Domaine-Thomson ‘Explorer’ Central Otago Pinot Noir 2017
PM and David Hall-Jones are unique Pinot Noir winegrowers with vineyards and homes in Gevrey-Chambertin and Lowburn, Central Otago. Their Domaine-Thomson brand has been fascinating to follow, especially the Central Otago wines as their vines have gained age since being planted in 2000, and the Lowburn vineyard certified BioGro organic since 2016. The flagship Central Otago wine is ‘Surveyor Thomson, while the second label is ‘Explorer’, both names referring back to David’s forebear, who was New Zealand’s first Surveyor General.
It is easy to think of the ‘Explorer’ wine as being the more forward, earlier-drinking style, but it’s a little more complex than that. The wine is made from clones 5, 6, 777 and 115 from vines planted in 2003 in the ‘Moonblock’. The vineyard is higher than the other plantings at 295 m, so is more exposed to the wind. One approach to work with the fruit is to make a wine that is lighter and more supple through less maceration and extraction. The other is to work in with the inherent structure from the tougher skins and make something that is serious in outlook, but maybe a little more approachable than the ‘top label’. 2017 was a particularly wind year, according to general manager Claudio Heye, so winemaker Dean Shaw has made something that is not just a "simple and fruity number”. I review the 2017 ‘Explorer’ here. www.domainethomsonwines.com
FEATURED WINES IN THIS REVIEW
Domaine-Thomson ‘Explorer’ Central Otago Pinot Noir 2017Pinot Noir from New Zealand - OtagoReview Date : 15-May-2018Full, dark, deep ruby-red colour with slight purple hues, a little lighter on the edge. The nose is softly full and densely packed with aromas of savoury dark-red berry fruit melded with an amalgam of dried and dark herbs, hints of reductive earthy and mineral notes, unfolding elements of aromatic stalk, dark-red florals and raspberry liqueur. Medium-bodied, the palate has rich and sweet fruit flavours of dark-red berry fruit intermingling with nuances of fresh herbs and raspberry liqueur, along with a light thread of minerally reduction adding complexity. The palate richness forms a fine core with good depth and linearity, and the fruit is supported by fine-grained tannin structure in the background., with enlivening acidity. The flavours carry with good energy to a lingering finish. This is a rich and elegantly concentrated Pinot Noir with raspberry fruit and a thread of reduction, on a fine-textured palate with freshness. Match with duck and pork, lamb and beef over the next 4-5 years. Hand-picked fruit, clones 5, 6, 777 and 115 from the ‘Moonblock’, indigenous yeast fermented with approx. 10% whole bunches to 13.0% alc., the wine aged 10 months in 15% new French oak 2,400 cases made. 17.5/20 May 2018 RRP $29.00