2017 Charteris Central Otago Pinot Noir
Cast your mind back to 1992, if you are reading this and can’t then you were either having too much fun or you are drinking well ahead of your peers. You would recall the Barcelona Olympics, New Zealanders voted for MMP, Paul Keating had Australian politics on a string and the Chilli Peppers released Under the Bridge. We won’t mention that the Wallabies had a rare Bledisloe Cup win. The connection to the release of this wine is that I had just finished harvest at Adelsheim Vineyards in Oregon and was drinking my way through the Napa and Sonoma with Blair Walter from Felton Road. We stopped at Saintsbury Winery in Carneros and I met fellow Kiwi winemaker Steve Davies for the first time.
So here I am, 25 years later, vinifying a single fermenter of hand nurtured 115 Clone Pinot Noir from Steve’s Bannockburn vineyard. The vineyard is all of 3 hectares and I have been fortunate enough to have him share some of his precious grapes with me. It’s a unique site sitting above the river terraces along Felton and Carnmuir Roads that have become synonymous with Bannockburn. This little piece of geological gold is all the more special for the fact that the Gold miners of the late 1800s left the pristine soils in place for Steve to plant his vines into.
The slightly higher elevation and later harvest dates have given me a finesse and elegance to work with in this wine.
Bright red berry fruit leads the aroma of this wine with spicy graphite lift. A bass note of ripe Black Doris plum* providing an intensity and depth that can only come from a low yielding harvest. While the fruit is to the fore, it is the aromatic complexity of this wine that draws you in and makes you sit to attention.
The layers of fruit and spicy carry over to the palate with plum fruit at its heart. There’s a hint of dark rose petal floral drawing the tannin and acid spine through the wine. It’s all crushed velvet curtains and smoking jackets at the finish with plushness and a sumptuous length, Alluring and slight indulgent.
This wine is still a pup and I let it open over 24 hours to write these notes, but it will unfurl gently over the next 6 to 12 months revealing its powerful fruit core. Be sure to leave 6 in the cellar as it’s got 5 to 8 years ahead.
- Davies Vineyard, Bannockburn, picked on the 18thApril at 22.5 Brix
- 100% 115 Clone
- 36% Whole Bunch inclusion with the balance whole berry
- 25% New French oak Barriques with the balance 1 and 2 year old barrels
- 140 dozen produced
- Single Site, Single Clone, Single Batch, it’s one of a kind.