Monday, 19 August 2013

A Pinot Noir from New Zealands Finest - Felton Road

I love Pinot Noir especially from Central Otago in New Zealand, and none more than those produced by Nigel Greening and his team at Felton Road. The vineyard was founded in 1991 after extensive research by Charles Elms as to which were some of the best vineyard sites in the region, resulting in  the Bannockburn site at the very end of Felton Road being identified. The sites have been managed by their own viticulturist Gareth King and his team, who have also been farming all the sites from 2002 onwards using organic and bio-dynamic techniques, and being awarded in 2010 the full Demeter certification for all three sites.

The organic compost they use, is made from waste produced in the winery, straw and organic cow manure. They are meticulous at managing the canopy and the number of bunches on each vine to ensure optimum fruit quality. Irrigation is used towards the end of the summer, but soil moisture levels are monitored carefully, with water only being applied when required to maintain the water levels in the soil. By employing all of these techniques, they really do produce some of the best fruit for their winemaker Blair Walter to use and produce his stunning wines with.

Within the winery Blair also employs a hands off approach to winemaking, allowing the wild yeasts in the winery to start the fermentation process, malolactic fermentation is also allowed to take place naturally. He even avoids fining or any filtration, to help preserve the wine's expression of each 'terroir'.

The Calvert vineyard site is located one kilometre to the east of the Elms site with north facing slopes, and has the soil type that first led the guys to this part of the region, deep silt loams. The vineyard was first planted in 1999 with several different Pinot Noir clones, with Chardonnay and Riesling being planted 2003.

The 2011 Calvert Pinot Noir, I have to say was absolutely stunning, I managed to find a bottle a little while ago on the shelf in a local wine merchants and I just couldn't resist. In the glass it had bright ruby colour, with wonderfully rich aromas of red berry fruit, leather and spice. These all came together in the glass with such great complexity and depth, the oak was perfectly integrated and balanced with the fruit, it had a wonderful acidity, soft/silky tannins and a length of flavour that just kept going on and on.

Would I recommend this wine, absolutely, actually I would go as far as saying that I would recommend any wines from Felton Road, they have a fantastic depth of flavour and complexity that is hard to find in wines from the new world while still keeping its identity of a New World wine.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

A Rare Blend from Dandelion Vineyards

I've been a massive fan of Australian Shiraz/Viognier blends for a number years, then recently I came across the 2010 Dandelion Vineyards The Lions Tooth, Shiraz-Riesling. Which is not something that I'd ever seen or even heard of before.

Dandelion Vineyards is a collaboration by Zar Brooks and his wine making wife Elana, with growers Carl Lindner and Brad Rey. Bringing together vineyards spread across the Adelaide Hills, Eden Valley, McLaren Vale, Fleurieu Peninsula and Langhorne Creek. Utilising fruit from well established single vineyards, showing the classic varietal from each region, with some vines being 99 years old.

To produce this wine, they ferment whole bunches of Shiraz grapes (from McLaren Vale) on top of Riesling (Eden Valley) skins for seven days in open top fermenters which are hand plunged twice a day. They are then carefully basket pressed, and put into some new, and the rest older French Oak barriques to finish the fermentation process. It's then left for a further 18 months maturation in the same oak before being bottled without filtration or fining to preserve "the essence of the vineyard".

In the glass, the wine has a deep inky purple colour, with pronounced aromas of red berries, cherries, blueberries and a touch of spice all combining beautifully. On the palate you get all the aromas coming through wonderfully, combined with soft velvety tannins and a great acidity go on to produce a perfectly balanced and very interesting wine. The complexity you get from this wine is just amazing, from the co-ferment of the Shiraz and Riesling to the use of new and old oak. 

I have to say this wine was absolutely stunning, with so much going on you definitely get your money's worth if not more, which I would definitely recommend you grab a bottle every time you see one!