A classy all-Central pinot noir line-up

Readers sometimes ask how I go about choosing the wines that grace this column.

I could say serendipity (given the quality of the wines on show today) but in reality I am reliant on samples that wineries send in for evaluation.

Occasionally I am proactive in seeking wines for a particular theme, but more often reactive.

Thankfully, many wineries are supportive of the Otago Daily Times and regularly send their new releases.

An all-Central line-up today and a very classy one at that.

2020 Valli Gibbston Vineyard Pinot Noir

Price RRP $75
Rating  Outstanding

Powerful nose, tilled
earth & herbal notes
lead, savoury
elements follow, the
fruit neatly in support.
Nicely chewy
mouthfeel, spices,
savoury notes evident,
a hint of cranberry
gives piquancy adding
to the freshness.
Power without weight,
delightful balance and
a super-long finish
framed by wild herbs
and savoury qualities.
You really want
another glass!


2020 McArthur Ridge Southern Tor Alexandra Pinot Noir

Price $39.99
Rating Excellent to Outstanding

Sweeter fruited nose,
crushed leaf, forest
floor, savoury notes,
subtle oak and plum.
Red-fruits, flecks of
raspberry with time,
bright acidity gives this
real lift & verve, a
bittersweet nuance
adding to the vibrant,
refreshing finish.  The
tannins build with time
showing good
structure, but again an
aerial quality. Engaging,
draws you back.


2020 Valli Bannockburn Vineyard Pinot Noir

Price RRP $75
Rating Outstanding

Gorgeous floraity,
almost violets,
savoury, pencil lead,
tamarillo, subtle oak,
wild herbs. Rich taffeta
like mouthfeel, ripe
without being ‘‘sweet’’,
powerful tannins
hinting at black tea, a
depth to the fruit filling
the mouth. Vibrancy
and energy, crisp,
bright, ripe yet closing
dry. Savoury notes
build, wisps of balsam,
flavours hang in the
mouth. Simply


2020 Dicey The Inlet Bannockburn Pinot Noir

Price RRP $69
Rating Excellent

Dusty elements, pencil
shavings, crushed
herbs, fruit in support.
Sweet fruited palate
becomes drier as it
progresses through the
mouth, a wisp of
toffee, wild herbs
again, surprisingly
chewy tannins add a
chalkiness to the
texture. Grows nicely
with air, crisp acidity
neatly balancing the
fruit sweetness.
Refreshingly tangy on
the close, a hint of
almond too.


2020 Valli Bendigo Vineyard Pinot Noir

Price RRP $75
Rating Excellent to Outstanding

Voluminous nose, ripe,
red fruits, an earthy
quality, dusty stones,
florality as it opens,even
a funky touch. Spicy on
entry, starts off supple
and mouthfilling with
lovely fruit depth before
the acidity and tannins
show their intent adding
crisp lift and grippy
structure. Grows
superbly in the glass,
with great balance and a
wonderfully long finish.
Style and appeal.


2021 Hawkshead Central Otago Pinot Noir

Price RRP $49.50
Rating Rating Excellent

A little charry oak &
bonfire smoke lead,
dustiness, riper fruits
with a liqueur fruit
quality a brambly note
with air. Sweeter
fruited palate, fruit
pastilles, a spicy
quality, herbal notes
providing contrast, a
hint of funk too. Feels
quite approachable
already yet there’s
tannic structure in the
Cranberry and wild
herb zestiness frames
the close.


2020 Dicey Black Rabbit Bannockburn Pinot Noir

Price RRP $69
Rating  Excellent to Outstanding

Price Rating
Savoury, umami
qualities lead, shifting
to tilled earth. Perfume,
fragrance, almost
musk like, fruit neatly
supporting the whole.
Subtlety, elegance, an
aerial quality, this
works in a different
register, lightness yet
not at all under-
powered. Surprising
tannic backbone with a
tea leaf quality, adding
fruit sweetness and
spice. Depth,
complexity, super


2019 Carrick The Magnetic Organic Bannockburn Pinot Noir

Price RRP $65
Rating Very Good to Excellent

Milk chocolate, a funky
nuance, savoury
umami notes grow,
iron filings/schist,
fragrance developing.
Tanginess on entry,
wisps of blood orange,
building a savoury,
earthy aspect,
deceptive tannins in
the background. This
hits some different
buttons. The fruit
swells, filling the palate
while there’s a tart,
tanginess to the finish
leavened by the fruit.