Central Otago Pinot Noir Celebration – more on Day 2 and a note for readers

I am going to be bouncing around a bit for the next few posts. Which means I will be jumping back to Day 1 at some point, but trust me, that will not matter.

What some may not realise is that much of this blog up until this point has been written on an iPhone, not a computer. This makes it very tough to write up large tastings and give them space (also means that Auto correct invariably created typos – thank you Apple!) Over the next week however due to some changes at home and some holidays, I will be able to devote more time to the blog and hopefully you will see some enhancements.

The morning of Day 2 included a fascinating walk around tasting made up of all 34 participating wineries. Each was allowed to show two Pinots Noir – a couple of producers snuck in a third (you know who you are!) By and large the wines were solid across the board. One of my criticisms of Otago Pinot in the past is that there have been major inconsistencies, four or five top producers, a bunch of OK ones in the middle and some wines that seem to lack finess. After this tasting however, I can say that there are fewer of the latter and that as far as top producers go there are now perhaps ten or twelve really top end producers of this variety, maybe more.

Note that not all of Central was represented here. There was at least one of my favourite producers who was not here this year. Whether that be for cost or lack of available wine who knows.

The other criticism that I have had in the past is that many wines tasted the same (often hailing from central wine processing plants) and that levels of extraction outweighed both the amount and the tone of the fruit coming out of the vineyard. Again there have been massive improvements in this area. We are seeing the vineyard clearer now. And the other wonderful thing about this tasting was that some wineries chose to show some of their cool experimental wines, but more on that later.

The organisers did a great job here. A nice large, cool cellar hall, roomy enough (though some people did hang around by the stalls, making it hard to taste efficiently) but there was just enough time to get around all the stalls.

Except I got waylaid by the nibbles…

Also a fantastic morning tea – the Paua frittata was amazing, as were the Pinot Rose Lavender Lamingtons (do we need the recipe???) And outside they had arranged a coffee caravan, with two hip young dudes pulling Allpress. I had brought my Keep Cup down from Auckland – but left it back at the motel this day.

I don’t normally do this – but I had three long blacks.

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