Posts Tagged ‘Central Otago’

seduced by central otago pinot

March 1, 2011  |  wine review  |  4 Comments

Firstly, an apology to those who like to follow my wine blogs. Like many others, I had an alcohol free February. By mid-month I could hear my liver softly whispering, “I love you”. So I felt so good by the end of the month that I wonder whether I am allergic to alcohol! Perish the thought – at least as far as wine tasting is concerned.

Anyway, back in the saddle and the first temptation seemed too good to be true! A 2006 Central Otago Pinot for $15.99 featured in the Dan Murphy’s catalogue. Central Otago is the new world Pinot Noir mecca, with some wines seeling upwards of $100. We couldn’t wait to try this entry and arrived at Dan’s where the fine wine manager suggested we buy the Anahera East rather than the Anahera West – both at $15.99, both 2006, and both 14% alcohol.

On March 1 we fought our way through an annoying plastic closure over the screwcap and poured a glass. In the glass the wine looked enticing, bright cherry red in fine condition. I was prepared to give the sharpness on the nose (which continued through on the front palate), the benefit of the doubt, hoping that the wine would breathe nicely and settle down.

The wine was fairly light bodied but there were certainly overtones of ripe plummy berry fruit and even a promise of those mellow, savoury characteristics that I love about Central Otago. Alas, despite a reasonably long finish, the wine never seemed to be in balance. The acidity, sharpness and hot alcohol remained to the last drop. I was disappointed.

I then started to question why a Central Otago pinot noir five years old could sell so cheaply. The answer was there in the glass. The wine has never and will never rise to great heights. I decided to include this in the write ups to provide a balance – they can’t all get 93/100; and also to suggest that you don’t rush to Murphy’s for bargain Central Otago pinots.

This wine is pointed at 85/100, although on the second night it had opened up a little and might sneak 87/100. A lot of the sharpness had disappeared. If you were seduced like me, open it 24 hours ahead!

central otago delivers

September 21, 2010  |  wine review  |  1 Comment

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!

mt rosa pinot noir 2008

July 28, 2010  |  wine review  |  No Comments

Eureka! What a find. I love Central Otago pinot but some of it is getting a little expensive. This one delivers for around $30. I purchased this one at the Berry bottle shop and I know it is also avilable through

Tasting notes:

 Bright crimson, a little cloudy. Attrractive lifted nose of red currant. Silky texture and accessible cherry fruit on front palate, finishing with length and good balance.  Alluring sappy, mealy flavours as it finishes.  An excellent pinot from the finest area in the New World. 13.5% alcohol.  94/100