The View from Felton Road across the Pinot Noir vines of Block 3, center background
I was glad to have had the chance to spend some time with Felton Road’s winemaker, Blair Walter, this past month. For someone interested in experiencing the unique cool climate wines of New Zealand’s Central Otago region, these are must try wines.
Every effort is being made at Felton Road to allow the wines to express their terroir, while capturing the intense fruit flavors the vines are capable of providing. While not inexpensive by any stretch, the entire Felton Road line-up stood out, offering a sense of vibrancy and transparency, yet with rich, ripe fruit flavors. An attractive balance indeed. Read the complete report here.
Riesling, an emerging starNew Zealand is best known for its Sauvignon Blanc, and then perhaps Chardonnay if one is considering white wines. Both better watch out. The cool climate and poor soils are allowing for the production of Rieslings that will soon be ready to compete with the world's best.
2008 Felton Road Riesling
Aromas of minerals, lime oil, and green leaves greet the nose followed by key lime pie, slate, light honey tones and incipient notes of petrol. In the mouth this is fairly sweet and lush yet there's plenty of juicy acidity to keep things balanced.
Chardonnay, second to noneThe cool climate of Central Otago has proven perfect for those who appreciate their Chardonnay on the elegnat, restrained side. With a deft use of oak, these wines have emerged as some of the most complex, balanced, focused expressions of the grape in the New World.
2006 Felton Road Chardonnay
Though this is served cool it is remarkably aromatic with green apples and green plums,a touch of vegetal herbs and an underlay of silica and clay. In the mouth this is really zippy with fine balance and a sweet/sour tension that highlights the green apple and citrus character of the wine.
Pinot Noir, a sign of things to comeWhile we tasted the soon to be relaesed 2008's with winemaker Blair Walter, the notes for those wines can be found on the site, the 2007 Pinot Noir is readily available and serves as a brilliant introduction to the house style.
2007 Felton Road Pinot Noir
This has a lovely nose that balances burnished cherry and dried raspberry fruit against delicate notes of stem, moss, dried floral tones and a whisper of cinnamony spice. Rich and soft in the mouth, bordering on lush, but again with great balance. The fruit is a touch dark, veering off towards black cherry, but the soil, mineral and woodsy tones keep this fresh and offer good complexity and length.
Each of these wines was bottled under screwcap in an effort to help preserve the freshness of the wines. Don't allow that to sway your view of these wines. They are world class wines and few producers are able to offer a range of wines that perform at this high level. I was impressed by the wines freshness, depth and balance and hope you will be as well. To read more about Felton Road click here.