Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Maude, Valli, Burn Cottage Pinot Noir

Maude, Valli and Burn Cottage are three interesting Central Otago producers. The following is a quick review of their current Pinot Noir releases.

Maude is a small family company, based in the isolated Maungawera Valley near Lake Wanaka. I visited the winery a couple of years ago and was impressed with their complex savoury Pinot Noirs. They produce two Pinot Noirs. The 2016 Maude Central Otago Pinot Noir is from purchased fruit in Central Otago. It shows quite fruity ripe dark cherry with medium length (90 points). The 2016 Maude Mt Maude Vineyard is from the home block. The wine has strong lifted aromatics. Black cherry on the palate has good intensity. Whole bunch adds to the wine's complexity, but fruitiness still dominates (93 points). I prefer the 2014 wines.

Valli is Grant Taylor's venture since 1998. Previously he was winemaker at Gibbston Valley for 13 years. His interest is to show off the characteristics of Central Otago's subregions. The 2015 Valli Waitaki Pinot Noir, from a cooler subregion, has a perfumed aroma and is quite light on the palate. Having said this, the red berry fruit shows good concentration. The 25% or so new oak is well integrated (92 points). The 2015 Bannockburn Pinot Noir is from a cooler site than is typical here, as the vineyard sits on the high altitude terrace. The wine is complex, with cherry, plum, olive and thyme flavours noticeable. The wine is quite reserved now. 30% whole bunch add to the savoury character of this wine. It is my wine of this tasting (94 points).

Burn Cottage is totally focussed on Pinot Noir. The 2015 Burn Cottage Moonlight Race Pinot Noir includes 30% fruit from the estate vineyard, the rest is bought from two other vineyards. This is a very soft and smooth Pinot Noir. This is quite an elegant wine, not too much to think about (92 points). The 2015 Burn Cottage Pinot Noir from the estate vineyard shows that softness as well. Dark cherry and chocolate on the palate, good concentration and a savoury finish (93 points). In 2014 they did something interesting. They exchanged the fruit with Valli, to see what the other winemaker would do with the fruit. The 2014 Burn Cottage Valli Pinot Noir is the most concentrated of the three, but not overly so. The cherry flavour is ripe and smooth. There is raspberry and tobacco, too. The tannins in the Burn Cottage wines are less pronounced than in the other two producers (93 points). 

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