Featured Reviews

Grasshopper Rock Pinot Noir 2012

08 November,2013
Phil Handford and his partners are on top of their game, having made a succession of outstanding Pinot Noirs from their Earnscleugh vineyard just out of Alexandra in Central Otago from the first vintage in 2006. Having the 2010 vintage of Grasshopper Rock awarded the Champion Wine of the Show trophy at the Air N.Z. Wine Awards will be hard to beat, but I believe that the quality and style has been established now. While there will be continual improvements in building in greater levels of complexity and the increasing consistency and extract from vines that are growing in balance and maturity, it will be vintage variations that will be more manifest. This could be seen in the 2011 vintage wine which was to me, more racy and grainy than the 2010 (click here to see my review of the 2011 wine). I was impressed with my preview of the 2012 Grasshopper Rock Pinot Noir at the Central Otago Spring Release tasting held at the end of September (click here to read my report, which outlines the 2012 vintage conditions), noting its piquant perfumes and pure, fresh fruit expression, and rated it in my leading group. Winemaker Pete Bartle at VinPro is interpreting the fruit superbly. Here, I review the wine as a ‘Feature Review’. www.grasshopperrock.co.nz


Grasshopper Rock ‘Earnscleugh Vineyard’ Central Otago Pinot Noir 2012

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Otago


Bright, light ruby-red colour with youthful appearance. The nose is tightly bound with primary red berry fruit, and red and violet perfumes, with subtle fresh herb elements. This has beauty and vitality in equal measure. Medium-bodied, the wine is presented with elegant proportions and finesse. Bright, aromatic, lifted dark red berry and floral fruit profile, along with slightly elevated acidity. The acid provides fruit vibrancy and a poised mouthfeel, and a very fine, flowery tannin line carries the palate. This has concentration at the core, and it will grow in richness over the next 6+ years. 18.5+/20 Jan 2014

Even, moderately dark ruby-red colour with youthful purplehues. The nose is elegantly proportioned with concentrated and densely packed, but refined aromas of dark cherry berry and raspberry liqueur notes. This has brilliant focus and purity, with very sensitive and integrated oaking. Medium-full bodied, rich and softly concentrated, but tightly bound fruit flavours of dark raspberries and cherries are the feature on palate. The fruit is supported by significant extraction, the tannins very fine and supple. Subtle, lacy acidity underlines the palate, enhancing the fruit richness and sweetness and provides energy and drive. Lifted, piquant flavours of dark cherries and raspberry liqueur flow to a very long, lingering, fine-textured finish. This is an elegant and concentrated Pinot Noir with focussed, piquant framboise flavours, a very fine mouthfeel and extraction, and subtle acid vibrancy. Match with roasted duck and pork, and with Asian cuisine over the next 6-8 years. Clones 667, 777, 115, Abel, 5 and 114 from vines planted in 2003, the fruit destemmed and fermented to 13.4% alc., the wine aged 9 months in 30% new French oak barriques. 19.0/20  Nov 2013 RRP $32.00

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