Cental Otago Pinot Noir
Central Otago is a cool-climate viticulture region to the extreme - 'winemaking on the edge.' With its dramatic landscape, semi-continental climate and passion of many wine loving people, Central Otago is a perfect match for the fickle Pinot Noir grape.
Pinot Noir is varietially correct in cool-climates when cropped low between 4-5T/ha, competition for growth is encouraged, as is low vigour and low fertility while still maintaining good vine balance to ensure physiologically ripe grapes providing optimum fruit quality.
Central Otago's dry, sunny continental climate with a large diurnal temperature range combined with warm autumn days provides an ideal growing environment for Pinot Noir. Soils are predominately free draining silt loams, decomposing schist and alluvial river gravels, low in fertility but high in mineral richness. The climate and soils combine to develop an intensity of rich berry-fruit flavours, but also soft elegant tannins to produce long-lived Pinot Noir.
Stylistically, Central Otago Pinot Noir is dictated to by sub-regional topo-climates. Gibbston Valley district has sweet, soft upfront fruitiness with flavours of raspberry, strawberries and fresh herbs and spicy notes. The warmer Bannockburn, Alexandra and Lowburn areas produce fuller, more tannic wines with vibrant cherries and dark fruit flavours. Bendigo appears to be the warmest topo-climates in Central Otago producing fully developed red fruit characteristics with wines of great depth and structure. A new sub-region of Tarras has formed producing typical fruit forward styles and wines of elegance and finesse.