Felton Road, Block 5, Bannockburn, Central Otago, New Zealand 2012
Outstanding: rated in top Pinot Noirs outside Burgundy in April 2016 issue.
Felton Road, Block 5 2012 has a lush, meaty nose, but has some bright cherry fruit too. Lots of energy on the palate; the structure is acid-led, with tannins in the supporting role as they should be for Pinot, and there is an unwavering persistence of fruit.
Price UK £45 Farr Vintners, Jeroboams, Laithwaites, Reid Wines, The Secret
Cellar, The Wine Society, US $70 Grapes Wine Company [NY]*
*US stockists found on wine-searcher.com
This is one of New Zealand’s most admired Pinot producers, thanks to the brilliance and consistency of its long-term winemaker Blair Walter, and the marketing flair of globetrotting founder Nigel Greening. The vineyards, farmed biodynamically, are mostly in Bannockburn. Since 2001, Dijon clones of Pinot have been planted. Grapes are hand-picked, then given a five-day cold soak before fermentation begins with indigenous yeasts. Walter likes to use about one-third whole clusters. The wines are aged for up to 18 months in French oak, with classical music piped into the barrel room. There are two single-block releases, Block 3 and Block 5, and these are aged in a higher proportion of new oak – about 45%. The wines are neither racked, fined, nor filtered.