I’ve got a little secret to tell – I am not always a big fan of Central Otago Pinot Noir. Pinot is all about delicacy and finesse rather than sheer power and often I find the wines a little bit too big. But that’s just me. It is an incredibly diverse region which has over the years gained legions of passionate fans around the world.
This inaugural vintage of the High Garden Vineyard also comes with a hell of a lot of street credibility. It’s the personal project of Robin Tedder MW and is the highest vineyard in Gibston, Central Otago’s coolest region. It’s planted on a steep north facing slope which was planted twenty years ago with a range of clones and was made by Jen Parr, who is also the acclaimed and award winning winemaker at Valli. Enough said really.
Mid cherry red in colour it opens with beautifully seductive aromas. Powerful sweet dark cherry fruit with prominent young oak are lifted by savoury mushroom consommé, and truffle with a dusting of spice. It’s then dry, finely balanced and quite light weight for Otago thanks to that vineyard altitude, yet still carries a powerful core of fleshy, gamey fruits with bright acidity and mouthcoating tannins. The finish is long and strong, with a classic peacock’s tail gaining more floral and spicy complexity as it lingers till the very end. It’s seriously impressive and an outstanding first release. It might not be cheap, but it is worth every cent, and more.