(2021) From Central Otago, a little more subdued than the Escarpment version, a little more honeyed, still good spiciness. Again there is a significant level of residual sugar here, the mouth-coating texture of the wine making it quite heady, extremely luscious and off-dry. A full-blown Alsace style this (winemaker Paul Pujol once worked there), but gorgous acidity sears through giving it great balance too. Delightful.
(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) Fruit was run over a sorting table straight to the tank, without crushing, and fermentation commenced on its own yeast. Approximately 50% of this wine was aged in oak. Medium-pale garnet colour, not giving a lot on the nose, some plummy fruit comes through, a little briar, quite earthy, maybe just a hint of rose perfume. On the palate quite full, dark-fruited and a touch meaty, the tannin and acid profile here combine to give this a fresh edge, but sweet fruit and fleshy density persist. Medium 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) Pale pink in colour, this is fine and aromatic, quite a punchy red fruit nose, and yet there is a light earthiness and yeastiness, something a little ozoney too, In the mouth crisp and crunchy, a bracing green apple twang of acidity against cool, tart raspberry and peach or apricot skins, that little hint of phenolics, and a long, very focused finish. Winemaker PJ Charteris was at pains to say he was not going for a 'pink' wine, more a 'light bronze'. I am guessing that's partly to do with the price: a £30+ New Zealand rosé would require a huge leap of faith from the purchaser. Fact is, athough an excellent wine, that price does seem steep compared to the A1, or indeed, A2.
(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) From the prime Bannockburn region of Central Otago, Valli again uses a variety of Pinot clones in its mix, this wine having loads of tobacco and spices on the nose, something like charcuterie, but a fine dark fruit edged with bay leaf, curry leaf and olive, helped by being whole-bunch fermented. Imported by New Generation Wines.
(2020) Central Otago has emerged as New Zealand's premier Pinot Noir region, with high quality producers and suitably premium pricing. Having toured there just before lockdown I still can't give clues to the actual producer of this wine (Outlook Bay is a Lidl brand, not a specific producer) but at £9.99 it's as cheap as Otago Pinot gets. Nicely pale and transluscent in colour, there's a huge perfume of truffle and beetroot, all those vegetal Pinot aromatics, smokiness and a hint of something floral or like wild herbs. In the mouth sweet and juicy fruit, with a nicely rustic nip of tannin and plenty of spiciness, sweet mid-palate fruit giving way to a peppery, spicy clove finish. The 14.5% alcohol adds a touch of heat, but it's a nice and authentic Otago Pinot.