I was delighted to be invited as a media guest to Central Otago Pinot Noir Ltd’s 10th Pinot Noir Celebration held over 3 days starting the 30th January 2014. It’s been a long time since visits to this most dramatic and most southerly New Zealand wine region and it was good to be back.
I had attended the 3rd Pinot Noir Celebration in 2003 and how things have changed in the last 11 years. For example in 2003 it was rare to find Central Otago wines on a Queenstown restaurant’s wine list. Now it is rare to find wine from other regions on the wine lists, so popular and so good are the regions offerings across all varieties.
This year there were 40 Central Otago producers, representing all of the sub-regions (Gibbston, Bannockburn, Cromwell Basin/Lowburn/Pisa, Wanaka, Bendigo and Alexandra). Pinot Noir was of course the hero.
Beginning with a masterclass, the 12 wines presented showed how just how exceptional the 2012 vintage is, then a Grand Tasting the following day with each of the producers showing two wines, one from the current vintage and one older, showed how well these wines can age.
But at the lunches, informal ’party’ sessions and the grand dinner, the region’s sparklings, rosés and white wines were also on show – mostly riesling and pinot gris but also sauvignon blanc, chardonnay and even an emerging passion for chenin blanc.
However Burgundy was the theme of the ‘Formal Tasting’ and all of the Central Otaqo winemakers and everyone else were in awe of the Burgundies that were poured. How could they not be when Pablo Chevrot from Domain Chevrot et Fils and Aubert de Villaine from Domaine de la Romanée-Conti – and their wines – were in the room. A very interesting explanation on the The Bid for Unesco World Heritage for the Climats du Vignoble de Bourgogne preceeded the tasting.
My reports of the tastings, events and winery visits follow in separate reports and will be linked to from here when posted.
But to sum it up, a fabulous event with fabulous wine, fabulous food and fabulous people in the most fabulous, scenic and inspirational setting.
Winery Visit: A Wild Earth Adventure
Masterclass Tasting (to come)
Grand Tasting (to come)
Formal Tasting (to come)
Lunch at Amisfield (to come)
Lunch at Public (to come)