Wednesday, 12 June 2024 13:25

Central Otago - Finding the perfect dozen

Written by  Sophie Preece

The Central Dozen isn’t about finding the “shiniest examples” of Central Otago Pinot Noir, says Felton Road Winemaker Blair Walter of a new annual selection programme.

Instead, the initiative looks to reflect subregional diversity, winemaker styles, and quality across a spectrum of price tiers, starting with a selection of 12 wines from the 2022 vintage. “It’s really exciting to see what comes to the fore in a blind tasting using rigid show judging conditions, but also encompassing the idea what we want to achieve,” Blair says of the first tasting, which was led by Emma Jenkins MW a week before harvest. “We are looking for diversity and quality and aspiration, celebrating different subregional styles or winemaker styles within the selection.”

The range of 2022 Pinot Noirs, which will be sent to wine reviewers, influencers and trade around the world, includes the “usual suspects” of higher priced wines, right through to bigger volume, lower priced Pinots, he says. “We were excited to see that happen because that’s one of the beauties of Central Otago; that Pinot Noir can be made right through the different price levels in achieving incredible quality.”

Looking to the 2024 vintage, Blair says Bannockburn had an “exceptional” season, with a warm, dry summer capped by a cool March, slowing development for a lingering harvest.

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