New Zealand Red Wines
To us New Zealand red = Pinot Noir. For several years a huge amount of attention has focussed on the Pinots coming out of Central Otago, but care is needed in selection.
Land prices swiftly soared, and there are plenty of ambitious "boutique" producers there pumping out highly priced, trophy-seeking Pinots of minimal charm and authenticity.
The pursuit of ripeness, deep colour and concentration often leads to over-extracted, over-oaked and over-alcoholic wines which completely lose sight of Pinot’s fragrance and elegance. So we continue to recommend wines from Marlborough, with their lighter style, paler hue and fresher fruit. Dare we whisper that the Marlborough Pinots are often more Burgundian?
At the same time any qualifications about Central Otago Pinot do not apply to Felton Road. Global demand is driving prices up for these wonderful wines but we continue to ask for as much as we are offered. Expatriate Englishman Nigel Greening is convinced that growing vines biodynamically (all certified), allows each of the wines produced here to best reflect their origins. Winemaking philosophy is for minimal intervention: gravity flow into open-top fermenters, leaving about 20% of the grapes in whole bunch clusters; fermentation using natural yeasts; and, after ageing in only French oak, bottling without fining or filtration.
We do occasionally list a Bordeaux blend from the Gimlett Gravels zone near Hawkes Bay and the odd Kiwi Syrah; but we have some concerns about the value offered by the former and the ripeness and authenticity of the latter.
Usually the most precocious of the single vineyard wines: gorgeously ripe; expansive strawberry...