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Featured Reviews

Carrick 2017 ‘Unravelled’, 2016 ‘Crown and Cross’ and 2014 ‘Excelsior’ Pinot Noirs

18 July,2018

Carrick Wines in Bannockburn, Central Otago was sold to Elizabeth Zhong, who owns Kennedy Point Vineyard on Waiheke Island, in 2016 with a transitional period where founders Steve Green and Barbara Roberston-Green assisted with the change-over. Steve and Barbara left to reside in Nelson at the start of February this year, and the management and operations have undergone some adjustments, as they do in such situations. Francis Hutt has taken on the general manager role, and he has just hired a winemaker to assist him in that role. Cliff Wickman who has extensive experience in Central Otago and overseas has assumed the viticulturist role, and there is now a new administration manager. Otherwise Carrick runs much the same, with Francis and the Greens in regular contact. In 2018, Carrick processed 140 tonnes of estate fruit, pretty near average, and there are a small number of contract wines made too. The range of wines is based on the conventional range that has been developed from the start, with several innovative bottlings which incorporate ‘edgy’ techniques as introduced by Francis. This makes Carrick one of the more progressive and adventurous – but dependable quality producers in the region. Here, I review three Pinot Noirs that span the range of aspiration, the good value 2017 ‘Unravelled’, a limited production 2016 ‘Crown & Cross’ from Alexandra fruit, plus the flagship 2014 ‘Excelsior’.


Carrick ‘Unravelled’ Central Otago Pinot Noir 2017

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Otago


Dark, deep, ruby-red colour with slight purple hues, lighter on the rim. The nose is softly full, up-front and voluminous with deep aromas of ripe dark raspberries along with black cherries and a subtle amalgam of dark-red plums and dark herbs. The aromatics are fresh and vibrant and possess floral and spice detail. Medium-full bodied, the palate has a good core of ripe black cherry and berry fruit showing good sweetness and richness that grows to fill the mouth. The fruit is supported by light, supple, fine-grained tannin extraction with integrated acidity resulting in a well-balanced palate. The palate unveils some plum and herbal notes as the wine carries to a rich, fulsome finish. This is a full and up-front Pinot Noir with ripe and rich dark cherry and berry fruit with supple tannins and a fulsome finish. Match with tapas, pasta and barbecued fare over the next 3-4 years. Dijon clone fruit from ‘Le Chat’ vineyard on Carrick, vines planted 1995, destemmed and indigenous yeast fermented to 13.0% alc., the wine aged 11 months in 10% new French oak. Certified BioGro organic. A 160 barrel blend, 4,000 dozen made. 18.0/20 Jul 2018 RRP $28.00

Carrick ‘Crown & Cross Central Otago Pinot Noir 2016

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Otago


Dark, even ruby-red colour, lighter on the edge. The nose is taut with a well-concentrated, intense and penetrating core of ripe black cherry and berry fruit entwined with subtle notes of dark herbs and liquorice, with earthy and mineral notes, unveiling black and violet florals with aeration. Medium-full bodied, the palate is rich with a concentrated core of vibrant black cherry and berry fruit layered with an amalgam of dark herbs, nutty oak, liquorice and minerals. This has firmness and linearity, and the sweet, succulent flavours flow with plenty of energy along a fine-textured line with balanced acidity adding to the drive. The wine carries to a long and concentrated, sustained finish of black cherries, florals, herbs and minerals. This is a rich and succulent, intensely concentrated Pinot Noir with black fruits, herbs, liquorice and minerals on a fine-textured palate. Match with lamb, beef and venison over the next 5-6 years. Dijon clone fruit from a high elevation site in Alexandra, indigenous yeast fermented with 20% whole bunches to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 11 months in 20% new French oak. A 10 barrel single vineyard lot, 250 dozen made. 19.0-/20 Jul 2018 RRP $36.00 Cellar door only.

Carrick ‘Excelsior’ Central Otago Pinot Noir 2014

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Otago


Full, even, dark-red colour with slight purple hues, lighter on the rim. The bouquet is elegantly proportioned with fine and firmly concentrated, deep, fragrant aromas of ripe black cherry and dark raspberry fruit along with a subtle savoury amalgam with nutty, cedary oak, dark herbs, unfolding red florals. This has a beautiful layering of aromatics that show complexing perfumes and detail. Medium-full bodied, the palate is finely presented with a concentrated heart of dark-red berry fruit with subtle savoury notes of dark and dried herbs, nutty and cedary oak, with earthy and floral nuances. The fruit is rich and sweetly succulent, encased by fine-grained tannin extraction and structure. The wine carries to a long, lingering finish of dark fruits and nutty oak. This is a rich and concentrated Pinot Noir fine fruit and aromatics with savoury complexities and a refined, but considerable structure. Match with slow-cooked game meat over the next 6-8+ years. Fruit from ungrafted 10/5 clone vines, planted 1993 in the ‘Cairnmuir’ vineyard, destemmed and indigenous yeast fermented to 14.0% alc., the wine aged 16 months in 25% new French oak. Certified BioGro organic. A 6 barrel selection, 140 dozen made. The label displays the Grahame Sydney painting ‘Weatherboards at Cluden’ 1979. 19.0/20 Jul 2018 RRP $95.00

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