Friday Feature – October 9, 2009

Hello and happy Friday!

This Friday Feature is all about one of my favorite grape varietals, Pinot Noir.

Offered on the newsletter today is a really small allocation that I was offered of one of New Zealand’s top Pinot Noir.  This is not something your going to crack open on an everyday basis, but if you feel like treating yourself to one of the great examples of Pinot Noir from the Southern Hemisphere, then you may want to jump at this.

Please let me know if you have any questions about this wine or any that you may be looking for.

Hope you are having a great weekend,



Last year, when I first wrote about the wines of New Zealand producer Rippon, I told the story of an emerging region on the south island called Central Otago.

I introduced the story of the Mills family and their winery located at the edge of Lake Wanaka.  While I speculated about the future of Central Otago Pinot Noir, today I’m revising my previous statements about the future.  It is my belief that the future is now!

In the coming weeks, I will be assaulted with some of the best Pinot Noir’s being produced outside of Burgundy from, you guessed it, Central Otago.  Producers like Rippon, Dry River, Felton Road, and a future rising star called Cashburn will all make their way through these doors.

All of these come in extremely limited quantities, and so for now I offer out my measly allocation of the amazing ‘07 Rippon.

Nick Mills is the current winemaker of his family property.  His parents Rolfe and Lois had the vision and foresight to realize how special their family property was when they moved back to it in 1974.  Planting of the vineyards started in the early ‘80’s, and work in the vineyard still is at the top of Nick’s priority list.

Rippon features a very unique micro-climate due to its proximity to the lake.  It also offers various soil composure including a good deal of schist soil.  Nick cares a great deal about these vineyards and his conversion of the property to bio-dynamics is a move to increase the health of these vineyards and thus increase the quality of the grapes.

Nick’s wines are not meant to overwhelm the palate, but seduce it with its elegant fruit, great texture, and ability to age and gain earthy complexity.

Earlier I mentioned the greatness of the ‘07 vintage.  Talking with several winemakers including Blair Walter, winemaker of Felton Road, many have mentioned that it was not the easiest vintage.  The crop was very small, partially because of early frost and then a cool beginning to summer.  Luckily late summer warmed up and the autumn was long and sunny.  If you want purity, and even delicacy in your Pinot Noir, then this is a very exciting vintage.  But then again, in Rippon’s case, it almost always is!  You can drink this now, but really this should have a few years bottle age on it, drinking best from 2013-2022.

“Nick Mills has rapidly become one of the most feted producers in Central Otago, continuing to apply biodynamic principles to his 15-hectare vineyard in Wanaka. His 2007 Pinot Noir has a bouquet cut from the same cloth as the 2006 albeit less intense, but embracing a sense of mineralite that is rare in Central Otago. Succinct dark cherry fruits, a hint of boysenberry and a touch of spice. As usual, there is wonderful definition. The palate is medium-bodied with very fine tannins, good acidity, real tension and sense of weightlessness towards the redcurrant and dark cherry-infused finish. Nice persistency and leaving a gleeful tingle on the tongue. This is another great Pinot from Nick: a worthy follow-up to his splendid 2006.  92 Points, Neal Martin.”

Craig Perman
Perman Wine Selections
802 W. Washington Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60607
Phone 312-666-4417
Fax 312-666-4487

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