Monte Christo gets new lease of life

Split Enz sang that "history never repeats", but I doubt Dunedin-born Dr Stanley Paris told himself that before he went to sleep. For the Paris family have bought new life to Central Otago’s oldest winery founded by Jean-Desiree Feraud in the 1860s, instilling it with a new vision for the future.

Not content with farming grapes and making wine, they have created a new cellar door in Clyde for tasting along with an outdoor bar and seating, accommodation and amenities blocks, children’s playground, petanque court, a food trailer, educational vineyard, olive grove, heritage orchard and more. An underground cave/ageing cellar doubling as a function and event centre should be open early next year, while an onsite winery is scheduled for the following year.

Blind Chicken Wine Competition

Late October saw the 2023 edition of the Blind Chicken Wine Competition take place.

An ever-eager bunch sat down to sip, spit and ponder a lineup of wines selected as per tradition by last year’s winner, Brendon Woodford.

Competition founder David Tasker showed his pedigree to win the trophy this year, one point ahead of Roger Swift. Yours truly and Julie Clark were a further point back in third-equal.

David gets the job of devising next year’s competition.


2022 Te Kano Waitaki chardonnay  

Price $55 
Rating Excellent 

Rather engaging nose with nutty and toffee 
elements, ripe tropical fruits and spices. Fills 
the mouth nicely, those ripe tropical fruits to the 
fore with a nutty undercurrent that frames the 
long close, while lively and vibrant acidity gives 
this a cooling feel. Combines richness with 
freshness. Grows with air, dances in the 
mouth, a refreshing piquant counterpoint on 
the finish. 


2021 Nockie’s Palate Waitaki Valley chardonnay  

Price $65 
Rating Very good to excellent  

The nose jumps out of the glass, ripely tropical 
fruit hinting at mango, minerally, stony notes, 
smoke, gaining straw and dried pineapple with 
aeration. There is a taut, upright quality to this 
with a chalky mouthfeel and chewy tannins 
assuaged by the richly ripe fruit. A fascinating 
contrast between super-ripe fruit, and a 
bittersweet, tangy, zesty close. 


2021 River-T Estate Waitaki Valley pinot noir  

Price $54 
Rating Excellent 

The nose evolves from smoke, to wild herbs, to 
sweet fruit (rhubarb and, perhaps, plum) to 
perfume. Expressive palate, plum and cherry, 
smoke, wisps of char, herbs, a savoury quality; 
later stony gravels and black tea joining in. A 
grainy, chewy feel to the tannins, this deftly 
hits the balance between ripe fruit and 
structure. Juicy, a delightfully long, 
lip-smacking close.