(2022) Around 65% Able clone in this vintage, more than in other years, as one block - Block F - suffered in the cool summer and did not produce the quality of fruit required. Aromatic like the A2, more cinammon and clove notes here perhaps, but a similar bowl of exotic spices, flowers and bold and succulent red fruits. There is maybe an extra layer of depth here - not exactly depth but a dark compote character, creamy and almost like a spiced plum pudding. Once again, there is a base of espresso and that hessian quality that is savoury. Very firm fruit on the palate, edged by liquorice and a depth of dark plum skins giving grip that the charming A2 doesn't quite possess. This is a structured Pinot, built for ageing I'd say, with a more rugged overall character, but the balance of taut tannins, acid and that brooding depth of fruit all in place. Price quoted below is per bottle equivalent when buying a case of 6 or 12.
(2022) Whole bunches were upped from 25% to 35% for this vintage, with around 7% or 8% new oak. Beautiful pale and transluscent garnet to crimson in colour, and what a fantastically aromatic wine this is, pomegranate and a whole pot-pourri of spices and wild flowers, touches of rhubarb and beetroot earthiness. A core of succulent red fruit comes through, while the oak adds just a little coffee edge. The palate has weight and succulence to spare, a stripe of lean tannin and dry, pithy grapefruit acidity give this energy and length. Lots of spice, lots of espresso flitting around the edges, a hessian dryness to finish in a delicious and fascinating Pinot with a truly intriguing perfume, possibly enhanced by those whole bunches in the ferment. Price and stockist is for the previous vintage at time of review.
(2021) From a producer of Central Otago dedicated to Pinot Noir, this is rather beautiful: delicate in colour and fragrance, there's so much floral, raspberry and redcurrant elegance, a fine orange and bright, tart cherry skin tang of acidity shimmering on the palate against some subtle cream and exotic, smoky spice. Imported by Mentzendorff & Co., it's another refined and delightful Pinot from the schist soils of Akitu's higher altitude vineyards.
(2021) From a vineyard in Lowburn, originally the Lowburn Ferry estate which Smith & Sheth have also purchased. Vineyards planted over the past 20 years, this is 10% whole bunch pressed, fermented in a combination of oak and stainless steel and matured in barrel for 10 months (around 25% new oak). Not a densely-coloured wine, but with a darker hue aromatically than the North Canterbury Pinot, plum and chocolate, but very elegantly done again, red liquorice and a touch of vanilla suggest fruit sweetness. More red fruit-driven on the palate, and again a keen axis of souring acid and tannin to give it an edge, the sweet mid-palate fruit becomes quite grippy and earthy in the finish.
(2021) A blend of fruit from Gibbston Valley and Lowburn, this is a darker, more dense crimson with a fairly subdued nose, again a little meatiness, charriness and deep-set fruit, hints of more lifted fruit and florals way in the background, but they are there. On teh palate really juicy and vibrant fruit, a real twist of endive bittersweetness that sits very nicely against the fleshy cherry and red plum fruit. Tannins are fine, that acid is keen and elongates the finish very nicely. Well balanced and long.
(2020) The family resemblance to the big brother A1 is umissable here, that same wild and delightful perfume running the gamut from pot-pourri spice to summer berries to hints of truffle. In the mouth deliciously sweet and giving; a generous wine with ripe and supple red fruits filling the mid-palate, and the tannins a little softer and more creamy than the A1 at this stage, absolutely pin-sharp acidity though, and those subtle, gentle spices and vanilla rounding the finish. Drink now while waiting for the A1. It's irresistable. No retail stockists listed at time of review, so price and stockist is for the previous vintage.
(2020) Fabulously perfumed, real complexity and aromatic layering here, the core of sweet and pulpy red fruits, plenty of clove and cardomom spice, vanilla, those sweet truffle and beetrooty notes too in a very arresting picture. Lovely juiciness and firmness on the palate, with a stripe of tannin and a dry, tangy olive and cherry bite to the acidity, but the fruit stays sweet through the mid-palate, the texture builds as the chalkiness of the tannins smooth the finish, the fruit and acid precision and brightness is excellent. A beautiful wine, which PJ expects to have at least 10 years of cellaring potential.
(2020) Pale and attractive, red berries and a touch of candy apple, quite fragrant with rose petal notes and red fruits. Fragrant Sandalwood spices too; quality oak. Packed with sweet, fleshy ripe fruit, what a lovely wine with smooth and ripe character and perfect creamy texture. Balanced and fine.
(2020) From Wanaka, this has a pale but quite dense colour. There’s a definite herbal edge to this, quite meaty and earthy, the fruit more in the background. Lovely palate, the balance shows through, with fine, dry cranberry and red currant fruit, lovely elegant tannins and a freshening acidity. Beautifully done. Various stockists have this, mostly in-bond.
(2020) From Bannockburn. Very aromatic, very fine, floral and perfumed, instantly appealing. On the palate plenty of savoury umami, some vanilla to add a roundness and the savoury fruit character delightful. Balanced and long, a subtle European style, and a very nice wine. Price and stockist for a previous vintage at time of review.