A melange of pinot noirs

I've mentioned in an earlier column that the 2019 vintage Central pinot noirs are in the majority on the shelves, but there are a number of wineries that hold their wines back for later release and they feature here today.

Of course, there are some who are quick off the mark in the other direction, so I’ve slipped in a new 2020 release, which will be a ‘‘sighter’’ for many of you on the merits of this new vintage.

None of these are pitched at the cheap and cheerful end of the market so I was glad to see that they performed uniformly well.




2018 Calvert Central Otago pinot noir
Price RRP $75-$80
Rating Excellent to outstanding

The vineyard has a long history supplying fruit to a number of wineries, Sarah Burton making this first wine under its own label. Refined nose with mixed
berryfruit, raspberry
and delightful
florality, showing
oak spices with
aeration. The palate
is silky and elegant,
building savoury and
wild thyme notes as
it evolves, with a
tangy note giving
nice lift on the close.


2018 Maude Mt Maude Reserve pinot noir
Price RRP $65
Rating Very good to excellent

A more subtle nose, a hint of funk, wild
thyme, savoury, with growing florality.
Supple entry, ripe
and glace fruits,
sweet strawberry and
a touch of licorice
with the chewy
tannins adding
crunch to the texture.
Time allows the nose
to flesh out, the
florality and sweet
perfume to the fore,
with the palate
growing in depth,
spice and licorice
hanging on the finish.


2018 Black Quail Central Otago pinot noir
Price RRP $45
Rating Excellent

Smoke, lead pencil,
forest floor and
swelling florality, a
hint of balsamic
later. There’s a
tanginess to the
palate with rhubarb,
tilled earth and
chopped herbs,
showing some
signs of evolution,
yet a juicy, youthful
vibrancy driving
this. The tannic
backbone becomes
more evident with
chewy grip framing
the close. Grows in
interest and intrigue.

2017 Carrick Excelsior Central Otago pinot noir
Price RRP $95
Rating Excellent

Hints of development on the nose,
flitting between fruit,
herb and savoury
characters, a little
funk and meatiness
later. Silky, creamy
palate, deceptive
power behind this
adding warm leather
hints. Like
luxuriating in a
comfy sofa. Lovely
balance, the acidity
pops its hand up to
add freshness, with
some developed
notes again. Feels
ready to go now.


2018 Doctors Flat Bannockburn pinot noir
Price RRP $51.50
Rating Excellent

Lifted florality, savoury notes, wild
herbs, spices with
time. There’s silkiness
and lovely texture to
the front palate before
the powerful tannins
get into their work.
Tilled earth, savoury
notes, this balances a
dark, almost brooding
aspect with
brightness and
vibrancy, hints of
pencil lead and
balsamic flowing to a
long, savoury finish.
Still retains a youthful


2020 Rockburn Central Otago pinot noir
Price RRP $49.99
Rating Excellent to outstanding

Ripely fruited nose, perfume, a whisper
of balsamic, a yeasty element
reminiscent of
warm bread.
Ripe, rich,
raspberry fruit
leads, darker
sashaying into
the mix along
with spices and
oak seasoning,
savoury notes
too. The acid/
tannin balance is
neatly in tune with
the intensity and
weight of the
wine. Potential
yet already
drinking superbly.


Hi Mark, the review for the Black Quail 2018 Pinot Noir is such a brilliant reflection of how the wine reads right now in the glass. Wonderful.