Gibbston Valley 2014 Single Vineyard Pinot Noirs
As one of the pioneering vineyards and wineries of Central Otago as it is today, Gibbston Valley has a remarkable track record of superb wines from the first releases in 1987. The resource of old vines, some over 30 years old is invaluable and is increasingly appreciated by Central Otago wine lovers. Chris Keys is the winemaking guardian of the vines and the winemaking, assisted by Sascha Herbert and Matt Swirtz, who along with Grant Rolston and Gary Ford of ‘Vinewise’ who tend the viticulture run a most efficient and fun operation for the owners led by Philip Griffith.
Last year, I reviewed the full range of 2013 and 2012 Pinot Noirs under the Gibbston Valley brand from ‘Gold River’ through to the ‘Central Otago’, ‘Single Vineyard’ and ‘Reserve’ bottlings (click here to see my reviews). I found the quality of the wines quite astounding, putting them up with the best of the region. I rated the ‘School House’ Bendigo Pinot Noir 2012 at 20.0/20 points. While the flagship ‘Reserve’ Pinot Noir has pride of place for the winery’s portfolio with its distinctively rich house style, I was particularly taken by the expression of site in the ‘Single Vineyard’ wines, reflecting the Bendigo and Gibbston Valley sub-regions.
Here, I review the 2014 ‘Central Otago’ and ‘Single Vineyard’ Gibbston Valley Pinot Noirs. Chris Keys reports that the influence of older vines, earlier picking, increased whole cluster and shorter maceration times of 20 days, rather than 30 days, is resulting in greater beauty and natural ‘pinosity’ (my interpretation of his words) which these 2014s are showing. Chris says "I love the vintage”. www.gibbstonvalley.com
FEATURED WINES IN THIS REVIEW
Gibbston Valley Central Otago Pinot Noir 2014Pinot Noir from New Zealand - OtagoReview Date : 23-Jul-2015Full, very dark, deep, black-hued purple-red colour, very youthful in appearance. The nose is tight and concentrated with fresh, bright, ripe and vibrant primary fruit aromas of black and dark red cherries, intermixed with red plum and violet floral fragrances. Subtle dark herb and whole cluster stalk nuances are integrated with the fruit, which grows in depth and volume in the glass. Medium-full bodied, full, bold and up-front flavours of juicy and succulently ripe black berry and cherry fruit show with sweet plum elements. Savoury whole bunch stalk flavours are entwined with thyme herb notes and soy sauce nuances. The mouthfeel is lively with fresh acidity and fine-grained tannins to balance the lusciousness. This has structure and power driving the wine to a long, well-balanced, complete finish. This is a full, up-front and bold, sweet-fruited Pinot Noir with freshness and fine structure. Serve with lamb, beef and venison over the next 6-8+ years. A blend of 90% Bendigo and 10% Gibbston fruit, four sites in Bendigo and one Gibbston site, clones 5, 6, 114, 115, 667 and 777, fermented to 14.0% alc. with 17% whole bunches, the wine aged 10 months in 20% new oak. 18.5+/20 Jul 2015 RRP $45.00
Gibbston Valley ‘China Terrace’ Bendigo Central Otago Pinot Noir 2014Pinot Noir from New Zealand - OtagoReview Date : 23-Jul-2015Clones 667 and 777 from the ‘China Terrace’ site at 320 m.a.s.l., hand-picked and fermented with 27% whole clusters on average to 14.3% alc., the wine spending 14-28 days on skins and aged 10 months in 40% new oak. Full, even, purple-hued black-red colour, lighter on the rim. The nose is elegantly proportioned and tightly bound with intensely penetrating aromas of dark red cherry fruit infused with violet florals and black minerals. This is very fine at the core, and unfolds subtle layers of thyme herbs and whole bunch savoury aromatics to complement the perfumes. Medium-bodied, the palate features tightly concentrated flavours of black cherry essence. This is rich and succulent, the lusciousness revealing black florals, thyme herb and whole cluster stalk nuances. The precision of the fruit expression is matched by very fine-grained, flowery tannins which allow the detail and nuance of spiced plums, violet florals and black fruits to show. This has lovely acid cut, lending freshness and tension, and the wine flows easily to a long, concentrated, spicy and aromatic finish. This is a beautifully elegant and lusciously concentrated Pinot Noir with freshness, precision and very fine structure. Match with poultry and pork dishes over the next 9-12 years. 19.5/20 Jul 2015 RRP $65.00
Gibbston Valley ‘School House’ Bendigo Central Otago Pinot Noir 2014Pinot Noir from New Zealand - OtagoReview Date : 23-Jul-2015Very full, black-hued purple-red colour, very youthful in appearance. The nose is initially very elegant, tightly bound and slender in expression, but packed with aromas of ripe black cherry essence and liquorice, along with black and violet floral perfumes and subtle notes of thyme herbs. The aromatics are harmoniously interwoven and unfold layers of black minerals and complexing savoury whole bunch stalk and dried herbal detail that blossom to fill the bouquet. Medium-full bodied, the palate is fulsome and bold, opening to show a broad array of ripe, rich, fleshy fruit flavours of dark raspberries, red and black plums, liquorice and spice notes. This is complexed by layers of whole bunch stalk, stem and dried thyme herb flavours that meld easily with the fruit. The tannins are fine-grained and lend supple, supporting textures, and the breadth and roundness of the palate enhanced by soft acidity. The wine carries through to a strong, grainy-textured, long and sustained dry finish. This is a full, open and complex layered Pinot Noir with fleshy fruit, savoury whole cluster detail and supple tannin extraction and structure. Match with lamb dishes and Mediterranean cuisine over the next 8-10 years. Clones 114, 667, 777 and 115 from the ‘School House’ site at 420 m.a.s.l., hand-picked and fermented with 37% whole clusters on average to 14.3% alc., the wine aged 10 months in 33% new oak. 19.5-/20 Jul 2015 RRP $65.00
Gibbston Valley ‘Glenlee’ Gibbston Central Otago Pinot Noir 2014Pinot Noir from New Zealand - OtagoReview Date : 23-Jul-2015Clones 777 and 115 from the ‘Glenlee’ site, close-planted at 6,000 vines per ha, hand-picked and indigenous yeast fermented with 23% whole clusters to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 10 months in 30% new oak. Even, dark ruby-red colour with youthful purple hues, lighter on rim. This has a very full, voluminous nose with ethereal layers of ripe dark red berry and plum fruits intermixed with complexing savoury dried herb, earth, undergrowth and game notes and whole bunch stalk and stem nuances. The aromatics build in depth and concentration, showing black floral and mineral detail with time in the glass. Medium-full bodied, full, plush and gently packed flavours of ripe black-berried and sweet plum fruits are harmoniously melded with waves of whole bunch savoury stalk and stem perfumes, and complexed by dried herb, earth and mineral notes. This has a deep, positive core that unveils black and violet floral lift. The fruit is underlined by very fine-grained, velvet-smooth tannin extraction, and the wine flows seamlessly with subtle acid energy, leading to a long, refined, supple finish. This is a velvety smooth and fine-textured Pinot Noir with deep and complex savoury flavours showing whole cluster detail. Match with roasted duck or pork dishes over the next 7-9 years. 19.0+/20 Jul 2015 RRP $65.00
Gibbston Valley ‘Le Maitre’ Gibbston Central Otago Pinot Noir 2014Pinot Noir from New Zealand - OtagoReview Date : 23-Jul-2015Full, very dark, black-hued purple-red colour, near impenetrable and very youthful in appearance. The nose is very full, solid and deeply packed with aromas of ripe black berry and plum fruits complexed by layers of dried thyme herbs, black minerals earth and Asian spices, all melded harmoniously with complexing whole bunch stalk elements. The density and completeness of the aromatics is a feature. Medium-full bodied, the palate is fulsome and solidly presented with mouthfilling, sweetly ripe black berry, cherry and black plum fruit. The flavours are complexed and poised with black minerals, spices, thyme herb and subtle whole bunch savoury elements. The mouthfeel is smooth and satin-like with very fine-grained, flowery tannin extraction underlining the fruit. Soft acidity contributes to the plush textures, and enhances the completeness of the palate as it flows smoothly to a sweet, fine-textured, long, lingering finish. This is a complete Pinot Noir with densely packed flavours of black fruits and subtle savoury complexities, on a smooth, substantial palate. Match with roasted red meats and semi-hard cheeses over the next 8-10+ years. Clone 10/5 fruit from the ‘Home Block’, vines 31 y.o., hand-picked and indigenous yeast fermented with 10% whole clusters to 13.6% alc., the wine spending 28 days in cuvaison, and aged 10 months in 40% new oak. Certified BioGro organic. 19.5/20 Jul 2015 RRP $85.00