A Bannockburn pinot trio
Bannockburn in Central Otago has been described as the region’s “pinot noir sweet spot”, a title that is easy to justify when I compare sub-regional ratings. Mt Difficulty, Terra Sancta and Akarua are three of Bannockburn’s leading lights and their respective pinot noir styles share common features while retaining a good measure of individuality.
Akarua Bannockburn Pinot Noir has earned an enviable reputation for a style that is often described as a “fruit bomb”. I recently judged the Six Nations Wine Challenge in Sydney, an international competition that started life 15 years ago as the “Tri-Nations Wine Challenge”. This year, representatives from six countries choose their top 100 wines from each and judge them blind by grape variety or wine style. Akarua Pinot Noir has won the pinot noir trophy three times in 15 years. The 2015 Akarua Pinot Noir (93 points) is rather more elegant with greater subtlety than many previous vintages. Good now with plenty of promise. (NZD $43)
The 2015 Terra Sancta Bannockburn Pinot Noir (93 points) is an equally elegant and silken-textured wine in an accessible style. It carries the Bannockburn trademark of plum, dark cherry and spice flavours. (NZD $36.95)
The 2015 Mt Difficulty Pinot Noir (94 points) can be appreciated now but will certainly reward cellaring. It has weight and concentration with a smooth-textured Bannockburn signature. (NZD $47)