Central Otago has produced some outstanding wines in 2014, says Cameron Douglas MS, who explains the vintage and picks six top wines.

Central Otago in 2014

The wines from Central Otago are outstanding, with attention to detail in all aspects: ripe fruit, ripe tannins and ripe flavours, delivering wines with poise, tension, complexity and a great finish. The wines tasted so far promise real complexity, and a long life is assured for many, which will be drinking well from 2020.

  • See below for Douglas’s top 2014 Central Otago Pinot Noir wines

The vintage delivered unusual consistency across all sub-regions. ‘A mild winter followed by a warm, calm spring, above-average conditions for flowering, fruit set and even spring growth,’ says Sarah-Kate Dineen of Maude Wines. Nick Mills of Rippon Vineyard in Wanaka says the wines are ‘bright and forward – not as compressed as in recent years – which means they may reach their optimal drinking time earlier than usual’.

‘We ended up harvesting over our normal time frame: early April till the beginning of May,’ recalls Olly Masters of Misha’s Vineyard in Bendigo. ‘All the fruit was picked in pristine condition and we believe we’ve ended up with the best varietal expression to date.’

‘Individual blocks and clones offered themselves for harvest at a steady, pleasingly unrushed pace,’ recalls Blair Walter from Felton Road Wines in Bannockburn. ‘Yields were balanced with good levels of acidity.’

In Alexandra, Central Otago’s oldest wine subregion, a few spring frosts meant lighter bunch weights, but a healthy outcome overall.

‘The fruit was in exceptional condition with excellent flavours and balance – it was a cracker!’ enthuses Phil Handford of Grasshopper Rock Wines. If his 2014 is indicative of the rest of the production, then it’s a must-have for the cellar – keep it safe till 2018 for the first sip.

Top 2014 Central Otago Pinot Noir:

Burn Cottage Bendigo 2014

Burn Cottage, Bendigo 2014

Burn Cottage, Bendigo, Central Otago, New Zealand 2014 Rating: 19/20pts Seductive, floral and gently perfumed with a core of light…

Points 96
Two Paddocks Pinot Noir 2014

Two Paddocks, Pinot Noir 2014

Two Paddocks, Pinot Noir, Central Otago, New Zealand 2014 Rating: 18.5/20pts Complex, intense and complete – a bouquet with personality…

Points 95
Maude Wanaka Pinot Noir 2014

Maude, Wanaka, Pinot Noir 2014

Maude, Wanaka, Pinot Noir, Central Otago, New Zealand 2014 Rating: 18.25/20pts Dark cherry, plum and dried raspberry, full of energy…

Points 94
Rockburn Pinot Noir 2014

Rockburn, Pinot Noir 2014

Rockburn, Pinot Noir, Central Otago, New Zealand 2014 Rating: 18.25/20pts Distinctive, fragrant, spicy, fruity and packed with Central Otago pinosity,…

Points 94