I’ve been through Bendigo on a few trips to Central Otago, but Tarras is a label that I’d heard about but never tasted – or knew anyone who had tasted it – a mythical wine! Happy Days then to have them turn up on my doorstep last week and finally see what they’re like.
Tarras Pinot Gris 2023 has that quartzy minerality that I tend to suggest runs through many white wines of the region. You see the little sparkles of quartz stones in the driveways across Bendigo, and I see a correlation between the mineral quality in the palate of (good) whites that I taste from around here. There is white peach, lychee, pear and white floral notes in the perfume. Tight and clean, with the fragrance carrying through into your mouth. Both weight and texture gather pace in the palate, encircled by a crisp acidity, and resulting in bright energy as well as depth. A long, drier finish. 92pts
Kuru Kuru Pinot Noir 2018 isn’t a label I’ve seen before – I asked if it was a one-off or will continue to be produced (because I quite enjoyed it’s crunchy, fruit-forward style). From that notoriously hot vintage of 2018, this is a stellar effort – light in colour and nimble on its feet. There is chewy tannin of course (it is Bendigo) but they’ve been tamed, and cut with a lively acidity. The wine has a nice aged quality, plenty of character and is in a rustic un-polished style. 90pts
Tarras Pinot Noir 2020 also has a pop of fruit – sour cherry, plum and blackberry fruits. A smudge of smoky oak and vanilla adds a winemaking veneer to the ripe fruit; but this has all that ‘Central Otago’ typicity that a customer hopes for when they see the label. A swell of glossy fruit and a burst of racy acidity make this a crowd-pleaser in a straightforward, generous style. 89pts
Tarras ‘The Canyon’ Pinot Noir 2019 presents a more complex expression – with an Old World-meets-New World feel to it. A nibble of reductivity, bags of plush fruit – raspberry, cherry, rosehip and blackcurrant, plus black tea, thyme and a smoky peat. An opulent palate still has plenty of structure and muscle – the tannin making its mark and it feels like it is just starting to stretch and unfurl into ‘what it could be’ in five, or ten, years time? A dry finish has plenty of length. 93pts