Sizing up Otago's 2017 pinot noirs

I've recently had the opportunity to taste my way through a swathe of 2017 pinot noirs from Otago.

The 2017s are the dominant vintage in the market at the moment, though probably won't be around for too long as many wineries had significantly lower yields in 2017, while 2018's, from that hot "solar'' vintage, are already trickling on to the shelves, offering a fascinating comparison with the cooler 2017 vintage.

  • Central Otago winery Rockburn won trophies at the International Cool Climate Wine Show (ICCWS) in Australia over the weekend for its 2016 pinot noir, which was named "Best International Wine (imported)'' and "Best New Zealand Wine''

 

2017 Quartz Reef
Bendigo Single Vineyard
Pinot Noir

Price: $49
Rating: Excellent

Bright and fresh nose,subtlety, a sweet accent to the perfume, underlyingsavoury, raspberry andspice notes, adding thyme and rosemary with time. Sweeter fruit initially inthe red fruit/raspberryspectrum with a fine tannic backbone, this swells in the glass, developing a fleshiness and delightful flow through the palate. Nice balance here and excellent potential.

www.quartzreef.co.nz

 

 

2017 Rockburn
Central Otago
Pinot Noir

Price: $45
Rating: Excellent to outstanding

Tilled earth, dark fruits, savoury elements and rhubarb. Powerful fruit leads the palate with leadpencil and stoney/schisty notes in support, backed by a fine tannic backbone and a little fruit pithy chewiness. The complexity, fruit intensity and structure bodes well for the future, yet this is alsodelightful now.

www.rockburn.co.nz

 

 

2017 Mount Edward
Central Otago
Pinot Noir

Price: $49
Rating: Very good to excellent

Powerful, fresh nose, savoury, brambly wild herb notes with fresh lift; some oak spice with time. Dark fruits, licorice, spice, a youthfully sappy quality. The palate shows a vibrantly brash, youthful character at first, adding red fruits into the mix. Aeration sees this fatten up nicely, suggesting that a little time will be a good friend here.

www.aronuiwines.co.nz

 

 

2017 Mondillo
Central Otago
Pinot Noir

Price: $45 (not yet released)
Rating: Excellent

Intense, sweetly-fruited nose with liqueur fruits, berry compote and spice. Dark cherry and dark fruits are a foil for the charry oak, while aeration increases the complexity with savoury, earth and wild herb notes adding interest. A bold, ripe and powerful style with an almost southern Rhone perfume that will be even more sumptuous on release.

www.mondillo.com

 

 

2017 Coal Pit Tiwha
Central Otago
Pinot Noir

Price: $57
Rating: Very good

A wild & funky element leads with red fruits, herbal notes and leather sweeping in. Noticeably sweetly fruited, providing some confectionery notes, yet the palate has a cooler,juicy crunchy feel, playing a little in the sweet and sour spectrum. The palate follows the nose, adding earthy touches before flowing to a bright, lifted, red-fruited finish. Upfront appeal.

www.coalpitwine.com

 

 

2017 Maude
East Meets West Reserve
Pinot Noir

Price: $45
Rating: Excellent

The nose keeps shifting; at times blueberry, raspberry, florality, savoury notes, char and bramble. At first, youthfully chewy and powerfully tannic with whole bunch sappy, stalky notes that challenge you.  This wine marches to the beat of its own drum, with time
unfurling suppleness and glimpses of the complexity and texture that lie waiting. It should be a fascinating journey.

www.maudewines.com

 

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