Central Otago Tasting with Blair Walter

Central Otago in the south of New Zealand’s South Island has almost too much going for it: great scenery, great lifestyle, and now almost freakishly good, if not (yet?) great, Pinot Noir. JANCIS ROBINSON

Central Otago has exploded onto the world pinot scene in recent years, and promising producers are emerging with every new crop of grapes. It’s here, in New Zealand’s most continental growing region, that you’ll find comparatively powerful, intense pinots with deep colors, rich dark fruit flavors, and enticing floral and mineral lift. The best of these wines offer fruit aromas and flavors as close to those of the Côte de Nuits as any non-Burgundies get. STEPHEN TANZER

Central Otago is the Southern-most grape-growing region in the world located at latitude 45º south (similar to both Oregon’s Willamette Valley, U.S.A., and the Northern Rhone Valley in France). The region’s vineyards are located east of the resort town of Queenstown and include the small towns of Wanaka, Cromwell and Alexandra. Central Otago is well known as the foremost producer of New Zealand’s stonefruit, primarily cherries and apricots.

In place of our annual Central Otago Tasting this year we have opted for quality over quantity. We are delighted to welcome Blair Walter doyen of Central Otago and the man behind Felton Road to pour their new releases in store. Many of these wines are limited and rarely available.

Along side Blair and his Felton Roads we thought we would show a couple of our favourite wines from the region which rarely get the air time of their more market saturating neighbours. Rippon is one of the best producers in the region and we’ve long championed the wines. We will also show relative new comer Sato. When Roscoe was in central Otago last year he asked winemakers about any new dynamic producers we might not have seen and there was one name on their lips: Sato.

While a small collection, the tasting is better for it. These three producers are the tip of the spear.

The team at PWS