FELTON ROAD, Pinot Noir Bannockburn Biodynamic
Felton Road winery is located in Bannockburn, Central Otago, the most southerly wine-growing region in the world.
Here, vineyards are nestled into small microclimates totally surrounded by high mountains, many of which are snowcapped all year round. Though the location is on the edge of sustainable viticulture these microclimates consistently combine hot days, cool nights and long dry autumns: perfect for the creation of fine Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Riesling.
Central Otago is New Zealand`s only wine region with a continental climate rather than a maritime one. This brings the risk of frosts but has the benefit of low rainfall and high sunshine hours. Of the five distinct microclimates so far identified in Central Otago, Bannockburn, with its gentle north facing slopes and deep loess soils seems well suited to the production of complex Pinot Noir.
Viticulture makes extensive use of handwork and is heavily influenced by organic practice. The canopies use the Vertical Shoot Position trellis system with all pruning, positioning, shoot thinning, leaf plucking and fruit thinning performed carefully by hand. Cover crops are used to supply a natural biodiversity in the vineyard which aids vine balance as well as helping control disease and pests. The use of natural manure obtained from organic sources aids the “gentle touch” approach to the vines. Harvesting is by hand.
When making Pinot Noir, fruit passes by gravity to fermenters to prevent pumping of must. Fruit is not crushed so it ferments as whole berries while the use of a percentage of whole bunches adds complexity and structure. Using wild yeasts for the fermentation is an important part of the natural wine making philosophy, with wines being rested outdoors in small fermenters for extended maceration with up to four punch downs per day, before being run by gravity to barrel.
All the barrels are Burgundian coopered, 3-year air dried (typically 30% new oak each vintage) and selected for their slow extraction and subtlety of flavour.
Winemaker’s notes: Deep garnet with purple hints. A rather brooding nose of ripe raspberry countered with earth, toast and dark perfume… maybe deep red rose petals. The palate displays a plush, cushioned silkiness, with interplay of juicy, mouthwatering acid and ripe, rich raspberry and boysenberry fruit, offset with dusty bramble leaf. The finish is long and relatively complex for such a youthful wine, displaying minerals with dusty tannin and a kick of mocha.