central otago delivers

September 21, 2010  |  wine review

Sweet strawberry and cherry flavoured pinots from heaven! Consistently outstanding evocative pinots only come from Burgundy (if you spend over $150), or from the southern hemisphere’s pinot gift to the world….Central Otago in the south island of NZ, not far from Christchurch. OK, there are some good pinots from Victoria, Tasmania. Oregon, Marlborough and Martinborough, but in my view, nothing rivals Central Otago. The problem is the product is starting to get a reputation and some of the great wines can reach north of $75 a bottle.

When a value Otago comes onto the radar, it’s a cause for celebration. The story around this wine is even better. Made by Wild Rock wines, it was purchased from a retailer in Perth, yes Perth, (having been imported from NZ) and flown back to Sydney where it was landed for $22 a bottle (I know, it falls just outside my target $15 to $20 range, but it is a worthwhile exception). Cheapest I could find on the Eastern seaboard was $27 a bottle. The wine was purchased from the outstanding retail outlet Lamont’s Wine Store, run by Kate Lamont (Deputy Chair of Tourism Australia and celebrated chef, teacher, winemaker, restaurateur) and John Jens (a knowledgeable WA wine person who has been in the game for decades).

Wild Rock is a serious NZ winemaker with vineyards in Hawkes Bay, Martinborough and Central Otago. The pinot in question is the Wild Rock Cupid’s Arrow Pinot Noir 2008.

This wine looks a little like raspberry cordial…..which reminds me of the time I was in transit in the BA/Qantas first class Lounge in LA with Liz Hurley – just the two of us! She had poured a Rosemount Diamond label red for herself and I could see that she was struggling with it (and her hangover). Noticing a Mildara Coonawarra Cabernet on the shelf, I poured two and offered Liz a glass. She accepted, commenting that the first “is like Ribena isn’t it?” and that the Coonawarra was most welcome. There’s more to that story for friends over a glass of Wild Rock!

Despite appearances, this is no Ribena! It is a light, clean thin looking wine that fools grown men who think it’s a quaffer. My tasting notes follow:

“Clean strawberry fruit which is pleasant on the nose and highly approachable. To quote the back label, this is soft, succulent and delicious. The gorgeous sweet fruits become more complex in the glass with delightful savoury, mushroom and white pepper overtones. Lingering sweet berry fruit to the finish, with every mouthful more complex than the last. A cracker! 93/100 (no I don’t give every wine 93!) and 13.5% alcohol”

Get on the Lamonts web site and treat yourself to a case of the best value pinot going around….before it runs out!



1 Comment


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