Taking one’s tastebuds on a tour of Central Otago

One of my regular tasting colleagues was in Central Otago recently and, as one does, managed to fit in a few pleasurable cellar door visits.

It reminded me that it has been simply ages since I’ve been up there.

Sadly, circumstances and commitments precluded me from getting up for any picking at harvest and continue to keep me grounded in Dunedin, but at least I can visit the region vicariously, by glass.

For now, that will have to do.

2019 Domain Road Central Otago pinot noir 

Price: $40
Rating: Excellent to outstanding 

Delightful perfume melding
tilled earth, savoury notes,
spices, ripe fruits and a stony/
minerally quality. Plush on
entry before the deceptively
powerful tannins leave you
salivating. Some wild herb/
dried herbs kick in before it
flows to a long, dry finish
highlighting a black tea like
bittersweet note. A
powerful, beautifully
poised wine, that is all
about the future.


2013 Maude Kids Central Otago pinot noir

Price: $45
Rating: Excellent to outstanding

Dusty hints, ripe fruits, leafy/
herb nuances, bonfire
embers. A cool wellspring
with its bright acidity, the ripe
fruits flooding the mouth. A
tug of war in the mouth at
first between the fruit and
the tannins before the fruit
swells and the tannins
subsume. This must have
been a bruiser in its youth
and still feels vibrant,
belying its age. Grows into
something rather lovely.


2019 Maude Mohawk Hill Central Otago pinot noir

Price: $45
Rating: Very good to excellent 

Fresh perfume, rhubarb,
strawberry, oak char, mixed
berries with aeration. The fruit
intensity is a surprise, a
basket of summer berries,
oak spices and a touch of
leaf/wild herb. Creaminess
in the mouth, good
structure in support
flowing to a medium-
length close. With air the
tannins become more
puckering and it shows its
youth more. Potential for
the future.


2018 Brass Knocker Central Otago pinot noir 

Price: $21.99
Rating: Very good 

Subtle nose with berry
compote, nettle, herbs and
spice, a little mushroom with
time. A plushness and
density that belies its pale
hue, with mixed fruits,
spices and savoury notes.
A lick of tannin adds to the
structure before this
closes with grippy
firmness. Hard to read the
label, but reasonable value
at this price point.


2018 Burn Cottage Sauvage Vineyard Bannockburn pinot noir

Price: $70
Rating: Excellent to outstanding

Volume to the nose, florality,
lead pencil, stony minerality,
savoury, the fruit neatly in
support. Candied and darker
fruits merge with black tea
and spices, underpinned
by the savoury qualities.
Powerful structure,
almost brooding, the
tannins a corset around
the wine, with the
balanced acidity keeping
this fresh and lively.
Lovely flow, potential


2018 Burn Cottage Burn Cottage Vineyard pinot noir

Price: $70
Rating: Excellent to  outstanding

Beguiling nose leads with
bonfire smoke, tilled earth,
chopped herb, savoury
notes: perfume and fruit
supporting. Rounded, the
flavours wash over you,
until you notice the juicy,
sweet fruits, black olive
and spices. Lovely
silkiness an essay in
power without weight
with deceptive tannic
backbone. The flavours
grow, drinkability and
potential. Super stuff.


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