Central Otago pinot noirs show the way

Congratulations to Alexandra’s McArthur Ridge wines for their 2022 Southern Tor Pinot Noir, which has just taken out one of the highly coveted Best in Show Awards at the Decanter World Wine Awards in London.

To put this into context, the panel of 243 leading wine experts, including 20 master sommeliers and 61 masters of wine from 33 countries, blind-tasted 18,143 wines from 57 countries, resulting in: 50 Best in Show, 117 Platinum, 643 Gold, 5977 Silver, and 8016 Bronze medals.

Against pinot noirs from across the world, McArthur Ridge has come out on top and it was an Australasian trifecta with pinot noirs from Lowestoft and Bay of Fires in Tasmania joining the Southern Tor in the 50 Best in Show List.

After their 2022 McArthur Ridge Brassknocker Pinot Noir took out the trophy for Best NZ Pinot Noir at the International Wine Challenge in London recently, that’s double validation for the team: I’m sure they are grinning from ear to ear!

New wine tasting facility opens in Tarras

Exciting news for wine enthusiasts heading to Central with the opening of the new Bendigo Wine Cellar in the Tarras Village redevelopment. The brainchild of Christina and Callum Grant of Bendigo Station, the Bendigo Wine Cellar joins luxury knitwear brand Perriam’s HQ, and the recently renovated Tarras Village Country Store & Café in the Tarras Village complex.

Open from Monday to Saturday, the cellar offers both tasting and purchase options from vineyards on the hills of Bendigo Station including Peregrine, Quartz Reef, their own Bendigo Station Vineyard, alongside local craft beers from Rhyme and Reason, Ground Up and B Effect. There are plans for more food options later in the year including an outdoor laneway for the summer season. Yet another good reason to make the pilgrimage to Central Otago.

2021 Gibbston Valley GV Collection Central Otago Pinot Noir 

Price $49
Rating Excellent 
A sense of volume on 
the nose, savoury/
umami aspects, spices, 
perhaps a touch of 
graphite, fruit neatly in 
support. The palate is 
still relatively taut, riffing 
on red fruits, black 
olive, a wisp of salinity 
perhaps, making this 
cool in the mouth, flows 
to a dry, chalk-inflected 
finish. Opens up 
enormously with air, 
nose and palate 
transformed, give this 
some air and reap rewards. 

2021 Dicey Bannockburn Pinot Noir 

Price RRP $46 
Rating Excellent 
Cracking nose here, 
gorgeous florality, red 
and dark fruits, savoury 
aspects, smoke and oak 
spices later. Very 
engaging. Nice, silky 
entry, a feeling of 
richness yet balance, 
plush and mouthfilling. 
Youthful for sure, but 
great integration. Calling it 
"crowd pleasing" feels 
like damning it with faint 
praise but there’s a 
generosity and 
voluptuousness that 
makes this so easy to 

2021 Mount Edward Central Otago Pinot Noir 

Price RRP $55 
Rating Excellent to Outstanding 
Beguiling nose, 
savoury, tilled earth, 
more about the 
complexity though 
the fruit is definitely 
there, under-the-
hood quiet fragrance 
evolving. There’s a 
seriousness here, 
dry, powerful yet 
integrated tannins, 
subtlety to this but 
so much more under 
the surface. Quietly 
compelling and 
certainly enjoyable 
now but there’s clear 
potential here too.