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New Zealand Pinot Noir over £10

For Pinot Noir from New Zealand this year, there is no better than...

Domain Road 2009

Planted on a former apricot orchard, Domain Road produced its first vintage in 2006. Based in the gold-mining settlement of Bannockburn, visitors have to resist turning right onto the famed Felton Road avenue of producers, and take the next road on the right, passing a camping and caravanning site to find the vineyard.

Property investors Graeme and Gillian Crosbie knew they’d found a good site climatically, in a valley sheltered from prevailing winds. However, they struck gold with soil types, says Graeme, and their success could well be thanks to the dirt. “I’m fairly certain that it comes down to where the wine is grown. The soils on our Pinot Noir block are unique. The top layer is good quality soil, then a schist/gravel layer and below that white clay, known locally as pipe clay,” he says. “I don’t think there’s anybody that has all three.”

In 2009, yields were kept lower than normal due to the global economic downturn. “At the end of 2008, when everything was fairly dire financially in the UK, we thought we should crop lower to five tonnes/ha.” He admits he might be regretting making smaller volumes, after winning this award.

The fruit was hand harvested, destemmed and fermented in four open top fermenters. Three of the ferments were wild, and the remaining ferment was inoculated. The wine was aged in French oak, one-third new, for 10 months. Carol Bunn made the wine for Domain Road at contract facility VinPro in 2009 but she has moved on to a new project.

The new winemaker, Pete Bartle, formerly of Peregrine Wines, has a hard task to follow. “He’s a well-awarded winemaker,” says Graeme. “so I know he’s doing a good job.”

Written by Matt Chappell

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