Carrick Winery and Vineyard – new ownership and 2019 releases
Carrick Winery and Vineyard is nestled in the Bannockburn subregion of Central Otago, adjoining 24 ha of BioGro organic certified vineyards (certified since 2008). The winery & cellar door setting overlooking the Bannockburn Inlet is absolutely breathtaking; surrounded by native plants, lush lavender bush and art sculpture displays.
Carrick has a long history in the region, known for its Pinot Noir and EBM Chardonnay. After almost 30 years in the region, Carrick has new owners and an exciting outlook for the future.
The winery was founded in 1994 by Barbara and Steve Green, who planted a rabbit-infested block on the shores of the yet to be filled Lake Dunstan with Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc. The winery and restaurant was completed some years later, in 2002, and features an underground cellar, home to about 500 barrels.
In 2016, Auckland businesswoman Elizabeth Zhong bought Carrick, but after a few years of ownership, moved her focus to her other businesses and listed the winery for sale. Francis Hutt, the previous winemaker at Carrick, took on the general manager role following the departure of both Elizabeth Zhong and Steve Green, who moved to Nelson.
Francis hired winemaker Rosie Menzies to assist him in 2018, prior to him leaving for British Columbia, Canada in 2019. Following Francis’s departure, Rosie became chief winemaker. Her first vintage as chief winemaker was 2020, which is one I very much look forward to checking out.
In January this year, Southlanders Tony and Alison Cleland were looking for a new business venture, and as regular Carrick patrons who love Carrick wine, the opportunity to purchase Carrick was an excellent fit. The two spend their lives running a large dairy business in Northern Southland and a specialist farm management investment company, called FarmRight. The business-minded owners are already making some exciting changes and have hired a sales & marketing manager, Catherine Douglas, to help out winemaker Rosie Menzies and vineyard manager Cliff Wickman.
Here, I review a number of Carrick wines: the 2019 Dry Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Unravelled Pinot Noir and 2018 Pinot Noir. All the aromatics are made in similar winemaking techniques to build up texture and complexity. The Pinot Noirs are showing Bannockburn's signature tannin structure.
FEATURED WINES IN THIS REVIEW
Carrick Organic Dry Riesling 2019, Central OtagoRiesling from New Zealand - Central Otago & WaitakiReview Date : 14-Apr-2021Bright, pale straw-yellow with a slight green hue, even colour throughout. The nose is softly full with great energy, nuances of lime, mandarin zest, melded with a hint of honey and fennel pollen. Medium-bodied, dry to taste, the palate is filled with lime, mandarin and citrus zest; a rush of chalky mineral phenolics filled the palate, intermixed fennel pollen, lime flower and a hint of honey. Crunchy acid tension persists on the palate for an extended period, left a mouthwatering, refreshing finish. This is a citrus-flavoured dry Riesling with brilliant acid tension and a mineral drive. Match with shellfish and pork sausages over the next 6-8 years. Handpicked fruit from Arthur's Vineyard, wild fermented in old oak barriques and aged for 7 months. 12% alc, 0.6 g/l RS. BioGro organic certified. 18.5/20 (93 pts) Apr 2021 RRP $28
Carrick Organic Sauvignon Blanc 2019, Central OtagoSauvignon Blanc from New Zealand - Central Otago & WaitakiReview Date : 14-Apr-2021Brilliant, moderate straw-yellow, slightly lighter on the rim. The nose is full and complex, nuances of stonefruit melded with lightly toasted nuts, soft butter, a hint of flint and a lick of lime. Medium-bodied, aromas of lime, apricot and lemon curd have a vibrant core, enriched by a custard-like creaminess, spices, hint of toasted almonds, linger with brilliant acidity to a lengthy finish. The wine is complex and elegantly presented, smooth texture of lemon curd adorned by a slightly chalky mineral line, supported by the perfectly ripened fruit and mouthwatering acidity. Barrel fermented character is well-proportioned, added delicate interest but not intrusive. This elegant Sauvignon Blanc with complexity and finesse flows with great energy and acidity on a smooth mineral drive. Match with sausage & white bean cassoulet and grilled fish over the next 5 years. Handpicked, wild fermented in a combination of stainless steel tank and old oak barriques (32%). The barrels were fermented to dryness, with a touch of residual sugar left in the tank portion and aged for 8 months before blending and bottling. 13% alc, 2.55 g/l RS. BioGro organic certified. 18.5/20 (93 pts) Apr 2021 RRP $25
Carrick Organic Pinot Blanc 2019, Central OtagoPinot Blanc from New Zealand - Central Otago & WaitakiReview Date : 14-Apr-2021Bright, even pale yellow. The nose is softly growing, filling the glass with nuances of pear, apple, and citrus intermixed, butter, egg custard and subtle spices. Medium-bodied, dry to taste, aromas of apple & pear melded with citrus peels, subtle egg custard and spices lingers to a sustained finish. The wine is textural, smooth and lightly creamed texture provides a great body and flow, along with chalky minerals; refreshing acidity is integrated carry the fruit purity with elegance. This is a textural Pinot Blanc with the purity of fruit, lacy acidity and barrel-fermented complexity. Match with chawanmushi and smoked chicken breast over the next 3-5 years. The second release of Pinot Blanc handpicked fruit from a 0.4 ha block in the Cairnmuir Terrace Vineyard in Bannockburn. Whole-bunch pressed, wild fermented in old oak barriques, lees stirred during ferment, aged for 7 months in barrel. 13.5% alc, 0.85 g/l RS. BioGro organic certified. 18.5/20 pts (93 pts) Apr 2021 RRP $36
Carrick Organic Pinot Gris 2019, Central OtagoPinot Gris from New Zealand - Central Otago & WaitakiReview Date : 14-Apr-2021Bright, pale yellow, slightly lighter on the rim. The nose is gently full, elegantly presented, nuances of pear, stonefruit, interweave subtle floral fragrances and a fine dusting of spices. Medium-bodied, aromas of stonefruit, pears have vibrancy and elegance, melded with white floral scent and a light dusting of spices. Textural palate build-up by fine-textured phenolics, lees-aged creamy palate and richness of spices. Lively acidity brings freshness and balance to the palate. This is a flavoursome Pinot Gris with ripe fruit, spices and textural details. Match with satay chicken and Thai cuisine over the next 3-5 years. Handpicked fruit from Cairnmuir Terraces and Arthur’s Vineyards, wild yeast fermented in a combination of old French oak barrels (55%) and stainless tank. Barrels portion were fermented to dryness, a touch of residual sugar left in the tank portion and aged 7 months before the wine was blended and bottled. 12.5% alc, 3.53 g/l RS. BioGro organic certified. 18.5-/20 pts (92 pts) Apr 2021 RRP $28
Carrick Unravelled Organic Pinot Noir 2019, Central OtagoPinot Noir from New Zealand - Central Otago & WaitakiReview Date : 14-Apr-2021Moderate, deep ruby-red with a black hue, slightly lighter edged. The nose is fragrant and softly lifting aromas of wild herb, black cherries, blackberries, melded with delicate spices. Medium-light bodied, strawberries' nuances come through, along with blackberries and cherries, cinnamon bark and cloves unfolds with black peppercorns and an amalgam of dark herbs. Lacy acidity flows smoothly, lingering with fine-grained tannin carries tea fragrances to a moderate finish. This is a youthful Pinot Noir with fragrant fruit, spices and a fine-grained tannin structure. Match with pasta ragu and lamb Koftas over the next 3 years. Handpicked fruit, wild fermented in tank to 13.5% alc, aged in French oak barriques for 8 months, 7% new oak. BioGro organic certified. 18-/20 pts (89 pts) Apr 2021 RRP $27.50
Carrick Organic Pinot Noir 2018, Central OtagoPinot Noir from New Zealand - Central Otago & WaitakiReview Date : 14-Apr-2021Moderate, deep ruby-red, lighter on edge. The nose is full, robust underlying alcohol power. Aromas of black cherries, blackberries interweave wild thyme, perfume and barrel spices. Medium-full bodied, generous aromas of dark cherries, blackberries melded with dark herbs, spices, unfolding earth and savoury elements. The mouthfeel is rich with the intensity of fruit and ripe fine-grained tannin, lends a lengthy, supple finish. Savoury earth and dark herbs added complexity. This is a powerful, dark-toned Pinot Noir with generous fruit and complexity. Match with lamb roast and beef pies over the next 5+ years. Fruit from a blend of 4 different parcels, Pinot Noir planted on their own roots. Destemmed, wild yeast fermented to 14.5% alc, aged 9 months in barrels, 20% new. BioGro organic certified. 18.5/20 pts (93 pts) Apr 2021 RRP $45