Desert Heart Joins Wine2Trade
The Central Otago brand is very strong in the domestic market, and it’s due in part to the very high quality and strong fruit expressive character of the Pinot Noir wines from across the region. The plantings now pip Gisborne and are ahead of Waipara, making it the third largest vignoble after Marlborough and Hawke’s Bay. Although there is the commonality of strong fruitiness, there is incredible diversity. That’s part of the attraction of the wines of the whole region. My partner Sue Davies who operates the ‘Wine2Trade’ distribution business has found there is real interest expressed by her clients, wine retailers and sommeliers, as well as interested consumers in the different sub-regions and styles that are emanating from Central Otago, just as there is in Marlborough, with the Wairau and Awatere Valleys.
On our trip to Central Otago last month, we explored the sub-regions and met up with Denny Downie and Jane Gill of Desert Heart in Bannockburn (click here to see my blog on the ‘Turbo Chicks’). Sue and the Desert Heart owners made an instant connection, and realising thatWine2Trade had no dedicated Bannockburn wine producer, the interaction lead to Desert Heart becoming part of the portfolio. (The Desert Heart synopsis for the ‘Wine2Trade’ portfolio can be seen by clicking here.) The Bannockburn area enjoys the warmest and driest growing conditions of Central Otago, lending the wines richness and ripe fruitiness that endow the wines with sweetness and flesh, along with considerable structure. There is certainly a regional terroir.
The Desert Heart wines are essentially sourced from the home block at the end of Felton Road. Denny and Jane were co-owners of a later vineyard development also on Felton Road that supplied fruit for the label, but that vineyard has now been sold, and fruit for the whites is now obtained from neighbouring sites. The wines are made at the nearby Carrick winery with Denny and Jane overseeing the vinification. I review the current wines Desert Heart wines being offered. www.desertheart.co.nz
Disclaimer: These wines are distributed by ‘Wine2Trade’, the company under which ‘Raymond Chan Wine Reviews’ operates.
FEATURED WINES IN THIS REVIEW
Desert Heart Central Otago Riesling 2010Riesling from New Zealand - OtagoReview Date : 10-Sep-2013Hand-picked fruit from the company’s Felton Road vineyard, WBP and cool-fermented with indigenous yeasts to 13.0% alc. and 7.2 g/L RS. Bright, pale straw-yellow colour, pale on rim. The bouquet is softly full and rich with attractively lifted lime and lemon fruit entwined with honeysuckle and minerally notes and a delicate toasty element. Off-dry to taste and elegantly proportioned, bright, bold and lively lime and yellow floral fruit flavours are enriched by honied notes. Nuances of citrus zest, minerals and a toasty layer add detail. The palate features a fine, textural thread and crisp acidity, providing a phenolic-based line that leads to a very long, dry finish showing toast, honey and flowers. This is an attractive floral and honey flavoured off-dry Riesling with some textures, just beginning to develop some toasty development notes. Serve as an aperitif and with Asian influenced cuisine over the next 4+ years. Winemaker: Jane Docherty. 17.5+/20 Sep 2013 RRP $24.95 Disclaimer: This wine is distributed by ‘Wine2Trade’, the company under which ‘Raymond Chan Wine Reviews’ operates
Desert Heart Central Otago Pinot Gris 2012Pinot Gris from New Zealand - OtagoReview Date : 10-Sep-2013Brilliant, pale straw colour with light green hues, near colourless on rim. The nose is very fine, tightly bound and elegantly presented with pure aromas of white stonefruits and flowers, delicate nuances of herbs and honeysuckle, and mineral elements. Off-dry to taste, delicate flavours of white stonefruits, pears and honeysuckle are supported by a very fine textural line. The acidity is fresh and lacy, enhancing the subtle fruit sweetness, and the mouthfeel is one of balance and harmony. The flavours are carried to a light, nuanced, off-dry finish with lingering minerally notes. This is a delicate, off-dry Pinot Gris with an attractive harmony and freshness. Serve as an aperitif or match with fine Asian cuisine over the next 3+ years. Cromwell Basin fruit from a biodynamic site, WBP and indigenous yeast fermented in stainless-steel to 13.5% alc. and 7.0 g/L RS. Winemaker: Peter Bartle. 17.0/20 Aug 2013 RRP $27.95 Disclaimer: This wine is distributed by ‘Wine2Trade’, the company under which ‘Raymond Chan Wine Reviews’ operates
Desert Heart ‘Renaissance’ Bannockburn Central Otago Chardonnay 2012Chardonnay from New Zealand - OtagoReview Date : 10-Sep-2013Mendoza and clone 6 fruit from Bannockburn, hand-picked and WBP, fully barrel-fermented to 14.0% alc., the wine aged 12 months in 10% new French oak barriques, undergoing batonnage and 100% MLF. Bright, pale straw-yellow colour, pale on rim. The bouquet is full, with deep and complex aromas of citrus fruits, nutty barrel-ferment and spicy oak elements, flinty lees work and smoke. Medium-full bodied, bright and fresh flavours of citrus fruit are intermixed with spicy, toasty oak and nutty elements. The mouthfeel is creamy and rich from the barrel-ferment, balanced by fresh, racy acidity. The wine is still youthful, and yet to integrate. Waves of toasty oak and reductive, flinty lees work emerge and feature on a crisp, sustained finish. This is a bold, citrussy Chardonnay with spicy oak and flinty complexities and a youthful mouthfeel that will come together over the next 4-5 years. Serve with poultry and pork dishes. Winemaker: Francis Hutt. 18.0+/20 Sep 2013 RRP $29.95 Disclaimer: This wine is distributed by ‘Wine2Trade’, the company under which ‘Raymond Chan Wine Reviews’ operates
Desert Heart ‘Magic Moments’ Central Otago Rosé 2015Rose from New Zealand - OtagoReview Date : 21-Aug-2017Light strawberry peach-pink colour with some depth, lighter on the rim. The bouquet is softly full and densely packed with aromas of savoury, cooked strawberries, quince and peach, and an amalgam of red florals with nutty suggestions. Dry to taste and medium-full bodied, the palate possesses rich, lush and juicy flavours of savoury strawberries, quince and peach fruit, with lifted red florals and subtle nutty notes. The palate has good weight and presence, and mouthfilling flavours. The wine flows smoothly, with light, background acidity, along with a little unctuousness and roundness, to a gently concentrated finish of strawberries and peaches. This is a mature rich and luscious dry rosé with mouthfilling flavours of savoury strawberries, quince and peaches on a rounded palate with balancing freshness. Serve with antipasto, poultry and pork dishes over the next 18 months. 100% Pinot Noir fruit from Bannockburn, saigneed, the wine spending 24 hours on skins and fermented in seasoned French oak to 13.5% alc. and 2.5 g/L RS, the wine aged on lees. Winemaker: Francis Hutt. 17.0/20 Aug 2017 RRP $23.00 Disclaimer: This wine is distributed by ‘Wine2Trade’, the company under which ‘Raymond Chan Wine Reviews’ operates.
Desert Heart ‘Seduction’ Bannockburn Central Otago Pinot Noir 2010Pinot Noir from New Zealand - OtagoReview Date : 10-Sep-2013Very dark, deep, black-ruby colour with garnet hues. The bouquet is full and evenly expressed with well-integrated aromas of dark red berry fruits, earthy spices and dark herbs. Medium-full bodied, rich and lusciously sweet fruit flavours of dark red berries are entwined with sweet earth and savoury spice elements. The mouthfeel is smooth and seamless with fine, silky tannins and fresh, lacy, underlying acidity harmoniously integrated. The fruit has depth and a rounded core that forms a positive backbone and the flavours flow effortlessly to a long, lively, smooth finish with lingering savoury red cherry and berry nuances. This is a smooth and seamless Pinot Noir with savoury red berry fruit flavours and a racy mouthfeel. Serve with Asian and Middle Eastern fare over the next 4- years. Fruit from the company’s two Felton Road vineyards, hand-picked and indigenous yeast fermented to 14.0% alc., the wine aged 11 months in French oak barriques. Winemaker: Francis Hutt. 17.0+/20 Sep 2013 RRP $29.95 Disclaimer: This wine is distributed by ‘Wine2Trade’, the company under which ‘Raymond Chan Wine Reviews’ operates
Desert Heart ‘Untamed Heart’ Bannockburn Central Otago Pinot Noir 2010Pinot Noir from New Zealand - OtagoReview Date : 10-Sep-2013An alternative blend at the same level as the premium ‘Desert Heart’ wine. Fruit from the company’s Felton Road vineyard given a cold soak and fermented with a portion of whole bunches to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 11 months in approx. 30% new French oak barriques. Winemaker: Francis Hutt. Dark, deep, ruby-red colour with youthful purple hues on edge. The nose is softly full with intense and solidly presented aromas of ripe, dark berry fruits and subtle savoury whole bunch dried herb and earthy complexities. Medium-full bodied, lusciously up-front flavours of ripe, dark berried fruits unfold layers of game meat, savoury dried herbs, filling the palate with sweetness. The fruit is underscored by lively acidity and the mouthfeel has vitality. Fine, supple tannins provide good backbone and soft textures, adding to the fulsome mid-palate. The flavours fade to a clean, soft and dry finish. This is a rich and succulent, up-front Pinot Noir with complex savoury flavours. Serve with slow cooked game meats and casseroles over the next 4-5 years. 18.0/20 Sep 2013 RRP $34.95 Disclaimer: This wine is distributed by ‘Wine2Trade’, the company under which ‘Raymond Chan Wine Reviews’ operates
Desert Heart Central Otago Pinot Noir 2009Pinot Noir from New Zealand - OtagoReview Date : 30-Jun-2015Full, dark, deep ruby-red colour. The bouquet is full, concentrated and voluminous with lifted red berry fruit and florals, unfolding waves of savoury secondary nuances of dried herbs, game and nuances of undergrowth. This has complex whole bunch notes melding with the beginnings of secondary development. Medium-full bodied, lusciously rich and ripe fruit flavours of dark red berry fruits are interwoven with spicy oak, game and undergrowth interest The complexity of flavour is the feature. Fine-grained tannin extraction forms a smooth backbone and the mouthfeel is lively with acid tension that carries the flavours to a very long, sustained and elegant finish showing an array of fruit, game and spicy herb nuances. This is a rich, lush and layered Pinot Noir with complex flavours, secondary interest and a lively mouthfeel. Serve with wild duck and pork, or with Mediterranean cuisine over the next 5-6 years. Fruit from the company’s Felton Road vineyards, given a cold soak and fermented with a portion of whole clusters to 14.0% alc., the wine aged 11 months in 33% new French oak. Winemaker: Jane Docherty. 18.5/20 Sep 2013 RRP $39.95 Disclaimer: This wine is distributed by ‘Wine2Trade’, the company under which ‘Raymond Chan Wine Reviews’ operates