Three Great Wineries


Central Otago Pinot Noir: Prodigious High-End Wine Produced in New Zealand

J.M. Towers


Meet three of New Zealand’s best wineries: Felton Road Wine Ltd., Hinton Estate Vineyard, and Mount Michael Wines.


Central, as New Zealanders affectionately refer to the Central Otago region, is located in the middle of the South Island. Its landscape attracts national and international tourism, for its territory includes vast rolling lands, jagged snow-capped mountains, rivers of a light blue color and extensions of hills covered in a fine grass that sways gently in the wind.
Pinot Noir from New Zealand

It’s also the southernmost wine-producing area in the world, and its vast temperature variation between night and day, along with warm summers and snowy winters, make it ideal for the cultivation of pinot noir, the French grape that is so popular in the Burgundy region.

Due to their liveliness, mineral overtones, smoky character, and flavors reminiscent of wild fruit, the pinot noirs from Central Otago have become known as some of the best in the world, alongside those of France.

It was a Frenchman, Jean Désiré Féraud, who planted the first grapevines in Central Otago around 1864, in a small orchard called Monte Christo, near the Waikerikeri Stream in the valley of the same name. Ever since then, pinot noir production here has done nothing but grow and expand its renown.

Due to their liveliness, mineral overtones, smoky character, and flavors reminiscent of wild fruit, the pinot noirs from Central Otago have become known as some of the best in the world, alongside those of France.
Pinot Noir from New Zealand

Most of the place’s wineries, aware of their fame, gear their production toward the crafting of high-end wines. Singular creations that have risen to obtain prestigious international awards in the last few years, even casting a shadow upon the renowned Burgundy pinot noirs from Beaune and Côte d’Or.

There are large wineries in the region, but if I had to choose a few, I would not hesitate to mention: Felton Road Wine Ltd., Hinton Estate Vineyard and Mount Michael Wines.

Modern winery Felton Road Wine Ltd. is located at the epicenter of Bannockburn, in the heart of Central Otago. Among its pinot noirs, a standout is its 2014 Felton Road Pinot Noir Block 3, a deep-nose wine where dark fruit aromas and complex rose notes can be identified. The taste is opulent, highlighting its notes of intense dark chocolate, mocha and very ripe red fruit. A sophisticated and sensual wine that can be mistaken for no other, for it is truly unique.
Pinot Noir from New Zealand

Hinton Estate Vineyard is the best-known cellar in the Alexandra area. Its fame and reputation come stamped by five generations of a single family that have worked assiduously to offer some of the best wines from Central Otago. The Hinton Estate Pinot Noir 2008 offers a deep ruby red color and aromas of black cherry, plums with herbal hints of herbs and walnut oak—a wonder. It sparkles in the mouth with its velvety tannins, flaunting a long and flavorful finish as is well deserved by a pinot noir of its stature.

Mount Michael Wines, in Cromwell, established in 1994, is a small winery, couple Sue and Martin Anderson’s dream. There they craft the Mount Michel Central Otago Pinot Noir 2015, which immerses those who taste it in a kind of sensory paradise, thanks to its nutty aromas with hints of barrel oak and mocha. Upon tasting, it stands out for its potency and elegance, with a flavor of plums and very ripe blackberries. Its persistence is such that, half an hour after having drunk it, it can still be perceived in the mouth. Pure pleasure, a festival of pinot noir, a true New Zealander legacy.  ■


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