This label is based in the Waikato, making wines by Lake Karapiro – but has made its reputation with a wine from Central Otago. The 2014 vintage of this wine took out the World’s best Pinot Noir Trophy at the prestigious London International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC) in 2018. I’m trying the 2015, 2016 and 2019 versions on for size.
Starting with the 2016 – It is made with fruit from a vineyard in the Gibbston Valley, and has that beautiful Gibbston accent of cherry, thyme and roasted spices. A deep purple burgundy in the glass, with those aromatics, plus raspberry, rose petal and plum. A fairly serious structure – there’s plenty of oak influence, plus some chewy, supple tannins. Acidity is brisk and gives plenty of direction as the wine skips on to deeper mulberry, mocha and tapenade notes. Lovely movement in the palate – agile and balletic, revealing more layers as it flows through its paces. Finish is long and dry. Excellent stuff. 94pts
The 2015 comes from Central as well, but this one from Bannockburn. Much of the winemaking and structures of the wine match the 2016 – the house style is there – rich, balanced and silken. Packing a bit more spice and savouriness than the Gibbston – cranberry, blueberry muffin and rosehips. A little drier as well, with an incense, woodiness to the finish. 93pts
Finally, the more youthful 2019. Made with fruit from both Gibbston and Bannockburn sites. Coltish and bursting with dark cherry, damson, boysenberry and toasted spice, it is one of those classic Central Otago Pinots, where the sum of the two sub-regions produces a balance that is hard to explain, unless you’ve tried the two versions separately (as I just have) – it is just harmonic and balanced. Lithe, with chalky tannin, succulent acidity, some minerality and a pop of fruit that is irresitable. A spicy, silky finish. 94pts