Helen’s blog

Thoughts and tastings from Helen Savage, wine writer.

Felton Road – the best Southern Hemisphere Pinot?

For me there were two highlights at the recent New Zealand Wine Trade tastings: a first taste of Yealands Estate (impressive, clean flavours – vibrant fruit. I’ve written up an interview with winemaker Tamra Washington for The Journal, to be published on 28 January) and the opportunity to sample the latest vintages from Felton Road. Felton Road at Bannockburn, Central Otago, uses only estate grown fruit, grown according to biodynamic principles. I love the wines and this year they seem better than ever. (The Bannockburn wines are blended from the three main blocks on the estate.)

My brief notes:

Bannockburn Chardonnay 2009 (ambient yeast, full malo in the barrel) rrp £19

Ripe toasty bouquet, but underlying very fresh fruit; rich soft and mineral in the mouth.

Block 2 Chardonnay 2009 £22

More perfumed, maybe honeysuckle, certainly spicy, but with a lovely intergration of fruit and oak. Ripe lemon flavours, crisp and finally mineral – an almost perfect balance.

Dry Riesling 2010 (9 g/l residual sugar) £15

Ripe apple fruit, with a hint of lemon, then soft, mineral and surprisingly full in the mouth.

Bannockburn Riesling 2010 (56g/l sugar) £15

Utterly delicous: the pick of the Rieslings, with the smell of confit lemon and a delciously balanced, elegant flavour – far too easy to drink.  Not massively complex – just very pure, ripe fruit.

Block 1 Riesling 2010 (65g/l sugar) £18

Much more complex and spicy, lovely fresh and tangy, but somehow, not as  moorish as the simpler Bannockburn.

Bannockburn Pinot Noir 2009 £23

Perfumed, elegant fruit – a little short but very pure.

Calvert Road Pinot Noir, 2009 £27

Deeper, more perfumed, with spicy wild cherry – seductively silky texture.

Cornish Point Pinot Noir, 2009 £27

Again, deep, spicy, wild cherry fruit – even spicier in the mouth and longer than the Calvert Road.

Block 3 Pinot Noir, 2009 £34

Deep, powerful, but a bit closed with a powerful, rich, savoury palate and a distinctly mineral finish.

Block 5 Pinot Noir, 2009 £34

Powerful but focused with rich cherry and even chocolate fruit. Long, fine tannins.

Vin Gris 2008 (Pinot Noir) £15

As delicate a rosé as one could imagine – a true gris. Big, spicy nose: mineral and savoury, which continues into the palate – big, ripe and spicy.

For more information and suppliers see www.cornishpoint.com and www.feltonroad.com

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