Schist Hills from McArthur Ridge
From the downfall of what was to be one of the largest winemaking developments in Central Otago has sprung a number of enterprises by vineyard owners who have decided to ‘go it alone'. The pulling out of overseas investment exacerbated by falling markets saw the ambitious McArthur Ridge operation in the Alexandra Basin fail due to the associated winery going into receivership in 2008, with growers losing their fruit.
In response, John and Christine Rasmussen established Schist Hills utilising their Pinot Noir plantings that were originally destined for McArthur Ridge, making their first wine from the 2009 vintage. They live on the ‘Home Block' with 2 ha planted mainly to clone 115 fruit, with some 667 and UCD5. They have supplemented this with Gewurztraminer from Black Ridge nearby and Pinot Gris grown in Gibbston. From 2012, the Rasmussens will source Pinot Gris from Black Ridge, with the intention of having the wines represent the Alexandra region. The Schist Hills wines are made by Kevin Clark and Fred Reinds at the Black Ridge winery facility. Christine tends the vineyard with advice from Robin Dicey, and she now manages 48 ha of vines on behalf of all the private owners who were also involved in the McArthur Ridge scheme. www.schisthills.co.nz
FEATURED WINES IN THIS REVIEW
Schist Hills Central Otago Pinot Gris 2011Pinot Gris from New Zealand - OtagoReview Date : 25-Jun-2012Full, bright blush colour with some depth. This has a full and softly fresh nose of yellow stonefruit and berry fruit aromas along with nuances of red florals, musk, talc and spices. Slightly sweet to taste, bright, juicy and lush flavours of stonefruits, red berries and musk are intermixed with minerally elements. This is light-weighted and slender in presentation, the lower acidity contributing to a soft, matty texture and mouthfeel. The palate has a long finish with sweet notes of honey and pale red fruits. This is a light, attractively musky, slightly sweet Pinot Gris to match with Asian cuisine over the next 3+ years. Fruit from the Gibbston Valley, fermented partially in new oak to 13.6% alc. and 11.8 g/L rs, 16.5+/20 Jun 2012 RRP $26.95