Bannock Brae ‘Marlene’s’ Gruner Veltliner 2015 and Pinot Noir 2014

For around 15 years, Crawford and Catherine Brown have run a small but very successful wine venture on Cairnmuir Road in the Bannockburn region of Central Otago. They have amassed a disproportionately large number of gold medals and critical awards , especially for their Pinot Noir wines, made from a site that is now around 2 ha in size. The vines were planted in 1998 under the consultancy of Robin Dicey, and Robin’s son James tends to the viticulture today. There was some Riesling planted, but the Browns choose to source that variety from a nearby vineyard, and they have Gruner Veltliner in the ground, planted in 2008, following the connection of hosting Marlene, an Austrian AFS student.

Pinot Noir is the focus at Bannock Brae and two tiers are produced, the more accessible ‘Goldfields’ and the flagship Bannock Brae (formerly the ‘Barrel Selection’ and labelled as such up to the 2013 vintage). The Browns are actively involved in the barrel selection process for their top wine, and Crawford looks for the attributes of "body, fine textures and length”. Although the Browns have had several different winemakers over the years, the character of the site and quality of the fruit is very consistent. The Brown’s winemakers are the very capable Sarah-Kate Dineen and Jen Parr. Here, I review the ‘Marlene’s’ Gruner Veltliner 2015 and flagship Bannock Brae Pinot Noir 2014.


  • Bannock Brae ‘Marlene’s’ Central Otago Gruner Veltliner 2015
  • Bannock Brae Central Otago Pinot Noir 2014

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