New Zealand – A country blessed with tranquil landscapes, adventurous mountain ranges, never-ending natural wonders, and of course, the All Blacks. But for now, I’ll keep the daydreaming of muscular rugby players performing the Haka to a minimum…..Okay and back on track. With the amazing lineup of geological marvels that make up these two islands in the South Pacific, it should surprise no one that this country is home to yet another natural phenomenon…wine.
So what is it about wine that makes New Zealand even more amazing? Two words – Central Otago. It has been heavily debated in the past, but until someone decides to grow grapes in Antarctica (with climate change who knows, right?) Central Otago is currently the most southern wine region in the entire world. Being the highest in altitude for New Zealand wines, these vineyards rest upon the glacial valleys that blanket the central portion of the South Island. Sheltered by rugged mountain landscapes, Central Otago has desert like conditions and is the only area of the country that receives a consistent Continental climate with hot dry summers and brisk winters.
Geeked out yet? Just a little bit more, I promise…
Those aspects paired with a range of quick draining soils from glacial schist, loams, and windblown sands elicit the region’s focus on Pinot Noir, Riesling, and Pinot Gris. Known to produce these wines in a style that is a perfect blend of elegant, complex, and powerful, this region is truly a hidden gem with utterly remarkable wine. So to put that into layman’s terms, if you have never had wine from Central Otago in your glass, the injustice you’re doing to yourself is catastrophic. Okay, maybe not that extreme, but you really should try it.
What producer from Central Otago do I like?
2010 Felton Road Bannockburn Pinot Noir – Central Otago, New Zealand
This youthful wine has a deep colored core with luscious aromas of burnt marshmallows and rose petals. Light in body with juicy acidity, this Pinot presents the palate with its gorgeous floral notes, strawberry, cinnamon, black pepper and new leather on the finish.
2010 Felton Road Cornish Point Pinot Noir – Central Otago, New Zealand
A bona fide crowd pleaser, this Pinot carries enticingly sweet aromas of black cherry, black plum, and violets. Light in weight, crisp with acidity, and graceful with tannins, this wine satisfies the palate with additional notes of cooked tomatoes, cocoa, black pepper, leather and an earthy finish.