Sunday, 1 May 2011

Visit to Central Otago April 2011

Overlooking Misha's Vineyards and across lake Dunstan then towards Luggate and the Pisa Range

The Audition Pinot Noir 2007 13.5%
N: Classic in many ways with plenty of ripe light red fruits, noticeable oak with medium complexity – overall the wine smells juicy and enticing.
P: Dry yet with a solid core of fruit and almost sweet on the palate, sweet oak, baking spices and a still unfurling character. Very well-made wine in perfect balance now and for those who have some left will last at least another 3 to 5 years if not longer. 4 Stars.
In evaluating this wine I noticed the oak statement, yet in saying this the wine had such a solid core of fruit that it all came together extremely well and just needs a few more years and will be pretty much perfect. Some wine just needs time! I spoke with winemaker Olly Masters about the use of oak for this wine – he commented that the barrels used were 100% French and new and were washed several times with water before the wine was put in - This technique was used to reduce some of the high impact that new barrels may have. Only 100 cases produced. pH: 3.52. TA: 8.1 g/l. 2 clones in the blend: 5 and 667. Steel ferment then aged in French Oak – 100% New Hogsheads.

Lyric Riesling 2010 (5 g/l RS) 13%
N: Spicy, sweet citrus including Kaffir lime and lime leaf, Germanic suggestions – crisp apple and slate undertones then hints of Mandarin. For me there is a touch of oak spice which adds complexity.
P: Just dry with apple, citrus and sweet fruits which are contrasted by focused acidity with both flavour and bite dancing on the palate. There is a linear – Germanic side to this wine with lime, sweet Meyer lemon, old-fashioned home-made lemonade, a hint of ginger and a mineral slate under-current. Overall a thoroughly interesting wine that is both individual and classic. A great aperitif – 5 Stars.

Cameron Douglas MS (left) and Olly Masters discussing a section of the Misha's Vineyard

Pinot Gris grapes at Misha's Vineyard getting a few extras days sunshine before  the final harvest of the season.
Dress Circle Pinot Gris 2010 (12 g/l RS)
N: Asian pear, juicy and dense with white fleshed fruits – pear, nectarine then apple skin.
P: Off – dry with ginger spiced brown pear skin, juicy white fleshed fruits, Persimmon and high toned white pepper lift. Medium to medium+ weight with a hint of oiliness adds to the texture and finish. 3 ½ Starsé. Only 947 cases produced. pH: 3.48. TA: 5.8 g/l. 2 clones in the blend: Gm 2.15 and Barrie.  Around 76% of the juice as free-run was steel fermented with the rest fermented in older oak.

Sauvignon Blanc Vines planted on the some pretty steep terrain at Misha's Vineyard
The Starlet Sauvignon Blanc 2010 14%
N: The smell of this wine takes me to the Loire Valley with a soft and gentle almost silky drifting aroma yet still varietal and still Central Otago.
P: Unmistakably Sauvignon Blanc, but with tamed aggression, high acidity yet with soft sweet fruit, quartz soil notes, a hint of barrel and a light melon edge; Overall a really lovely wine, an alternative style and not too far outside the square – 4½ Stars.
Only 673 cases produced. pH: 3.04. TA: 7.9 g/l. Single Vineyard Estate Fruit. Around 84% of the juice as free-run was steel fermented with the rest fermented in older oak.

Cameron Douglas MS checking out a tank sample of 2011 Riesling from Misha's Vineyard

Locharburn Wine Maker Carol Bunn sharing some 2011 tank samples
Locharburn Sauvignon Blanc 2010 14%abv
N: The bouquet is vibrant and varietal with sweet hay and mild tropical fruit suggestions, noticeable and bold citrus suggestions – yet a little reserved and holding back.
P: Dry with distinctive apple and pear, golden kiwi-fruit then light herbs and spice. An oak note adds structure. While there is notable acidity it carries a mineral/terroir note that adds a complex and intriguing note. 3 ½ Stars. 

Checking out some 2011 Misha's Sauvignon Blanc out of tank 

Locharburn Chardonnay 2009 13.5% (30% New Oak)
N: Roasted dark yellow stone fruit bouquet with popcorn, butterscotch and light cheese note (perhaps a touch of malic) – we’ll see on the palate.
P: Dry with a creamy/oily texture and a leesy and just noticeable cheese note. A wine to accompany those great after dinner debates of what’s wrong with the world and the price of oil. I noticed a lemon skin flavour right on the finish of this wine adding to the medium length and complexity. 3 ½ Stars. 

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