2019 Pinot Noir Bannockburn
|Origin||New Zealand, South Island|
A rich and rather decadent nose of ripe strawberry, smoke and grilled meat follows through to a full body with layers of ripe tannins and a juicy, succulent finish. Just a hint of grilled orange to the bacon. Drink now or hold. Screw cap. Rating: 96 James Suckling, The Wine Spectator (Oct 2021)
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Generous and juicy wild strawberry, cranberry and spiced cherry flavors start off flashy and mouthwatering, but then settle into a harmonious spicy mix of tobacco, clove and oolong tea, with details of chicory and forest floor that linger on the long, expressive finish. Drink now through 2034. Drinking range: 2027 - 2034 Rating: 94 MaryAnn Worobiec, The Wine Spectator (Mar 2021)
There's a sense of ease to this ripe yet elegant Pinot. It has a fluidity as it flows along the palate, offering cherry, raspberry and floral aromas. A portion of whole cluster fruit has created additional layers of woody herbs and spice. There's almost 30% new oak, but the fruit, sourced from four vineyards, absorbs it easily. The tannins coat the mouth, providing a pleasing clasp with their fine, chalky veil. While this might be Felton Road's “entry-level” Pinot Noir, there's plenty of seriousness here. Drinking range: 2021 - 2027 Rating: 90 Rebecca Gibb MW - Vinous.com (Mar 2021)
Dark raspberry, hints of the leaves as well, with a touch of old cedar wood panelling. The palate is viscous and concentrated, displaying cane fruits that deftly integrate with an alluring savouriness. Fine, long tannins with no shortage of chew, but no harshness. This is at a level way above its Bannockburn “village” designation, being a blend of our four primely situated vineyards. A serious wine with considerable definition and poise. The unique gravity flow winery enabled the grapes to be gently destemmed directly into open-top fermenters without pumping, retaining 20% as whole clusters. Traditional fermentation with a moderately long maceration on skins has extracted good colour and tannin with considerable depth of flavour. This wine was aged for 13 months in 27% new French oak barrels from artisan Burgundian coopers. In accordance with our non-interventionalist approach to winemaking, this wine was fermented with indigenous yeast and was not fined or filtered.Winemaker's notes (Sep 2020)
Felton Road and Rippon are undoubtedly the two leading vineyards in Central Otago, both making Pinots that are finely textured with fresh fruit flavours, rather than the 'fruit bombs' that so many others produce. Felton Road has been totally organic and biodynamic across their three Bannockburn vineyards since 2005. They have been certified by Demeter since 2009. After that there are more differences than similarities.
While Rippon, at Wanaka is on schist, Felton Road in Banockburn is on clay and calcareous loess. It is also very much in the rain shadow of the Main Divide. Irrigation is used at Rippon to help establish young vines, but dry farming is possible once the vines get their roots down, while at Felton Road permanent irrigation is required for the entire vineyard.
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