Isolation heightens focus

Like many of you, I took part in a number of Zoom meetings during lockdown, including wine tastings.

The latter involved far more intellectual rigour than I had imagined — using one’s senses to explain a wine to others (who do not have the wine in front of them) is surprisingly difficult, yet heightens the focus on the wine in your glass.

For whatever reason, I haven’t tackled many reds in this column recently, so it seemed appropriate to explore a few Central Otago pinot noirs.

 

2018 Carrick
Billet Doux
Central Otago
Pinot Noir

Price: $36
Rating: Excellent to outstanding

Fascinating nose, humus, a wild and feral quality; delicious purity of fruit. Silky and textural entry with a little prickle on the tongue, showcasing loganberry, plum and wood smoke with nice chewiness from the tannins. Time adds dark chocolate and charcuterie to the brightness and vivacity, while the tannins are very fine. Rather delicious. No sulphur added.

www.carrick.co.nz

2017 Judge Rock

Alexandra
Pinot Noir

Price: $45
Rating: Very good

A little shy at first, building a quietly alluring perfume. There’s richness yet a sense of coolness as well, the fruit mingling with earth and wild herb notes; a touch of tea leaf/pencil lead too. A juiciness to the palate with a tangy element framing the finish as the tannic structure quietly builds. Time in bottle should meld this together nicely.

www.judgerock.co.nz

2017 Maori Point

Gold Digger
Central Otago
Pinot Noir

Price: $29.95
Rating: Very good to excellent

Smoke, a little funky wildness, wild herbs and red fruits in support. Red fruits and raspberry lead the palate, with hints of Christmas fruit mix and oak notes.  There’s fruit sweetness her, the tannins nicely melded into the wine and a fresh lift on the spicy close. In the slot and drinking nicely now. Well priced.

www.maoripoint.co.nz

2019 Hawkshead

Central Otago
Pinot Noir

Price: $45
Rating: Very good to excellent

Dusty, smoke, dried herbs, fragrance building with light cherry tones; a toffee note with aeration. Youthfully crunchy and juicy, highlighting cherry and blackberry, along with a little herbal backdrop, moving to spice on the close. Good flavour intensity and while this shows its youthful brashness, there is drinkability too.

www.hawksheadwine.com

2018 Misha’s Vineyard

Cantata
Central Otago
Pinot Noir

Price: $30
Rating: Excellent

A deeper, darker register to the nose, raspberry, dark berries, wood smoke, oak nuances; quite engaging. The palate brings out its youthful side, raspberry and oak spices joined by a lavender-like wild herb influence with bright acidity and growing, chewy tannins closing on a smoky note. Youthful puppy fat here, but a lot of ingredient for the price.

www.mishasvineyard.com

2018 Burn Cottage

Moonlight Race
Central Otago
Pinot Noir

Price: $49.99
Rating: Excellent to outstanding

Fragrant and floral nose of mixed berries, spice and perfumed oak. Textural entry, berryfruit, wild herbs and spices are framed by a delightfully lively palate with fine-grained tannins in support. Supple, nicely integrated already, there’s lightness and airiness to this; depth of flavour without weight, as cherry fruit and stony minerality grows. Drinkability yet potential too.

www.burncottage.com

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