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Otago gold

Vineyard in the Alexandra region of Central Otago (Photo: Bob Campbell MW)

I’d tasted most of the wines on offer at the recent Pinot Noir NZ celebrations in Wellington but still managed to discover some exciting newly released Central Otago pinot noir labels that haven’t yet crossed my tasting table.

Akitu Pinot Noir 2014 (NZD$36) is from an 11-ha vineyard in Wanaka dedicated to growing pinot noir. This is their top label, although I also liked their more delicate and ethereal second label, which had in charm what it lacked in power. Quite a Burgundian style with a particularly pleasing aromatic quality.

Grasshopper Rock is a perennial favourite that I have always regarded as a particularly price-friendly wine (I bought a case of the 2014 vintage after tasting it in the winery). This new label is a three-barrel selection. While I have always been slightly sceptical about barrel selection wines, which tend to put a squeeze on value, this example does offer quite a bit more than the regular label. It might, being the first vintage, even be moderately collectable. It is the Grasshopper Rock Block 6 Pinot Noir 2014 (NZD$55).

Prophet’s Rock Retrospect Pinot Noir 2015 (NZD $119) is by far the most expensive of my three discoveries. It’s only the second vintage I have tasted since 2010 (which may be the first year this flagship wine was made). It’s a selection of the best grapes from their Bendigo vineyard. Made in very small quantities, it’s a rich and fruity pinot noir with serious cellaring potential.

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