A few days ago I went to a wine tasting hosted by the Aurora Vineyard. It was quite a gregarious affair. The structure was interesting. There were three flights, in which essentially they penned their wines in a blind tasting against three others in each flight.
The Aurora Vineyard is a new producer from Central Otago. You might say, what is new about that? Well, the vineyard is large and situated in a plum position in Bendigo. The vines are now about 10 years old and only marketed under their own label for a couple of years. They have had significant show success in New Zealand and England with their first wines. Now back to the tasting.
First were the 2008 Rieslings. I am not a big fan of Riesling. I don't like floral flavours in whites, but I drink some of the steelier examples from time to time. The 2008 Aurora Riesling was compared with a couple of Claire wines, the Grosset Watervale amongst them. We thought that one stood out clearly because of its crispness, linear structure and clean finish. It turned out to be the Aurora. Wow!
Then on to the main game; the Pinots. They were from 2007 and included Felton Road, Mt. Difficulty and Peregrine. One wine was a dud, one stood out because of its length and silky finish. This must have been the Felton Road. It turned out to be the 2007 Aurora Pinot Noir. Wow! The dud was Mt. Difficulty which, in my experience, produces quite variable wine. Felton Road came second; the wine had not opened up much, maybe in 6 months it would have been different. I was amazed about the upfront flavour, structure and finish of the Aurora wine. It probably isn't the most elegant wine at this stage, maybe an Aussie in disguise.
It finished with three shirazes, two were the 2006 and 2007 Aurora Shiraz, one was French. The Aurora wines displayed more elegance and some well integrated spicyness, what we would call cool climate characteristics. The fruit was beautiful, particularly in the 07, and overall these are very good wines for their price point, although the top Victorian wines, like Dalwhinnie, would still have the edge.
Overall, a very impressive showing. Check these wines out on their website http://www.auroravineyard.com/.