Felton Road Winery is the leading brand in Central Otago. Their style of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay hit the mark for quality. Lovers of this style cannot get enough, literally! I am very fortunate to have been able to visit and tour the vineyards and winery. I’ll never forget sitting in the staff room tasting these wines while they ate freshly caught salmon.
Grabbed the imagination of the world for full-bodied and powerful Pinot. While some were a bit shallow, if you go searching beyond the surface level, you’ll find pockets of fascinating wines. The sub-regional Pinot experiments are great. The aromatic whites, especially Pinot Gris and Riesling, have the ability to be outstanding.
This is the most elusive grape. It is relatively early ripening and extremely sensitive to terroir. Its perfect place on earth is the Cote d’Or in Burgundy. So haunting are great red Burgundy’s charms that growers everywhere try to emulate them. Pinot Noir is not just a one-trick pony. Apart from the best reds in the world, you can find world-class Pinot Noir rosé and sparkling. You can even find sweet wines, whites on occasion, and I’ve tasted a decent fortified Pinot Noir too.
New Zealand shot to fame with their unique take on Sauvignon Blanc. The wines of Marlborough were unlike anything in the world at the time. And over a decade on, a lot of people still love that style. In my opinion, they dropped the ball. It could have been the next Champagne: Limited, rare, expensive. The following fashion was the robust Pinots Noir from Central Otago, for about 18 months they were the hot ticket red.
On the back of these fads, wine lovers discovered other regions. Pinot from Martinborough, Cabernet from Waiheke Island, reds from Hawkes Bay, the whites and Pinot from Nelson.
For me, New Zealand has a lot of potential, and perhaps their best wines are yet to come. I would argue that the wines are made to drink now or drink young. They are delicate with overt fruit, and most don’t chase savoury flavours.
Wine is the result you get from fermented grape juice. There is proof of wine production dating back 8000 years ago. Fashions, innovations and many other factors have influenced the way wine has evolved over the years.
The wine grape is impressive. It contains everything you need to make grape wine except for the yeast, which lives on the outside of the skins.
Human inputs can influence the final product, including the viticulture (growing) choices. And the winemaker can shape the wine to a point too.
The best wines of the world often refer to terroir. Terroir is a French term that refers to all the climatic, geological and topographical influences on a specific piece of land. And it is true that neighbouring vineyards, grown identically, can taste noticeably different.
Fun fact; most of the colour for wines comes from the skins. There are only a handful of grapes that have red juice. Alicante is the most well known of these grapes.
By macerating the juice on the skins, the wine gains tannin and flavour. Certain compounds change the chemistry of the wine too.
Red wines tend to have higher alcohol. More tannin and more oak flavours compared to other styles of wine. But the thousands of grapes and terroirs they grow in influence this.
The Wine Depository
I, Phil, have been running The Wine Depository since 2011. The Wine Depository exists to make sure you are drinking the good wines. You can browse and pick what is interesting to you. Or you can make contact with me. I’ll make sure you get what you want, to your palate, to your budget and to your door.