Neck Of The Woods – Pinot Noir 2019
Neck of The Woods is the wine brand AJ Johnson started in 2016. AJ, who is also in the television industry, began his wine journey in the vineyard and working with the wine at Mountford in North Canterbury. Before starting his own brand, he flitted between wine and television for around 15 years. AJ does not own vineyards but runs his business as a negociant and has good relationships with producers in Central Otago, Hawke's Bay and Marlborough.
The artistic label on this Pinot Noir features the pioneer of NZ Pinot, customs officer Malcolm Abel, who coincidently was also an Auckland winemaker. In his work as a customs officer, he confiscated a cutting of a Pinot Noir clone believed to be from the legendary La Tache Vineyard in Domaine Romanée Conti. Understanding the significance of the smuggled plant material, Malcolm Abel paid for it to be put through quarantine at Te Kauwhata, the state-owned viticulture research station. The vine eventually ended up in Ata Rangi vineyard and winery in Martinborough and is now widely used across NZ.
The 2019 vintage was a magical one, apart from the small crop. Frost hit during flowering, affecting bunch size and resulting in low yielding crop. However, the low crop boosted concentration and quality. With the above factors and having Jen Parr as the winemaker of this wine, you can see the magic in this Neck of The Woods Pinot Noir 2019.
FEATURED WINES IN THIS REVIEW
Neck of The Woods Bendigo Pinot Noir 2019, Central OtagoPinot Noir from New Zealand - Central Otago & WaitakiReview Date : 19-May-2021Moderate ruby-red with a black hue and good transparency, slightly lighter on the rim. The nose is softly full and captivating with lifted floral, black tea fragrance melded with blackberries, Doris plums and a dusting of spice. Medium-bodied, succulent aromas of blackberries, plums interweave thyme, liquorice, black tea and a subtle earthy layer; prickly barrel spices linger to a bright, long finish. The fruit is vibrant, have the right balance of ripeness and acidity, showing delicate fragrant nuance. A silky palate supported by fine-grained, powdery tannin and a smooth-flowing mouthfeel. This is a charming dark-fruited Pinot Noir with aromatic botanicals and an attractive silky palate. Match with venison carpaccio and duck over the next 5+ years. 13.5% alc. Handpicked by clone, there were three ferments ranging from 11%-25% whole clusters, average time on skins 24 days. Aged in French oak barrels for 11.5 months, 20% new oak. 19-/20 pts (95 pts) May 2021 RRP $38