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Featured Reviews




Grasshopper Rock Earnscleugh Pinot Noir 2015

23 March,2017
Phil Handford heads a consortium of owners which operates Grasshopper Rock in the Earnscleugh district of Alexandra, Central Otago. There are 7.8 ha of Pinot Noir vines planted in 2003, to clones 115, 667, 777, Abel. 5 and 114, the clones and rootstock matched to the different blocks and soils. The wine produced is a true single vineyard expression employing fruit from the whole contiguous site, though a single block wine was produced in 2014. Mike Moffitt tends to the viticulture, and the wine made by Pete Bartle of VinPro since 2009, taking over from Carol Bunn who made the 2009 back to the inaugural 2006 vintage. The wine is one of the most consistently highly awarded Central Otago Pinot Noirs. I recently tasted the 2015 vintage at the recent Pinot Noir 2017 event (click here to see my report). The 2015 growing season started off cooler than normal which retarded flower development, but a warm December gave good flowering conditions. Smaller and more open bunches resulted, and a warm autumn led to earlier picking than normal. It appears the season gave excellent fruit in good quantity. Here is my ‘Feature Review’ of the wine tasted under more controlled conditions. www.grasshopperrock.co.nz

FEATURED WINES IN THIS REVIEW



Grasshopper Rock ‘Earnscleugh Vineyard’ Central Otago Pinot Noir 2015

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Otago

19/20
Even, dark ruby-red colour with slight purple hues, lighter on the rim. The nose is softly full and voluminous with harmoniously melded aromas of dark-red cherries and berryfruit entwined with a layering of thyme herbs, unfolding nuances of liquorice and spices, and subtle suggestions of dark plums. The aromatics build in depth, intensity and concentration with aeration. Medium-fill bodied, the palate is well-proportioned with ripe fruit flavours of dark-red and black cherries with thyme herbs interwoven with spices and liquorice. The fruit richness is stylishly restrained, but possesses real depth and concentration, and is supported by fine-grained tannin extraction and balanced structure. The acidity is integrated and lends smooth drive and line, the wine carrying to a firmly bound, lingering finish. This is a rich, ripe, stylishly concentrated Pinot Noir with flavours of black cherries and thyme herbs, liquorice and spices on a fine-structured palate. This will develop over the next 6-8 years. Serve with lamb, beef and venison. Clones 5, 777, 115, Abel and 667, fully destemmed and fermented with inoculated and indigenous yeasts to 13.8% alc., the wine spending approx. 9 days on skins and aged 10 months in 28% new French oak barriques. 19.0/20 Mar 2017 RRP $32.00
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