Grasshopper Rock Earnscleugh Central Otago Pinot Noir 2016


It took me a couple of proper tastings before I realised the quality of the Grasshopper Rock ‘Earnscleigh Vineyard’ Pinot Noir from Alexandra in Central Otago. I fell into the ‘trap for young players’ by not appreciating balance and harmony. But it did not take long for me to see the consistency of delicious approachability that the wine offered. Being a wine from Alexandra, the fruitiness and punchiness that we see in other sub-regional Pinot Noirs is more toned-down. But there is no lack of richness. The vineyard, established in a contiguous block in 2003 lends this rich, but restrained expression, consistently vintage after vintage. The wine also properly reflects each of the unique growing conditions for the different years, but the wine evolves to a classical expression that appears quite positively homogeneous. Maybe that’s terroir coming to the fore? The wine ages comfortably for up to a decade, as a recent vertical tasting in November last year of vintages from the inaugural 2006 to the then yet-unreleased 2016 showed (click here to see my notes).

Phil Handford heads the syndicate of owners of Grasshopper Rock, and Mike Moffit is the man on the ground tending to the viticulture. The wine is made by Pete Bartle at VinPro. Clearly he has a handle on what the fruit gives, and how best he can allow the character of the fruit and site be expressed. Here, I review the new release 2016 Grasshopper Rock Pinot Noir. The growing season was initially cool, but a very hot February brought the fruit to ripeness. Persistent winds, very low rainfall and a high number of frosts were also features. The quality of the fruit and the final volume are deemed excellent. www.grasshopperrock.co.nz


  • Grasshopper Rock ‘Earnscleugh Vineyard’ Central Otago Pinot Noir 2016

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