Central Otago Pinot Noir: panel tasting results
Gibbston Valley, China Terrace, Bendigo 2012
Decanter average score: 18.5pts/20 (95/100pts)
Individual judges’ scores: Melanie Brown 18.5 Roger Jones 18.5 Philip Tuck 18.5
Price £37.99 (2009) Hard to Find Wines
With two wines in this top five Outstanding list, Gibbston Valley is clearly
the star of the show. Surprisingly, its flagship Reserve Pinot Noir and highly
rated School House Pinot Noir missed the cut, although both earned a
Highly Recommended honours (see p89). China Terrace is a high-altitude
(320m), high-performing vineyard in the warm Bendigo sub-region. It’s a
serious Pinot Noir that doesn’t conform to the Central Otago fruit-bomb
stereotype but is an altogether sleeker and more savoury style, with a firm
structure, thanks in part to the use of some whole cluster bunches in the
fermentation to boost tannins. Although the wine can certainly be
appreciated now, as the judges will testify, its best years lie ahead.
Melanie Brown Good weight and structure with a silky texture but power too, which is
all held together with dark, juicy fruits. Very enticing.
Roger Jones The savoury nose gives way to a long, lingering palate of delicate fruit
and an amazing floral and spicy length. This tastes well developed now but
will get even better.
Philip Tuck Lovely purity and complexity on the nose. This is impressive and very
enticing. Will age well.