Wine industry ageing nicely

I recently spent time pondering the age of our Central Otago wine industry and its ever-growing maturity — in vine age, the number of vintages harvested and in the accrual of knowledge in fine-tuning viticulture to achieve the very best fruit.

Felton Road, Rockburn and Chard Farm have all had vines in the ground for more than a quarter of a century, while Maude, the relative newcomer, has its roots in the considerably older Mt Maude vineyard.

How far they have all come in the quality of wines they continue to produce!

2019 Felton Road Bannockburn pinot noir

Price: $68
Rating: Excellent to outstanding

Volume evident on the nose.
Dark cherry and spice,
shifting to red fruits, dusty
notes later. Power yet purity.
Silkiness on entry before the
tannins kick in, matched by
the swelling fruit,
spiciness and savoury
qualities with lovely flow
through the mouth.
There’s sumptuousness
to this, offering superb
drinkability, yet clear
potential too.

2019 Rockburn The Art pinot noir

Price: $96
Rating: Excellent

Savoury, a medicinal note
shifting quickly to berry
compote/ripe fruits. Dusty, a
schisty/slatey character, the
nose changing all the time.
Similar complexity on the
palate with lots of
interesting elements that
don’t yet feel quite
cohesive. A wisp of milk
chocolate frames the
chewy finish as the
deceptively powerful
tannins grow. A gangly
youth, all about future

2019 Maude Poison Creek Central Otago pinot noir

Price: $45
Rating: Excellent to

Attractively subtle perfume
adding oak spices, fruit
sweetness and savoury
touches. Vibrancy and zest
to the palate, nicely
structured, growing and
swelling to display real
elegance and delightful
mouth-feel as the
savoury qualities grow
with the fruit. Superb
balance, the flavours
hanging on the long

2019 Felton Road Calvert Central Otago pinot noir

Price: $80.50
Rating: Excellent

Subtle but appealing florality,
earth, forest floor, the ripe
fruit sashaying in the wings.
There’s a brashness to this
initially, youthfully gangly if
you will, but time and air
allows the fruit to take the
lead role, with savoury
and earthy notes the
understudy. As the nose
opens up, this develops
lovely texture, showing
drinkability, freshness
and vivacity, yet potential

2019 Chard Farm Mata-Au Central Otago pinot noir

Price: $47
Rating: Very good to

Fascinating nose, violetty
florals, funky hints, a little
struck match and bonfire
smoke. Refreshingly tangy
palate, juicy, bright, a
cool feel to this, quite a
depth of fruit and
structural backbone to
match. Its light colour
belies the weight, with a
lip-smacking feel to the
long, fruit-filled finish.
Shows its youthfulness
with aeration.

2019 Chard Farm Finla Mor Central Otago pinot noir

Price: $42
Rating: Excellent

Intriguing nose, a wisp of
funk and sweet ’n’ sour
initially, shifting to steely/
minerally coolness. That
coolness continues on the
palate backed by a raft of
red fruits and a chewy,
grainy mouth-feel. Earth,
lead pencil and savoury
notes build, yet this
remains bright and
youthful with mouth-
puckering tannins. A
slow burner that really
grows on me.

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