very good to excellent.
Smoky nose with darker fruits and a charry touch. Youthful boldness to the dark cherry-tinged fruit, a hint of spritz initially, too, before hints of boiled sweets and
savoury notes join the ensemble. Fine tannins round this all up into a nice shape in the mouth, the fruit carrying to a richly appealing finish. Very easy drinking here.
2017 Wooing Tree. Beetlejuice. Pinot Noir.
Price: $26. Rating: Excellent.
Attractive and enticing nose with darker fruits and savoury nuances. Very powerful fruit, a statement wine, with dark cherry, tamarillo and spice, the acidity giving real brightness, the ever building tannins a nice counterpoint. Big, bold, with fruit to match, pinot on steroids perhaps. Possibly not for the purists, but immensely
2016 Gibbston Valley. Gold River. Pinot Noir.
Price: $25-$30. Rating: Excellent.
A little shy at first, the gently perfumed fruit, earth and forest floor notes gathering. Lovely elegance to the supple and rich palate with neat balance and flow
through the mouth. Spiciness and stalk/wild herb notes mingle with the fruit as it carries through to a long, long close. This one draws you back for more.
2014 Chard farm. The Viper Parkburn. Pinot Noir.
Price: $69. Rating: Very Good.
Delicacy on the nose with red fruits, florals, dustiness and secondary characters. Silky entry, medium weight, red fruits again, brambliness, lead pencil and chalky chewiness on the structured back palate. Very different in style, challenging perhaps but with intrigue, aiming for something more Burgundian rather than