In February this year I visited Central Otago. It was great to catch up with what has been happening in this dynamic cool climate Pinot Noir region. It seems that years are like dog years – such is the rate of progress. The Bannockburn sub-district is perhaps the one that has done the most to gain Central Otago its fame for bold, dark cherry intensely juicy-fruity Pinot Noir, with Felton Road leading the way there. But I think what has been particularly interesting is the development of the region just north of the township of Cromwell, along the Luggate-Cromwell Highway heading up towards Wanaka (and the likes of Rippon Vineyard). This Lowburn, and (further up) Mt Pisa sub-district is a little cooler than Bannockburn and is capable – I think – of making particularly refined, fresh, elegant and balanced Pinot Noirs of good intensity, balance and finesse. If you are a fan of Burgundy, I think you will agree that this description sounds interesting, no?
One visit particularly impressed me. I spent time with Andy Crozier exploring the vineyard, and Claire Mulholland discussing the winemaking and tasting the wines at Burn Cottage. This small estate is ideally located, north-facing (remember: southern hemisphere), in a wind-protected amphitheater slope. They focus almost entirely on Pinot Noir in different blocks (vinified separately) with a variety of clones. From this an assemblage is made of the top cuvees to make their top label – the ‘estate’ Burn Cottage Vineyard Pinot Noir.
Well before the visit was finished I was convinced that this was the right wine to import to offer to you, dear Hong Kong connoisseurs! We have just landed in Hong Kong our allocation of the 2015 vintage, and it is ready to deliver to you now. Here is my tasting note from a sample we enjoyed yesterday -
2015 Burn Cottage Pinot Noir (cork closure)
A clear bright mid cherry colour; impressive complexity on the nose, super fresh, a touch shy initially, enticing notes of musk and spice with prompting; good ‘jellied’ intensity and a sapid, refreshing just-ripe flavour of red cherry and a touch of thyme and rosemary. There is an impressive expansive build of flavour at the end, and a nice mid-palate creaminess which turns crisper and livelier by the finish. Balanced, nuanced cool climate (13.5% alc) feel and taste. This can be enjoyed now with a bit of air (30+ minutes), but will gain further interest with a couple of years in the cellar.