I remember a most productive visit to the Central Otago Wine Company (a contract winemaking facility) in late 2008 which, because of its diverse production, clearly revealed sub-regional differences amongst Central Otago Pinots. I was interested to explore this further, but have since found myself too lazy to pursue it with any vigour. Nonetheless, that memory has stayed with me and, hence, I was excited to see this wine, whose fruit was sourced from a single vineyard in the Bendigo sub-region, just north of über dump Cromwell.
The nose is certainly Central Otago in character; what interests me about this wine, though, is its relatively subtle expression of the fundamentally powerful berry fruit that marks the region’s Pinots. Whilst fruit is at its core, the aroma profile draws in a range of dustier, more herbal nuances, and I like how these add texture and dimension to what might otherwise be a fat profile.
The palate begins promisingly, with a continuation of the aroma’s dusty spice and texture, expressed through an attack that bristles with acid. The middle palate, fully-fruited and quite generous, disappoints me a little because its fruit seems too sweet to sit easily against both the wine’s structure and its other flavours. It’s like a slightly too obvious boob job on an otherwise attractively imperfect figure, trying too hard to be something it’s not. Of course, others may disagree on this point, but for my taste I would have preferred a more confidently savoury expression of fruit. Moving past this, the after palate shows attractive, dusty tannins and a return to the dark savouriness of the aroma and entry. The finish is adequate in length and pleasingly mouthwatering in effect.
Does that flash of sweetness on the middle palate unbalance the wine? A little, perhaps, but it’s not distracting enough to rob me of the enjoyment of drinking an otherwise highly distinctive Central Otago Pinot.