The best of Central pinot noir

Today's line-up would have to be called an extravaganza of Central Otago Pinot Noir, as these are wines that don’t cross my path every day.

In the case of Coal Pit and Rockburn, these are barrel selections from their Gibbston and Parkburn vineyards: Coal Pit could well have used the Rockburn moniker as it is from their best 7 Barrels.

With Chard Farm we go to the intricasies and complexities of their individual vineyard sites and I’ve thrown in an older bottle for comparison. This last was sent in error a couple of years ago; I held it back for just such an occasion. Enjoy!


2021 Chard Farm Viper Vineyard Parkburn Pinot Noir 

Price RRP $90-$95 
Rating Outstanding 

Intrigue, a hint of 
wildness (in a nice way), 
spices, lead pencil, 
smoke, fragrant florality. 
Not a fruit bomb, driven 
by complexity. Finer 
boned yet deceptive 
power lurking, red fruits, 
savoury, wild herb 
nuances, great grip and 
structure backing it all 
up, long, long finish. 
Vibrant, composed, 
elegant, doesn’t "hang it 
all out there" but seek 
this and you’ll be 


2021 Chard Farm The Tiger Lowburn Pinot Noir

Price RRP $90-$95 
Rating Outstanding

Bonfire embers, 
smoke, shifting to 
perfume (violets?), the 
nose a whisper tight. 
The palate shifts gear, 
a lovely, brambly wild 
herb influence meets 
youthful fruit, silky 
mouthfeel, really fine-
grained tannins, bright 
acidity lending 
freshness. Classy and 
elegant, dancing in the 
mouth as the palate 
develops a tingly 
brightness, the tannins 
a corset. Long, dry 
close, serious stuff. 


2019 Coal Pit The Leo Barrel Selection Pinot Noir

Price RRP $139 
Rating Excellent to Outstanding 

Sweet fruit, showing the 
first hints of 
development. Steely, 
minerally, a wisp of 
warm leather, lifted 
perfume. Again, ripely 
fruited, expressed in 
richness rather than 
‘sweetness’, developing 
a cooling almost minty 
herb quality, before the 
engagingly long fruit-
filled close. A quiet 
sumptousness, again 
development, the 
structure building. 
Complex and 


2022 Rockburn Eleven Barrels Parkburn Vineyard Pinot Noir

Price RRP $99 
Rating Excellent 

Youthful cherry and 
raspberry lead, dusty 
elements the first hints 
of savoury nuances. 
Creamy, silky entry, 
bright ripe fruit, spices, 
baking spices, a nutty 
bittersweet note adds 
contrast. A grainy 
touch to the texture 
framing the lovely, 
long spice inflected 
close. Not totally 
coming out to play 
today but the 
ingredients are there 
for the future. 


2018 Chard Farm Viper Vineyard Pinot Noir

Price RRP N/A 
Rating Excellent

Colour shift. Perfumed, 
showing signs of 
secondary notes, 
leather, dustiness, 
earthy tones, umami 
characters, tar  and 
roses with time. Silky, 
bright, vibrant, driven 
by complexity rather 
than fruit per se, though 
the fruit is clearly there. 
A warm glow on the 
close as the tannins 
kick in, the acidity more 
evident, in a nice place 
to enjoy, likely some 
potential too. 


2022 Rockburn Twelve Barrels Gibbston Pinot Noir

Price RRP $99 
Rating Outstanding

Youthful and fragrant 
nose, cranberry and 
cooler fruits, minerally, 
schisty, very attractive, 
perfume  and dustiness 
later. Ripely fruited, 
lighter bodied with an 
ethereal quality; under 
that poise surprising 
depth. Fresh, cool, an 
almost crunchy quality, 
nicely balanced 
tannins & acidity, 
flowing to a long, long 
close. Quietly wins you 
over and draws you 
back for more. 


2021 Chard Farm Eliza Vineyard Bannockburn Pinot Noir

Price RRP $90-$95 
Rating Very Good to Excellent 

Gunflint, struck match, 
graphite, pencil 
shavings, an umami 
quality. That reductive 
character carries 
through the wine 
keeping this relatively 
tight and firm for now. 
The fruit a backdrop, 
the acidity driving the 
wine, feels like it needs 
time to flesh out. Loved 
the ’20 of this, but this 
is standoffish and hard 
to judge today, it is 
crying out for time. 


2021 Chard Farm Mason Vineyard Parkburn Pinot Noir

Price RRP $90-$95 
Rating Excellent to Outstanding 

Umami qualities, river 
stones, a darker, more 
brooding aspect, spiced 
fruit nicely supporting 
this, building perfume as 
it opens. Plays that 
knife-edge ripeness 
card so well, ripe, rich 
yet not at all ‘sweet’. 
Graphite, earthy 
touches, super tannic 
backbone begins to 
strut its stuff. Fine, 
elegant, approachability, 
yet there’s more to 
come here with time.