Delightful drops from hot season

The majority of Central pinot noirs on the shelves at the moment are from the 2018 vintage. This was an exceptionally hot season from December through until the beginning of March, when cooler, rainy conditions helped moderate the effects of the summer. It tested the mettle of the wineries, yet while most of the 2018 wines will not be extremely long lived, they do offer delightful drinking now. Alongside those here today, a slew of late releases, and a comparative young ’un.

2018 Valli
Waitaki Vineyard
Pinot Noir

Price: $69
Rating: Excellent

Fragrant notes of wild
herbs with cooler
strawberry and darker
fruits mingling. Sweet
cherry and spicy oak
frame the palate, adding
a touch of lead pencil,
showing good
structure in the
background. There’s
generosity of fruit
here, a sweetly
fruited element
building and good
length. This has
drinkability off the
bat but potential too.

2018 Rockburn
Central Otago
Pinot Noir

Price: $49.99
Rating: Excellent to

Darker fruited expression
offering mint/menthol,
oak spices and savoury
nuances. A depth of
flavour that fills the
mouth, supported by
fine-grained tannins,
as the sweet fruit
mingles with wild
herbs and savoury
notes. Lovely
texture, nice
balance and
integration gives
this immediate

2016 Doctors Flat

Price: $49.99
Rating: Outstanding

Subtlety and elegance rule, darker
fruited, sawn timber,
spices, violets, growing in
the glass with sweet fruits
building. Wonderful
intensity and depth of
flavour to the dry, dusty
palate and while
approachable now, the
powerful tannic
structure is built for
the future. Ripe but not
sweet, the fruit hangs
in the mouth on the
long, dry close.
Superb potential.

2016 Domaine Thomson
Surveyor Thomson
Central Otago
Pinot Noir

Price: $55
Rating: Very good to

Talc and potpourri lead,
shifting to mint/herbs,
savoury touches and
warm leather. Flirting
with sweet ‘n’ sour
nuances, oak
noticeable, with
powerful tannins
getting the salivary
juices going, a
youthful gangliness
at first. This grows
enormously, an
Italianate tanginess
bringing delightful

2015 Maori Point
Grand Reserve
Professor’s Block
Central Otago
Pinot Noir

Price: $69.95
Rating: Excellent

Perfumed nose, licorice,
blueberry, stones, a
piquancy to this with
hints of secondary
characters. Deceptive
intensity here, real
power aligned with
silkiness, while red
currant/red fruits
meld with lavender,
leather and savoury
nuances as the wine
builds to a long, dry
finish. Suggestive of
some bottle age; in a
lovely now.

2019 Putangi
Central Otago
Pinot Noir

Price: $31
Rating: Very good

Leaps from the glass
with cherry, raspberry
char and lead pencil
elements; florality
building. Quite a big,
ballsy style, berryfruit
jus, char, graphite
and a tangy
‘‘raspberry drops’’
character meeting
plenty of grip and
chewiness on the
palate. Good flavour
intensity, the
structure to the fore
in its youth, best
with food for now and
with promise ahead.

2018 Impromptu
by Misha’s Vineyard
Central Otago
Pinot Noir

Price: $30
Rating: Very good to

Subtle but attractive nose,
with strawberry, florality,
pencil shavings and
lavender adding wild
thyme with aeration.
Supple, mouthfilling,
there is fineness and
elegance to this yet
good depth of flavour
too. Shows some
firmness on the close
with time. This is right
in the slot to enjoy

2017 Te Kano
Pinot Noir

Price: $29
Rating: Excellent

Subtle nose at first, yet a
suggestion of volume as
the cherry, mixed berry
and herb notes swell.
Firm at first, but
quickly fleshes out,
developing lovely
flavour intensity as
savoury nuances
add to the interest.
Stylish, good
freshness and well
judged structural
backbone make this
lovely drinking now.
Nicely done and good
bang for buck.


Add a Comment