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Pinot Noir

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Akarua Pinot Noir 2016 (1 x 75cl)

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. 

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.

£26.20

Akarua RUA Pinot Noir 2017 (1x75cl)

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. 

All fruit was sourced from the Akarua Estate vineyard in Central Otago. The vines are 16 years old and grow at 270 metres above sea level with a north-western aspect. Soils are young alluvial, schist based sandy/silt and sandy loams overlaying schist rock.

The grapes for the Rua were cold soaked for five days before fermentation commenced, and were punched down twice daily and given another six days on the skins post fermentation to provide the wine with the tannic backbone it requires. The wine then spent seven months ageing in 100% French oak barrique, of which 10% was new. The result is a remarkably attractive - and great value - Pinot Noir from Central Otago.

Bright cherry red in the glass. Lifted cherry aromas with floral and violet notes. On the palate, this well-defined Central Otago Pinot Noir exhibits juicy red fruits. Light, soft tannins complement the savoury highlights, finishing long and bright.

£17.55

Amisfield Pinot Noir 2015 (1x 75cl)

Awarded a Gold Medal and 95 points at the 2018 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).

For other 2018 DWWA winners, click here.

Set against the backdrop of the majestic Pisa mountain range, Amisfield is one of the largest single estate vineyard in Central Otago. Spurred on by fond memories of childhood holidays in Central Otago, Amisfield founder John Darby was determined to master this breathtaking yet often unforgiving high country, convinced that this dramatic landscape presented the perfect environment for cool-climate viticulture. They are currently in the process of conversion to organic certification, implementing a host of advanced initiatives in organic wine production. Their simple philosophy is to nurture nature at every step and a hands-off approach means that the process takes time, with their wines yielding exceptional purity, intensity and vibrancy.

For a full description of this wine, we would direct you to the data sheet/fiche technique from Amisfield themselves (click blue link below)

Amisfield Pinot Noir 2015 - fiche technique

£26.50

Ata Rangi Crimson Pinot Noir 2016 (1x75cl)

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.

£21.90

Blank Canvas Marlborough Pinot Noir 2015 (1x75cl)

Awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their January 2019 edition article: The Most Exciting Wines of 2018 (see blue link below)

Blank Canvas Marlborough Pinot Noir 2015 - January 2019 Decanter review

"What a fabulous showing for all of the wines in the Blank Canvas range I must say. From a single vineyard in the Waihopai Valley of Marlborough, a large proportion of this was fermented as whole bunches of grapes, with wild yeasts, before ageing in French oak barriques. What an aromatic Pinot Noir, floral and herbal, bright cherry melts into a subtle earthy and nutty note, then the wine powers onto the palate: it as its seductive side for sure, with juicy, dense fruit, but there is light and air in this picture too, an edge to the firm tannins and the acidity, spice and subtle truffle character, and then a pristine finish almost like a white wine with its cool focus and length. Seriously good Pinot Noir this, multi-faceted and delicious". 94 pointsTom Cannavan's wine-pages.com - see here for a fuller review from Tom of Blank Canvas's work

Matt Thomson is a busy winemaker. He has worked over forty vintages in numerous wine regions around the world and has worked with David Gleave MW since 1994. He is involved with many wines, primarily as a consultant. “Now is the time to launch my own wines,” he says. “Blank Canvas represents my story as a winemaker. It is an endeavour that is entirely my own expression of winemaking, is from my own funding, and is exclusively my risk.” The ‘Blank Canvas’ is the vineyard and the variety, the winery the brush and palette (no pun intended) at the winemaker’s disposal, all the while defined by the scientific grounding Matt laid at university and has built upon over the past 23 years. His aim is to break some rules with the Blank Canvas wines, but in order to break the rules, he feels, you need to know them. This is what sets the Blank Canvas wines apart.

This Pinot Noir is sourced from a single vineyard that Matt oversaw the planting of in 2001. It is situated in the old clay soils of the Waihopai Valley in Marlborough. The soil naturally gives low yields, but they also crop thinned during the ripening of the fruit. As a result the berries were small and concentrated with flavour. It is made exclusively from Clone 115, a Dijon clone which is selected for its tannins and impressive savoury fruit characters.

The 2015 vintage in Marlborough was one of the earliest and driest in recent years, with rainfall being just 40% of the long-term average while growing degree days were 10% more. For Pinot Noir, this resulted in lower yields, smaller bunch weights and more concentrated, impressive fruit.

The handpicked bunches were cold-soaked for five days before undergoing wild fermentation. Lots of hand-plunging took place and a large proportion of whole bunch fermentation (50%) made this particularly challenging. Coupled with a savoury low-toast oak regime of new and seasoned oak, and barrel maturation of 10 months, the winemaking has given this Pinot Noir finesse, elegance and power.

Aromas of bright raspberry, red cherry and delicate violet intertwine with seductive savoury characters. It possesses the silky Pinot Noir texture that is so often strived for, and has a structure that is likened to the Old World with big but elegant tannins set amongst a balanced backbone of acidity. It will become more complex with cellaring, with years of evolution ahead of it.

£23.60

Carrick Bannockburn Pinot Noir 2015 (1x 75cl)

Awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their November 2018 regional profile of NZ's Central Otago  (see blue link below).

Carrick Bannockburn Pinot Noir 2015 - Nov 2018 Decanter review

Carrick has always been about place. The name derives from the gold mining town and the mountain range to which Carrick looks. The wines are of Central Otago and its subregion, Bannockburn. Carrick's own vineyards are nestled around the winery and every effort is made to allow the wines to express their place and their providence. 

Vibrant fruit with fragrant aromatics are the hallmarks of this wine. The vintage was a little light with red fruits to the fore. The wine shows texture and a lingering finish.

To see the winemaker's notes for this wine please click on the blue link below.

Carrick Bannockburn Pinot Noir 2015 - fiche technique

£28.40

Chateau de Santenay Mercurey 1er Cru Les Puillets 2015 (1x 75cl)

The 2014 vintage was awarded 95 points and a Platinum Best In Category (Red Cote de Beaune over £15) at the 2016 Decanter World Wine Awards (www.decanter.com): see their August 2016 DWWA supplement (see blue link below).

Chateau de Santenay Les Puilllets 1er Cru 2014 - August 2016 Decanter review

This magnificent property, which dates back to the 9th century, is also known as Château Philippe le Hardi, as it was once owned by the first Duc of Burgundy. Philippe le Hardi is famous as the person who banned the cultivation of Gamay in the Côte d'Or, saying in his edict of 1395 that only Pinot Noir could be used in the production of red wines from the already fabled slopes. Despite its long history, the property had fallen on hard times until it was taken over by the French bank Crédit Agricole in recent years. They have invested heavily, bringing in a new team to support the general manager, Gérard Fagnoni, and putting the emphasis on quality. The property has 98 hectares of vineyard, 72 of which are in Mercurey. These are remarkably well made and good value wines from the Côte d'Or and Côte Chalonnaise.

The eight hectare 'Les Puillets' vineyard is located on the south-south west facing hillslide slopes in the appellation of Mercurey. The average age of the vines is 30 years. The soils here are rich in clay, but the limestone is still very present as well as some areas of marl. These characteristics give the red wines of Mercurey power and a beautiful structure.

Most of the fruit from their vineyards was hand harvested. On arrival at the winery, the grapes were cold soaked for seven days at 8°C to extract colour and flavour from the skins. Temperature-controlled fermentation lasted 12 to 14 days with daily pumping over, finishing with a rack and return, or 'délestage', to impart the grainy tannins that give the wines a lovely structure and length. The wine was then aged in oak barrels for 13 months, of which 20% were new, before bottling.

A medium colour. The nose is focused on woody notes and kirsch. Full and rich, the palate shows red cherry and redcurrant flavours with mouthwatering freshness and pleasant tannins on the finish. Though drinking well now, it will reward some time in the cellar.

£24.15

Chateau de Santenay Mercurey Rouge (Vielles Vignes) 2016 (1x75cl)

Awarded 94 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their November 2018 edition tasting of Best Buy Red Burgundy (see blue link below).

Chateau De Santenay Mercurey Rouge (Vielles Vignes) 2016 - Nov 2018 Decanter review

This magnificent property, which dates back to the 9th century, is also known as Château Philippe le Hardi, as it was once owned by the first Duc of Burgundy. Philippe le Hardi is famous as the person who banned the cultivation of Gamay in the Côte d'Or, saying in his edict of 1395 that only Pinot Noir could be used in the production of red wines from the already fabled slopes. Despite its long history, the property had fallen on hard times until it was taken over by the French bank Crédit Agricole in recent years. They have invested heavily, bringing in a new team to support the general manager, Gérard Fagnoni, and putting the emphasis on quality. The property has 98 hectares of vineyard, 72 of which are in Mercurey. These are remarkably well made and good value wines from the Côte d'Or and Côte Chalonnaise.

The fruit for the Mercurey Rouge comes from Chateau de Santenay's 72 hectares of vines planted across the Mercurey appellation. The soils are rich in clay, but the limestone is still very present as well as some areas of marl. These characteristics give the red wines of Mercurey finesse and structure.

What had promised to be a very generous vintage, turned out to be an extremely difficult year for Burgundy, with terrible bouts of hail, frost and mildew. Yields were very low due to the complicated weather patterns throughout the year. The harvest ended on a high note with a warm, dry and sunny July through to October. This spell of consistently good weather salvaged the vintage.

Upon arrival at the winery, the grapes were cold soaked for seven days at 8°C to extract colour and flavour from the skins. Temperature-controlled fermentation lasted 12 to 14 days with daily pumping over, finishing with a rack and return, or 'délestage', to impart the grainy tannins that give the wines a lovely structure and length. The wine was then aged in oak barrels for 13 months, of which 20% were new.

This wine is dark ruby in colour, it is bright and lifted with excellent concentration. the nose is elegant with aromas of ripe red fruit including cherries, and a touch of oak. The palate is full with great structure and an attractive chewy and grainy character. The finish is long and fresh.

** See also Chateau de Santenay's excellent Premier Cru Mercurey - the 2014 vintage was rated as a DWWA 2017 Best in Category Wine **

£22.50

Costa & Pampa Pinot Noir, Trapiche 2016 (1x75cl)

The grapes are harvested by hand in the early hours of the morning. The fruit is carefully selected from vines that produce highly-concentrated grapes. The juice is cold macerated for 72 hours then fermented in stainless steel tanks and aged for 7 months in French oak barrels. The wine is clarified, stabilised & filtered before being bottled.

100% Pinot Noir.

The vineyards for this wine are in Chapadmalal, Buenos Aires, surrounded by gentle hills and incredible fields that end in the South Atlantic. The winery location is 6 kilometers from the sea, where the particular climate of the coast makes this land a unique place for the development of wines with marked oceanic influence.

Aromas of red fruits such as raspberries and cherries, with soft spicy notes. On the palate, this wine is gentle and round, with a long length. It is very well balanced showing harmony between acidity, sweetness and fruit.

£13.55

Craggy Range Martinborough Pinot Noir 2016 (1 x 75cl)

Craggy Range produces a collection of iconic wines from multiple regions in New Zealand. Owner Terry Peabody and his family pursued the single vineyard approach to winemaking, planting on green fields and bare land ensuring a focus on quality from the very beginning. New Zealand, with its diversity of soils types offered the perfect location to plant the vines. From the stony, warm soils of the Gimblett Gravels in Hawke's Bay to the volcanic, clay soils of Te Muna Road in Martinborough these exceptional vineyards produce wines with amazing aromatics, purity and complexity.

of French oak cuves and open top stainless steel tanks. The wine is then left to mature in French oak barriques (7% are new) for 9 months.

Gentle handling with whole-bunch fermentation and delicate French oak Barrique treatment ensures a floral wine which embodies the distinctive intense fruit characters of the region. An elegant, silky texture with a delicately balanced tannin structure and a texturally dry finish.

This wine is bright red with a vibrant crimson hue. Enticing pure fruit aromas of red cherry and raspberry meld with rose and damp earth. Supple and fleshy across the palate with a youthful fruit profile and lovely fine tannins creating an elegant dry finish. Beautifully varietal.

£20.20

Craggy Range Te Muna Road Pinot Noir 2014 (1 x 75cl)

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). 

Craggy Te Muna PN 2014 - Sept 2016 Decanter review

The grapes for this wine are picked by hand.  The wine is fermented in a combination of stainless steel vats and oak, then is matured for 10 months prior to bottling.

Matt Stafford, the chief winemaker at Craggy range describes the Te Muna Road Vineyard Pinot Noir as follows:  "A dark and brooding Pinot Noir, grown at our secret place in Martinborough, with a wonderful depth and beauty."

The wine has a bright red cherry colour with a crimson hue. Seductive aromas of dark cherry, dried rose petals, thyme and damp earth. Beautifully varietal, elegant and long on the palate. Medium weight red fruit richness and fine-grained tannins are drawn out long across the palate by acidity to create a finish which is savoury and dry.

This wine matches perfectly with duck dishes.  It can be cellared for 5-7 years from vintage but only if you can resist opening it before then!

£24.79

Darenberg Feral Fox Pinot Noir 2016 (1x 75cl)

Family owned d’Arenberg is located in the breath-taking McLaren Vale in South Australia and produces an enviable range of wines. From humble beginnings, these wines quickly gained cult status amongst imbibers and judges alike – it’s a deft combination of winemaking tradition and vinous innovation. A tall order for some, but one that d’Arenberg takes in their stride as they continue to push the boundaries and get under the skin of each individual vineyard in order to get the best from the vines. This is backed up by an engaging consumer-friendly approach to the ‘deadly serious fun’ of wine.

D'arenberg's own tasting notes for this wine are excellent, so please click the blue link below to see all this wine's details.

d'Arenberg Feral Fox Pinot Noir 2016 - Fiche Technique

£15.80

Dawson & James Pinot Noir 2014 (1x 75cl)

Dawson & James is the project of Peter Dawson and Tim James, who met in 1976 when they were both working at Hardy & Sons, and where they continued to work alongside each other for 20 years. They have since moved on to different projects, but have collaborated again to produce the Dawson & James wines in Tasmania. Their shared passion for Australian art, farming, camping and gastronomy, as well as their dedication to fine Australian wine, have combined in this exciting project, and the wines are the proof of their winemaking wisdom and enthusiasm. The wines come from the Meadowbank Vineyard, which is located around 60 kilometres north-west of Hobart, an area characterised by rugged topography and the fast flowing, pristine waters of the Derwent river.

The Meadowbank vineyard is located in the upper Derwent Valley in southern Tasmania and was planted in 1989. The site is 70 metres above the river level and the north-easterly aspect gives it optimal sunlight exposure for grape ripening. The soil is a combination of brown sandy loams over structured clays and sandstone rock. It has a devigorating nature, helping the balanced growth and structure of the vines. Vines are trellised to single cordon and managed to one bunch per shoot, and yields are kept at less than six tonnes per hectare.

The 2014 vintage began with above average winter rainfall which ensured that the vines had sufficient water reserves during the growing season. Cold and windy conditions at the beginning of the summer disrupted flowering slightly and this caused some millerandage within the bunches. Nevertheless, a good summer meant that the Pinot Noir achieved optimum ripeness levels and was hand-picked on 17th April.

Following hand-picking, 25% of the fruit was retained as whole bunches, the remaining 75% was destemmed and crushed. The whole bunches and crushed fruit underwent a four day cold soak prior to fermentation with natural yeasts in open-topped fermenters. The wine was then pressed in a traditional basket press before being transferred to Burgundian coopered oak barriques where it underwent malolactic fermentation and 12 months ageing. 40% of the barriques were new, the remaining 60% was a mixture of 500 litre puncheons and 5-year-old Tronçais oak barriques.

The Pinot Noir has great delicacy and balance. Aromas of ripe cherries and rose petals are complemented by the savoury oak influence. Complex and layered, with smooth tannins, it has a creamy texture and a wonderfully long finish.

£44.15

De Gras Pinot Noir Reserva 2017 (1x 75cl)

Chile is a unique, remote land, at the end of the world. Apart from being known as a paradise for producing exceptional quality wine, it’s also famous for its crystal clear skies and bright stars adorning the nights throughout the entire country. The De Gras “Star Man” reflects the magic, the sky and stars in the agricultural and winemaking cycles, giving life to wines that express the work done by the farmers who have close ties with the land. De Gras wines are easy to drink and have the distinctive MontGras seal. Their reds are round and fruity with soft tannins and well integrated oak.

This wine undergoes a traditional Pinot Noir vinification. It is cold soaked for 3 - 5 days, before starting native fermentation betweeen 14° - 28° C. It is then aged in old Burgundy barrels of 228 litres for 8 months.

De Gras Pinot Noir Reserva is a vibrant red colour. On the nose it is very fruity, highlighting the fresh red fruits. There is marked acidity in the mouth and charming flavours of sour cherries predominating, as well as some forest fruit hints. It is a lightweight wine, which is vibrant and fresh highlighting the cool climate of the valley.

£9.20

De Loach Heritage Reserve California Pinot Noir 2016 (1x75cl)

Note: the 'Heritage Reserve' series is increasingly termed the 'California' series by De Loach.

The winery and vineyards were originally owned and run by the Cecil and Christine De Loach. In 2003, the family run Burgundian estate Jean-Claude Boisset purchased De Loach and brought the focus back to the estate's original high quality winemaking philosophy, with specific emphasis on small lot winemaking, particularly of Pinot Noir from the Russian River Valley. The winery's 17-acre estate vineyard has been completely restored and converted to organic and diodynamic viticulture, a tradition upheld by many foremost Burgundian vineyards. The De Loach estate vineyards are certified organic by CCOF.

All the De Loach wines are made and bottled at their estate facility. The Pinot Noir was made from fruit grown in premium vineyards throughout northern and central California, helping to achieve a unique balance of delicate Pinot characteristics and more intense fruit flavours.

Fruit for this Pinot Noir was primarily sourced from the Delta region of California and underwent minimal handling. A pre-fermentation cold soak was followed by fermentation in closed-top fermenters. Post fermentation warm maceration took place to extract good colour and ripe tannins. A small portion of the wine was barrel aged to add some slight oak complexity, but most was kept in stainless steel tanks in order to stay true to its lighter, food-friendly style. 

The 2016 California Pinot Noir is an elegant and well-balanced wine. Offering mouthwatering flavours of cherry and strawberry, it is accented beautifully with just a touch of spice and earthiness.

Please click the blue link below to see a full technical/tasting note for this wine from De Loach themselves.

De Loach Heritage Reserve/California Pinot Noir 2016 - fiche technique

£16.55
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