Best way to taste region’s wines is to take a visit

Time for a double header of Central Otago Pinot Noir with a mix today of established wineries and some of the first releases from a newcomer - Monte Christo from Alexandra/Clyde.

My tasting buddy is an avid fan of the Alexandra wineries, having tasted extensively there, but sadly with many being small concerns they are little seen in Dunedin.

You really need to go there, and look forward to the annual Alexandra Basin Winegrowers New Release Tasting coming up at Labour Weekend.


2022 Monte Christo Central Otago Pinot Noir 

Price RRP $70
Rating Very Good to Excellent
Florality, wisps of 
gunflint, a suggestion of 
savoury qualities, the 
fruit playing the 
supporting role, a 
caramel note later. The 
palate initially shows its 
fruit-forward qualities, 
fruit sweetness, a sense 
of florality again, a lifted 
quality, as it fleshes out 
with air tangy aspects 
lending to a drier finish. 
Have a nagging 
suspicion I’m 
underscoring this, 
perhaps a bit shy today?

2022 Carrick Unravelled Organic Central Otago Pinot Noir 

Price RRP $32 
Rating Very Good to Excellent
Dustiness, savoury 
aspects, woodsmoke, 
red fruits beginning to 
pop their heads up, a 
influence later. Quite a 
youthful palate, chewy 
tannins make their 
presence felt with a 
graphite note framing the 
close. The elements are 
here but feel like they are 
still integrating. With air, 
the fruit weight and 
depth reveals itself, 
adding real tanginess to 
the finish.

2022 Burn Cottage Moonlight Race Central Otago Pinot Noir 

Price RRP $55
Rating Excellent
Lovely, expressive nose, 
red fruits, cranberry, a 
little blueberry too, 
florality growing with air, 
smoke, vibrant. 
Mouthfilling, rich, almost 
creamy, generosity of 
flavour with savoury 
nuances beginning to 
appear. With time it 
grows in the 
glass, the delightful 
mouthfeel enlivened by 
chewy tannins. It feels 
effortless, it knows what 
it is doing.

2022 Monte Christo Bannockburn Pinot Noir 

Price RRP $80
Rating Very Good to Excellent
Lovely nose, an amalgam of fruit and 
fragrance, herb and savoury 
nuances, no doubting the 
grape variety, a little funky 
wildness later. A fascinating 
interplay on the palate 
between sweet fruit, 
pronounced tanginess and 
savoury/umami notes on 
a medium-weight frame. 
Elegant rather than a fruit 
bomb, retaining that 
zesty, tangy aspect 
through to the finish.

2022 Loop Rd by Quartz Reef Central Otago Pinot Noir 

Price RRP $33.99
Rating Excellent
Savoury/umami notes 
leap from the glass, 
earthy undercurrents, 
red fruits, cherry. 
Powerfully expressed 
fruit, juicy and engaging. 
The earthy and savoury 
notes meet a touch of 
herb on the long close, a 
good lick of acidity 
keeping this fresh. 
Lovely balance. With air 
the boldness eases 
back, moves to a deeper 
register, maintaining that 
lip-smacking quality.

2022 Central by Monte Christo Central Otago Pinot Noir 

Price RRP $45
Rating Very Good to Excellent
Oak spices and perfume 
start the ball rolling, shifting 
to rose petal florality, some 
savoury notes, fruit in 
support. A medium-weight 
style, red fruited, a grainy 
feel to the tannins and a 
fresh, bittersweet quality. 
Initially shows its 
youthful side, but grows 
nicely with air, adding 
earth and herb nuances 
and swelling fruit, the 
nose becoming quite