James Suckling 95
"A perfumed nose of strawberries, sour cherries, raspberries, violets, vanilla and baking spices. Its medium-to full-bodied with lively acidity and fine tannins. Balanced and compact with a velvety texture and a bright core of fruit on the mid-palate. Long finish. Chewy. Needs a few years to soften, but already impressive. Screw cap."
Intense floral notes of lavender and violets along with plum, clove and dark chocolate. This smaller berried and earlier harvest at Cornish Point contributes saturating fruit, spice and hints of sandalwood on the palate. Brooding with serious intent amongst the black plum and mocha flavours, the entire package is utterly complete and there is no doubt time will reveal further complexity and intrigue.
100% Pinot Noir Sourced from four vineyards in the Bannockburn subregion The nature of being a gravity flow winery allows grapes to be gently destemmed without pumping 20% whole cluster fermentation Native yeast fermentation Aged for 13 months in French oak (30% new) No fining or filtering
The winerys story begins with extensive research by Stewart Elms (inspiring the Elm tree logo) in 1991 which ultimately identified the north facing slopes at the end of Felton Road in Bannockburn as some of warmest and most ideal sites in all of Central Otago. Thanks to these findings, proprietor Nigel Greening made the decision to purchase the land which would eventually be transformed into the defining vineyard sites for Felton Road.
Releasing their first commercial vintage in 1997, Felton Road has since developed an impressive reputation both in and outside New Zealand over the last three decades thanks to the singular vision of winemaker Blair Walter. While the winery is best known for its single vineyard expressions of Pinot Noir, Blairs limited production Chardonnay and Riesling bottlings are equally jaw-dropping. Even if you arent familiar with this winery, Im confident that your best customers will be. Not only do they represent one of the top wineries in New Zealand, but they are also widely considered to be one of the best Pinot Noir producers in the world at-large.
Fast forwarding to present day, the winery remains committed to sourcing fruit from only their estate vineyards and everything is hand-picked. Since 2002, the vineyards have been managed organically and biodynamically, with their four vineyards eventually receiving full certification in 2010 by Demeter. Their aim is to promote a biodiverse ecosystem in their vineyards through the planting of cover crops which are kept in check by the herd of goats that call the vineyards home and their choice to naturally fertilize the vineyards with a clutch of chickens which forages amongst the vines.
In the winery, Blair employs a minimal intervention approach indigenous yeasts, no fining or filtration, and no other additives. He keeps oak usage minimal with less than 30% new French oak on all of Felton Roads wines and approximately 15-30% whole cluster, depending on the vintage.
Felton RoadView all from Felton Road
"A good winemaker has a thousand ways to make a wine "better" but better by whose assessment? It has taken us over a decade to gradually acquire the confidence to understand that the wine should be what the wine should be.
Like any good parent, one should encourage but not mould. If one sees a trait that is perhaps not what one would like to see, the solution lies not in how to cure the problem, but in learning to understand where it came from. Each year we have a new family to raise and our increased understanding can pass back to the new generation's schooling in the vineyard.
Gravity flow is the start of a gentle process, avoiding the need to pump fruit uphill. Ferments are spontaneous from the wild or indigenous yeasts that are in our vineyards and winery. Inert gas is shunned. Oak is a subtle companion, not a loud guest. The Malo is simply a function of letting the warm spring air into the cellars. Pinots are unfined and unfiltered, Chardonnays are increasingly treated in the same way. The bottling of single vineyard and single block wines are based on their speaking of a place, not on their size or hierarchy of flavour."