Wines of Central Otago, New Zealand

These tasting notes accompany our feature on Central Otago as part of our New Zealand 2020 series

White Wines

(2020) Lovely rich ripe and figgy fruit, leesiness and cream. Dry - bone dry - with an apple core directness and fine savoury length. Juicy and lemony in the finish, and spritely. No UK retail listing at time of review.
(2020) The difference in alcohol is striking between this and the Cox's Vineyard PG, and speak to the different styles. Rich, mealy, stone fruit aromas, the palate really dry again, surprisingly so, but much more grip here, less finesse arguably, but a fine, dry mouthful of wine. No UK retail listing at time of review.

Red Wines

(2020) From the Mount Pisa region, this is not currently distributed to the UK. Fine, pale peachy pink colour. Soft, gentle strawberry fruit, a touch of Pinot earthiness, the fruit soft and creamy on the palate, just a touch of RS to give a creamy element on the finish.
(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) The super heavy bottle certainly stands out. From Pisa, a nice pale colour, dry attractive nose where cocoa melds with a fine ashy mineral quality, refined and racy red fruits. A few years in the bottle for this compared to most here, and that certainly adds to the sense of completeness and lovely harmony, a wine with great balance and a long, pure finish. No UK retail stockists listed at time of review.
(2020) A very pale, inviting colour, fine and aromatic, some floral character to the ripe but subtle red fruits, hints of fudge and chocolate way in the background. The palate has juiciness to spare: a cherry ripe but tart fruit that is balanced and attractive, a nice dry, cherry pit acidity and smooth tannins complete and fine picture. From Bannockburn. No UK distribution at time of review.
(2020) Lovely pale colour, and an attractive, quite mineral nose, nutty, stony and truffle, then a more exotic spiciiness comes through, toffee apple and red fruit. In the mouth it is warming, tobacco-rich and very nicely fruited, the ripe cherry and raspberry supported by the creaminess and smoothness of the suede-like tannins. Stylish.
(2020) Lovely pale colour. Gentle earth, mushroom and spice and savoury umami character. A little bit of roasted/chestnut character.  The palate has fine, dry cranberry fruit, but the savoury character continues, nice length and a subtle, understated style. Gibbston fruit.
(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.
(2020) Youthful colour, nicely aromatic, a little briar and woodsmoke, a hint of truffle, and a hint of minerality too. Balanced and pure, there’s a little endive/liquorice note that adds a nicely bitter counterpoint to the sweet fruit, the tannins and acids balanced into a spicy fruit finish. Price and stockist for the previous vintage at time of review.
(2020) One of the palest wines here. From Pisa, it has an absolutely charming nose, filigree, translucent aromas, red berries and subtle spices, hints of briar and undergrowth. In the mouth a little vegetal note is actually very nice within the framework, such lovely fruit and nicely judged acidity and tannins. Some might think it lacks a little intensity, but it is so charming. No UK stockists listed at time of review.
(2020) A nice hint of mellowing softness to the colour, and a beautifully Burgundian nose, with truffle and briar, smokiness and autumnal soft fruits, just a touch of creamy oak to shore everything up. Sweet fruited and delicious, the coffee and cream of the palate is lovely with smooth, polished tannins, gentle acidity, and huge drinkability. Note this is 2014, with more tertiary development than the 2018s 2017s here.
(2020) Pale, fragrant, immediately classy and inviting, a little fresh mushroom, delicate spices, a delightful fruit character. In the mouth sweet, pure and extremely elegant. There’s a firm edge to this, the cherry and plum skin grip of the acidity and tannin against the sweet flesh of the red fruits, a quality, subtle barrel component giving spicy tobacco depth. Long.
(2020) Pale but quite a violet tinge to the colour. Vinous and smoky on the nose, vine fruits and a touch of red liquorice. The palate shows a solid, but supple, fresh style, taut and fairly noticeable acidity, the finish drying the mouth with tight tannins. It's slightly more solid style, done very nicely. Fruit from Alexandra. No UK retail stockist listed at time of review.
(2020) From Gibbston. Very pale colour, cherry briar and woodsmoke on the nose, subtle and charming. The palate has more briary character, a dry orange acidity and nice tannin structure to give a bit of seriousness. An elegant style this.
(2020) From Bendigo, medium pale, a little lifted, floral-edged note, attractive and bright, something a little red liquorice and root beer-like maybe. The palate has fine fruit and there’s a definite elegance, despite the high alcohol, maybe just a hint of that in the finish, with taut tannins and a juicy cherry acid profile. No UK stockist listed at time of review, though I was told this will be in Majestic.
(2020) A delightful wine, a 2016 so a little extra age on this bottle compared to most in this tasting, with the fruit coming from across Central otago, mainly Bendigo and Pisa. That little bit of extra maturity enhances earthy and mushroom notes, some herbal characters too, some coffee. Quite complex. In the mouth it is warming, spicy and ripe, the creamy and chocolate ripeness set against sweet, plush fruit, in a hedonistic but not overdone style. Price and stockist for the previous vintage at time of review.
(2020) I still recall and lovely afternoon spent with winemaker Paul Pujol about 12 or more years ago, sitting in his little ‘hut’ high in the vineyards of this old gold-mining hillside in Bendigo. This has a vibrant but pale colour, the wild yeast giving a subtle earth and burnished, chestnut note, the fruit dry and cranberry like, with a little tobacco spice. Lovely ripe stuff on the palate, but the sweetness of the fruit curtailed and controlled by tight, dry tannins and excellent acidity, the smoky and nutty oak adding some depth. Price and stockist for the previous vintage at time of review.
(2020) Pale, soft colour, A little touch of resinous quality to the oak in this young wine, but spices and some higher floral notes coming through as well as quality fruit. Lovely chocolate berry fruit on the palate, real ripeness and supple plushness, creamy textured, the polish of the tannins and ripeness of the acidity really delicious, in a long, very classy wine. No UK retail stockist listed at time of review.
(2020) Pale but saturated colour, very fine perfume with a hint of game and plenty of dry berry and cherry fruit. The palate has lots of savoury, dry tannin, a really gastronomic mouthwatering style, meaty and a touch herby, but savoury to the last. Price and stockist quoted is for a previous vintage at time of review.
(2020) Nutty notes over the red fruits, a subtle smokiness and hint of tobacco maybe. On the palate the fruit is ripe and sweet, sweet cherry and raspberry, a deepening note of bitter cocoa and suppleness to the tannins, again has that little Brazil nut smoothness and good balance, in a very crowd-pleasing but very good style.
(2020) Mostly from Alexandra fruit, this has a pale, soft colour, lots of coffee and cream here, mellow and  attractive with its truffle character. Juicy red fruits, a touch of red plum, and again that attractive oak nicely balanced in the finish with good acidity and supple tannins. Open and generous, for drinking now. No UK distribution at time of review.
(2020) This Bannockburn Pinot displays elegance and polish, a little touch of roasted chestnut character, but then more lifted, fragrant notes of kirsch and flowers adding lovely lightness. Sweet pulpy red fruits, cherry flesh and red plum, a stripe of good acidity and polished tannins complete a very fine picture. No UK retail stockists at time of review.
(2020) From Alexandra, a primary and youthful colour, a nice little aromatic lift of spicy smoke and violet. Lighter in style for sure, but elegant, arguably feels a touch dilute in this company, but very nice balance, elegance and a polished finish. No UK retail stockists listed at time of review.
(2020) Quite plush, with pulpy, inviting red fruits. There’s a gentle smokiness and hint of vanilla, all very attractive. In the mouth it has very tangy, grapefruit and Seville orange acidity that gives a lots of cleansing, freshness to the wine, though the firm tannins and the savoury fruit are very nicely balanced. Price and stockist quoted at time of review for the previous vintage.
(2020) From Bannockburn, youthful cerise colour. Quite smoky, a touch of reduction blows off. Nutty and supple fruit beneath, a little hint of woodsmoke and roasting embers but good, nutty and dry fruit comes through, tight tannins and acid structure, Somthing nicely herbal about this, giving edge and freshness to the fruit.

Back to our feature article on Central Otago

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *