Quartz Reef Pinot Noir 2013
"Continuing my round up of top Pinot Noirs from the recent New Zealand trip, here are some favourites from Central Otago, with a couple from North Otago’s Waitaki thrown in too. I’ve been coming to Central Otago regularly since 2010, and there’s been a steady evolution. This is unsurprising: after all, the first commercial wine from the region was as recent as 1987. On this trip, in particular, I found more diversity in the wines. As the vines age, I expect that the privileged sites will emerge more clearly. With young vines, you taste the clones and climate more. There’s more uniformity: the wines can be delicious, but sometimes there’s that extra dimension missing. Now, we are beginning to see more layers and mid-palate depth in some of the wines. The primary fruit, one of the key draws of this region, is still there, but there’s some non-fruit complexity. I think Central is one of those regions that you really begin to appreciate more when you have actually been there: it’s possible in some mystical way to connect the rugged landscapes, the primal scenery, the big skies with the personality of the wines. As usual, this is not a full selection of the wines that I liked. Full notes will be published of all the wines shortly."
Quartz Reef Pinot Noir 2013:
Taut, appealing aromatics of red cherries and spice, with some sandalwood hints. The palate has freshness and focus with a savoury, spicy structure underpinning fresh red fruits. Still quite tannic and structured with a dry finish. Has potential for development.
Quartz Reef Pinot Noir 2015
Turgangawaewae and other highlights from NZ's biggest ever Pinot Noir gig:
Wine professionals and fans of Pinot Noir spent three days immersed in it from 1 to 3 February this year in Wellington city. This is my report. Stand out wines are highlighted below.
Five enduring memories of Pinot Noir NZ 2017
Turangawaewae and that sense of place – This is Maori for ‘my standing place’ or ‘our standing place’ and it captures that incredibly powerful notion of connecting with the place that each of us feels we most belong to. It was the overall theme of of this year’s Pinot Noir conference from the Maori opening ceremony to the last, tearful closing address by Elaine Chukan Brown, who is from Alaska and was so moved by the inclusiveness of Maori culture in New Zealand that it brought her to tears on stage.
The tasting roadshows – It is impossible to taste every single wine at a conference such as this one but the highlights, as listed below, are wines that, I believe, are becoming tastier each year.
Humility – it was humbling to hear winemakers from one region praise the wines of their rivals from other regions.
Friends in wine – Despite everything drilled into me at journalism school about retaining objectivity, I not only love wine but feel privileged to be a part of this country’s wine scene and to have many of my closest friends working in it. It is an event greater privilege to be able to chronicle their journey and that of the wines they make.
The wine band – talented, funny and outstanding with their rendition of my hometown band’s, The Bats’ song, North by North. Big thanks.
Labels to look for – these are my top wines from Pinot Noir NZ 2017
Central Otago and Waitaki Valley
Quartz Reef Pinot Noir 2015
Sparkling wine ... something to celebrate
"Sitting across the table from Quartz Reef's Rudi Bauer without any pre-planned questions might not have been the wisest decision for the interview. Though, having no set agenda except knowing that I hadn't written anything about Quartz Reef, I figured let's just wing it"...