Bird ‘Big Barrel’ Marlborough Pinot Noir 2014

Of the Marlborough wines that Steve Bird makes, the ‘Big Barrel’ Pinot Noir is his ‘signature’ bottling. He’s taken a different approach in the making of the wine and employs the ‘Vernou Roll’ method where he uses large 900L barrels for fermentation and maturation, and the process involves gently rolling the barrels. The wine spends very little time outside the barrels from the time of crushing to bottling. The result he reckons is greater integration of the oak, flavour, phenolic and tannin componentry, as well as greater detail and complexities.

The other important factor in the uniqueness of the wine is the fruit source, which is the ‘Dayvinleigh Vineyard’ of Kevin and Tracy Johnston, off SH63 near Renwick. The vineyard is 4 ha in size and dedicated to Pinot Noir, primarily in clones 115 and 5, with 667, 777, 6 and Abel. The vineyard is a relatively new one yielding from its two blocks for the first time in 2007 and 2011 respectively. Steve recognises ‘Dayvinleigh’ to be significant, even in its youth, and works closely with the Johnstons in managing the viticulture. With each passing vintage, they see pleasing incremental progress. The 2014 vintage saw the ripest fruit to date. Here, I review the 2014 ‘Big Barrel’ Pinot Noir.


  • Bird ‘Big Barrel’ Marlborough Pinot Noir 2014

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