Posts Tagged ‘Central Otago Pinot Noir’

11 July 2011

DECANTER & Central Otago Pinot Noir

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow......

Dear Wine Friends
Firstly, my apologies for the lack of posts of late – I could offer 101 excuses, but I won’t. Please forgive my tardiness.

Today I awoke to a blanket of snow covering the landscape, creating a magical winter wonderland. Yes, after weeks of waiting, the snow has finally arrived in my home town of Wanaka. The ski bunnies are happy, which in turn makes the locals happy. For those that are not familiar with Wanaka – it is a small resort town located just north of the 45th parallel in Central Otago in the South Island of New Zealand. Nestled within a majestic backdrop of rugged mountains, Wanaka sits at the southern end of Lake Wanaka (New Zealand’s fourth largest lake). It is the gateway to the Mount Aspiring National Park and an array of exciting experiences. You can ski down mountains (or across); hunt for deer, wild pig or chamois (a kind of mountain goat/antelope); fly-fish for trout (brown and rainbow); fly over glaciers or jump out of planes (preferably with a parachute); you can hike up mountains or trek the terrain on horseback or mountain-bike. From boating adventures to water sports, we have experiences to suit all. Our trendy cafés and restaurants offer sumptuous cuisine created from locally produced food – and as for the wine, Central Otago can proudly boast some of the finest Pinot Noir (and white varieties) in the world. Now just to support the latter, I thought I’d share some news – at the recent Decanter World Wine Awards 2011(one the world’s most prestigious Wine Shows) Central Otago Pinot Noir ran ‘HOT’. Out of the 26 New Zealand Pinot Noirs that won Silver or above, 15 were awarded to Pinot Noir from Central Otago. Not a bad effort from the Central Otago wine producers. Of course I’m also proud to say that our Archangel Pinot Noir 2009 (which incidentally is only our second vintage) was awarded a SILVER. So naturally we are thrilled!

So, back to Wanaka and Central Otago – in case you decide to visit us, I thought I’d share a few of my ‘Hot Picks’ (in no particular order) which includes places to stay, places to eat and ‘must do’ experiences. Of course, there are numerous others which you can find on

* Aoturoa Villa: – luxury and comfort in a boutique villa with the warmest of hospitality.
* Relishes Café: on Wanaka lake front – great food, great wine and the friendliest of staff.
* Cardona Ski field: – A great way to get your natural high – safe for beginners and with challenging ski runs for the more adventurous.
* Wanaka Skydiving: – Highly recommended by my son (sorry I’m too chicken) and perhaps not if you suffer heart problems!
* Ridgeline Wine Tours: – Relax and enjoy the wine. Let your host introduce you to some of Central Otago’s little gems.
* Wellwood Gallery and Archangel Wine Tasting Room: A sensual Wine and Wood Experience in a unique gallery setting.
* Puzzling World: – Quirky and fun, no matter how old you are!
* Rob Roy Track: Nature at its purest! Glaciers, waterfalls, alpine flora and fauna, etc,etc….simply stunning!

10 February 2011

Romancing the Pinot Noir

Three handsome Australian men, Central Otago Pinot Noir and sumptuous cuisine – what more could a girl ask for? This was Feast Restaurant in Cromwell just a week ago – a dinner hosted by Central Otago Winegrowers for three visitors from Melbourne. Our special guests for the evening were Ben Edwards, Chris Crawford and Dan Sims – sommeliers, matchmakers, composers of the finest wine and exquisite cuisine. They came to share their passion – their new wine venture, Pinot Unearthed.

Their charm and infectious enthusiasm would captivate any audience. Somewhat smitten by these handsome young men, I listened intently as Ben spoke of their wine journey and how all three had fallen passionately in love – with Pinot Noir that is. It was going to be an interesting evening given the vast number of Pinot Noirs sitting on the table.

So what is it about Pinot Noir that arouses such strong emotions? This fickle grape variety with its temperamental nature, often described as the ‘heartbreak’ grape – and can see the viticulturist, winemaker (not to mention the vineyard owner) delve into the depths of despair. But they often say that nothing worthwhile is easy and Pinot Noir is one of these things. At the Pinot Noir Celebration (27-29 Jan 2011), guests and enthusiasts from as far a way as Sweden and Scotland descended into the resort town of Queenstown to embrace all things Pinot Noir. Wine lovers seduced, waxing lyrical about this elusive grape variety. Pinot Noir more than any other wine, has the power to seduce and arouse the senses in a physical, emotional and spiritual way. With the alluring notes of “earthy, truffle, gamey”, Pinot Noir’s aromas have been likened to human pheromones – those that stimulate sexual attraction.

So it’s no wonder that so many of us have been captivated by this enchanting wine variety with its rather capricious personality. Like Ben, Chris and Dan (the three sommeliers), there will be many others that will follow a similar path – a journey in search of the “holy grail of wine” that we call Pinot Noir. Whether it’s the romance ‘of the wine’ or ‘in the wine’, for me it doesn’t really matter – With Valentines Day just around the corner I know I will be kissed by an angel – Archangel Pinot Noir that is – a memorable way to celebrate this romantic occasion!