Featured Reviews

Prophets Rock 2017 Pinot Gris. 2016 Dry Riesling, 2017 ‘Infusion’ and ‘Rocky Point’ Pinot Noirs and 2015 ‘Home’ Pinot Noir

11 July,2018

Since the change of ownership and consolidation of two different vineyard sites in Bendigo for Prophet’s Rock, the company has grown in stature such that the wines are becoming a phenomenon in the global Pinot Noir community. The main reason for this has been the joint venture of Prophet’s Rock winemaker Paul Pujol with Francois Millet, winemaker of Domaine Comte de Vogue in Chambolle-Musigny. The friendship grew from Paul working a vintage at the world-renowned Burgundy estate, and discussions led to Francois Millet coming to Central Otago to select fruit from the Prophet’s Rock ‘Home’ vineyard, vinify and blend a wine that is known as the ‘Cuvee Aux Antipodes’, first made in 2015. The wine is very individual and of very high quality. There have been successive vintages made.

However, it’s fair to say that Paul Pujol was already on a track of making Central Otago wines with a difference. His experience overseas has ingrained him with the adoption of techniques more commonly seen in Europe rather than in New Zealand. His white wines are indigenous yeast fermented and given extended aging on lees for greater textures and complexities. Observers and critics would say the Pinot Noirs are well-structured in the Burgundian model, rather than New World fruit-bombs. Yet, Paul takes a wide approach to making his wines, ensuring the ‘Rocky Point’ wines are more accessible than the ‘Home’ vineyard wines. Recently, he introduced the ‘Infusion’ Pinot Noir, made without the normal extraction from the grape skins in an attempt to gently capture the expression of pure fruit and the vineyards

Here I review a selection of new releases, the 2017 Pinot Gris, 2016 Dry Riesling, 2017 ‘Infusion’ and ‘Rocky Point’ Pinot Noirs, and the2015 ‘Home Vineyard’ Pinot Noir. www.prophetsrock.co.nz


Prophet’s Rock Central Otago Pinot Gris 2017

Pinot Gris from New Zealand – Otago


Brilliant straw-yellow colour with light golden tints, pale on the rim. The nose is fresh and full with vibrant, up-front and rich aromas of ripe yellow stonefruits and hints of pear and honeysuckle harmoniously melded with complexing smoke, nutty lees and mineral elements. This has richness, intensity, detail and depth. Medium-dry to taste and medium-full bodied, the palate has bright and lively flavours of yellow stonefruits with hints of pear, honeysuckle and exotic florals entwined with complex wet stone, nutty and minerally lees notes. The flavours are rich and near-succulent, and the palate possesses a degree of opulence. The fruit forms a fir, linear core, and the wine flows with positive drive, and integrated acidity leading to a lingering finish of stonefruit and honeysuckle. This is a rich, up-front, medium-dry Pinot Gris with bold flavours of yellow stonefruits and honeysuckle, with pear notes entwined with complex minerally lees on a positive, linear palate. Match with Middle Eastern and Asian fare over the next 4-5 years. Hand-picked fruit from the two estate vineyards, WBP and indigenous yeast fermented to 13.4% alc. and 10.9 g/L RS, the wine aged 10 months on lees. 1,134 cases made. 18.5+/20 Jul 2018 RRP $39.99

Prophet’s Rock Central Otago Dry Riesling 2016

Riesling from New Zealand – Otago


Full, even, light golden-hued yellow colour with some depth and slight green tints, lighter edged. The nose is elegant in proportion with intense and well-concentrated aromas of lime fruit integrated with wet-stone minerals, unfolding white floral elements. Off-dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has a refined and concentrated heart with a fine-textured core showing soft lime and lemon fruit flavours along with some piquant white floral notes melded harmoniously with gentle mineral nuances. This is smooth-flowing with light lacy acidity, and the wine carries along a very fine-textured phenolic line leading to a concentrated, lingering finish if limes, florals and minerals. This is a refined but concentrated dryish Riesling with lime fruit and piquant florals, and subtle mineral complexities on a smooth-flowing, linear palate. Serve as an aperitif and with seafood over the next 4-5+ years. Hand–picked fruit from the two estate vineyards, WBP and indigenous yeast fermented to 13.1% alc. and 7.1 g/L RS, TA 7.9 g/L and pH 3.19, the wine aged 10 months on lees. 230 cases made. 18.5/20 Jul 2018 RRP $39.99

Prophet’s Rock ‘Infusion’ Central Otago Pinot Noir 2017

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Otago


Pale cerise colour with a little depth and slight purple hues on the rim. The nose is fresh with bright and lively, fragrant aromas of strawberries and cherries, along with fresh fermentation esters along with whole berry confectionary elements, unfolding lifted red florals. The nose is delightfully accessible and uncomplicated with fruit purity. Medium-bodied, the palate is bright and vibrant with lively, fragrant fruit flavours of strawberries and cherries with lifted red florals, unfolding some whole berry fermentation confectionary elements. The palate is sweet-fruited and gently mouthfilling, quite open and accessible. There is no real extract or grip, but fresh acidity provides tension and energy. The wine carries easily to an aromatic finish. This is a delightfully accessible, up-front, fragrant-fruited Pinot Noir with strawberry, cherry and whole berry fermentation lift on a refreshing palate. This is akin to Beaujolais in the best sense. Match with antipasto, tapas, pizza and pasta over the next 2 years. 90% clone 5 fruit from the ‘Rocky Point; and 10% Abel clone from the ‘Home’ vineyard, hand-picked, destemmed, given 10 days on skins pre-ferment and indigenous yeast fermented with a high proportion of whole berries without the skins to 13.5% alc., the wine not undergoing MLF and aged on lees. 424 cases made. 16.5+/20 Jul 2018 RRP $34.99

Rocky Point Central Otago Pinot Noir 2017

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Otago


Dark, even, ruby-red colour with youthful purple hues, paler on the edge. The nose is elegantly presented with tightly bound and firm aromas of ripe blackberry and cherry fruit entwined with subtle notes of dark herbs and liquorice, and a soft layer of mineral reduction. This is fresh and poised with intensity. Medium-bodied, the palate has a sweet core of ripe black cherry fruit entwined with dark herbs and hints of liquorice and red florals, along with nuances of minerally reduction. The fruit is supported by fine-grained tannin extraction which allows the fruit sweetness to feature, but provides good structure and grip. The wine carries with good linearity, leading to an elegant, lingering finish. This is a sweetly-fruited Pinot Noir with a fine, concentrated core of black cherry fruit with liquorice and minerally reduction on a fine-textured palate with good structure. Match with lamb, beef and venison dishes over the next 5-6+ years. 90% of the fruit predominantly from Prophet’s Rock ‘Rock Point’ vineyard, hand-picked, destemmed and indigenous yeast fermented to 13.0% alc., the wine aged 10 months in 15% new French oak barrels. 1,951 cases made. 17.5/20 Jul 2018 RRP $32.99

Prophet’s Rock ‘Home Vineyard’ Central Otago Pinot Noir 2015

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Otago


Dark, even ruby-red colour, a little lighter on the edge. The nose is softly full with gently building depth and concentration of ripe black cherry and berry fruit aromas melded with an amalgam of dark herbs and liquorice, along with savoury earth and some minerally reduction adding complexity. The aromatics form a tight and refined core. Full-bodied, the palate has rich and mouthfilling flavours of ripe, dark red and black berry fruit entwined with a subtle layering of savoury herbs, and complexing earth and game nuances. The fruit is well-concentrated with real presence and underlined by fine-grained flowery tannins providing plenty of structure, with balanced, integrated acidity. The flavours carry to a full, sustained finish. This is a rich and mouthfilling Pinot Noir with ripe fruit and an array of complexing nuances showing the beginning of secondary interest, on a fine-structured palate. Match with coq au vin, casseroles and slow-cooked game meat over the next 6-8+ years. Fruit from the ‘Home’ vineyard, hand-picked, destemmed and indigenous yeast fermented with a high portion of whole berries to 14.0% alc., the wine aged 17 months in 35% new French oak barrels. 1,046 cases made. 18.5+/20 Jul 2018 RRP $64.99

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