Matt Connell’s spiritual pinot noirs

Winemaker Matt Connell. (Photo: Youtube)

Matt Connell is from Taranaki but regards Central Otago as his spiritual home. He made his mark as a Central Otago winemaker at Olssens (now Terra Sancta) and during a seven-year stint as winemaker at Akarua, earning an impressive collection of gold medals and trophies for his generously proportioned wines from both producers.

Matt produced the first wine under his own label from the 2016 vintage and now offers a chardonnay from Lowburn and two pinot noir labels.

The Akarua Pinot Noir won a pinot noir trophy and red wine of the show in 2012, 2016 and in 2018, which adds up to a significant achievement. The latest award was made to a wine from the 2015 vintage.

Matt produced the first wine under his own label from the 2016 vintage and now offers a chardonnay from Lowburn and two pinot noir labels, with 2017 being his second vintage and latest release.

The 2017 Matt Connell Rendition Pinot Noir is made from a blend of Bendigo and Lowburn grapes that were 100% destemmed before fermentation. It’s a smooth-textured and rather voluptuous wine and the more accessible of his two pinots. An unashamedly fruit-bomb style that is deliciously drinkable. (NZD $44)

Matt Connell’s 2017 Bendigo Single Vineyard Pinot Noir is more intense and more age-worthy than Rendition. Although it has “drink me” written all over it, the wine hints at hidden depths and could certainly be a candidate for the cellar. (NZD $67)

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