The Skeggs family were among the first people to buy and plant vineyard land in Central Otago in the mid 1990s, so were lucky enough to acquire a superb north facing site in Bannockburn. Planted in 1996, this 50 hectare site has since provided the backbone of the Akarua wines. Due to the short growing season in Central Otago, site selection is one of the key elements in making a great wine, and Akarua have a site that is among the very best. Akarua was re-introduced after many years to Liberty Wines by Tony Jordan, who makes their sparkling wines. Tony built Domaine Chandon in Australia, and is one of the world's leading experts in sparkling wine production. He has been enamoured with the potential for Central Otago to make top quality fizz for quite a while, and is now doing so with Akarua.
All the Pinot Noir grapes were harvested from Akarua's 50 hectare site on Cairnmuir Road in Bannockburn, which lies at 270 metres above sea level. The soil here is young alluvial schist based sand/silt and sandy loams overlaying schist rock. The vines are 16 years old.
The grapes were hand picked and 90% were destemmed. Pre-fermentation maceration took place over five days, with temperatures peaking at 31°C. Punch downs took place twice daily and post fermentation maceration lasted six days. The wine spent 10 months in French barriques, 30% of which were new.
Deep bright ruby in colour. The nose displays intense black fruit flavours and the complexity that Bannockburn Pinot Noir is renowned for, with haunting aromatics of bramble fruits and spice. The palate is elegantly balanced with red fruits and finely textured tannins. A wine with great poise and longevity.
2016 started well with a gentle spring that encouraged even flowering and fruit set across the vineyards. Early summer was calm, without the winds that plagued 2015 and the vines were in great shape to deal with a hotter than average February. March saw a return to cooler conditions, a perfect finish to the season.
Ata Rangi is owned and run by Clive Paton and his wife Phyll, together with Clive's sister Alison and winemaker Helen Masters. Clive planted the bare, stony five hectare home paddock at the edge of Martinborough in 1980 and, in doing so, was one of a handful of people who pioneered grape growing in the area. Renowned for their Pinot Noir, which is consistently ranked as one of New Zealand's best, Ata Rangi also produces a range of white wines including Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Crimson is a wine which was inspired by a love of New Zealand's native 'Christmas Trees', the rata and pohutukawa trees. Sales of this wine support Project Crimson, a charitable conservation trust which plants and protects these trees. The Pinot Noir grapes for Crimson are produced from 10-20 year old Martinborough vines in Lismore, Waiora and Walnut Ridge blocks.
The grapes were hand picked and 100% destemmed, keeping as much whole berry fruit as possible. Pre-fermentation maceration lasted between two and six days. The must was inoculated with indigenous yeasts and hand plunged during fermentation that lasted two to three weeks. The wine was racked into barrel, of which 20% was new oak, where it remained for a further nine months after malolactic fermentation until bottling in February 2017.
The 2016 very much shows a turning point from vibrant youth to tension and complexity that more mature vines bring. Aromatically this wine offers layers of flavours: violets, dark cherry and plum, notes of bitter chocolate and tobacco with a hint of game. There is a fresh vibrancy on the palate of acid and smooth tannins pulling the wine through to a long, salivating finish.
The nose has plentiful aromas of black current, raspberry, spicy dark plums and suggestions of mushroom. Attractive dried herb notes are also in attendance Upfront the palate is red and dark fruits with lots of cherries and strawberries. A pleasantly textured wine with fine tannins and a medium weight. An easy drinking Pinot Noir with intensity and a very good spicy length
Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their January 2018 edition article: The Most Exciting Wines of 2017 (see blue link below).
Burn Cottage Vineyard Property is a twenty four hectare estate in the foothills of the Pisa range in Central Otago, New Zealand. The vineyard is owned by the Sauvage family which also owns an estate in the Pfalz region of Germany, as well as several fine wine importing and wholesaling companies in the United States.
"At Burn Cottage we believe in minimal intervention winemaking. Our task is to discover the genius of the site and of the individual vineyard blocks within and to allow the wines to reveal it. We believe in minimizing sulfur usage and avoiding all additives whenever possible. We avoid the use of cultured yeasts, bacteria, associated nutrient products and filters. We avoid racking whenever possible and do wine work according to lunar and celestial rhythms."
The property was purchased in 2002 by husband and wife Marquis and Dianne who brought in Ted Lemon as their winemaker in 2003. It had been grazed by sheep for as long as can currently be remembered. There were, and are, no immediate vineyard neighbours. The site was much coveted in the region for it is sheltered from both northerly and southerly winds by large hills and forms a beautiful, protected bowl, much like a modern amphitheatre. The wines produced here are all biodynamic.
The winemaking at Burn Cottage reflects biodynamic principles with low intervention. There is no addition of yeasts or bacteria for fermentations, with minimal sulphur use and no filtration before bottling. The Pinot Noir contains a skilful use of 24% whole-bunch fermented grapes to achieve a lifted fragrance. The wine was aged in French barrels, 22% of which were new oak.
The 2015 vintage has wonderfully complex aromas of fern leaf, rhubarb, potpourri and rose petal contrasted with more mineral notes of dust, graphite and gravel. The palate possesses a lovely sweet attack without ever becoming cloying and it melts into supple, fine tannins which need a few years to completely marry to the wine. Nevertheless, the overall impression is silky and sensual. Excellent acidity lends great vibrancy to the palate and the wine ends on a long, lingering finish. The rich, silky completeness shows the great potential of this property. This wine will reward patience and can be cellared for up to 8-10 years.
From a biodynamic vineyard in Martinborough, this Syrah is a ripe and smooth wine with black cherry and plum flavours and a touch of peppery spice and tar.
Dense ruby in colour this wine has fragrant aromas of cherries and ripe plums, integrated with floral notes and an underlying layer of toasty oak. On the palate it is medium bodied with flavours of ripe cherries, plums and spicy oak. Elegant tannins and well balanced acidity lead on to a long, richly flavoured finish.
Deep red in colour with a youthful rim, the Delta Pinot is perfumed and delicate on the nose, with aromas of ripe cherry, violet and a hint of spiced plums. On the palate it is silky at first, then gains concentration with good structure, juicy but focused fruit character and fine, tightly knit tannins.
The 2013 vintage was awarded 95 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their September 2016 edition review of New Zealand Pinot Noir (see blue link below). The 2013 vintage has now sold out across the UK. We realise that customers may want to draw their own conclusions regarding the applicability of that review to the 2014 vintage, so include fiches techniques for the two years.
An intensely fragrant Marlborough Pinot - full of juicy black cherries and the sweet scent of homemade strawberry jam, intermingled with more savoury suggestions and a hint of sarsaparilla. The firm but finely structured palate blends red and black fruits with chary, smoky oak and rich liquorice. This is a deliciously aromatic wine with concentrated varietal character.
A vibrant ruby red colour. Inviting and layered on the nose, with aromas of red berry fruits, dark cherries with a hint of well-integrated oak. Flavours of fresh strawberry and cherry burst in the mouth, which is given depth by the nuances of sweet, smoky oak. The fine structure of this wine has good firm tannins giving it length and weight.
Awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their September 2016 edition review of New Zealand Pinot Noir (see blue link below).
The Mansion House bay range of wines that are produced by the well known wine company Whitehaven are named after Mansion House Bay, the sheltered cove on Kawau Island in the Hauraki Gulf near Auckland. This is where Governor Sir George Grey once resided and entertained in stately splendour (1852-1888) in his rambling heritage-listed home, known curiously as Mansion House.
Bright plum and cherry fruit flavours,cedar and oak spice together with underlining earthy and game complexities on the nose. A medium bodied wine with a svelte,velvety texture, supporting dark berry fruit flavours and a soft, fine finish. This wine goes particularly well with spicy Chinese food as well as more traditional duck and pork dishes.