2018 Akarua Pinot Noir, "RUA", Central Otago
100% Pinot Noir. A typically Central Otago Pinot Noir, with a core of fresh, juicy red berry fruit and uninhibited by heavy oak influence, made in an early-drinking style. Multi-award-winning, it has subtle savoury characters, soft supple tannins and a touch of spice. This Pinot Noir has a bright cherry-red colour in the glass and lifted floral aromas with bright notes of red fruit. On the palate, this well-defined Central Otago Pinot Noir exhibits red berries, savoury characters and a touch of spice. Supple tannins complement the wine's acidity leading to a long finish.
All fruit was sourced from the Akarua Estate vineyards in Central Otago. The vines are approximately 21 years old and grow at an average of 270 metres above sea level on a north-westerly facing slope. The vines are planted on alluvial, sandy loam based soils overlaying schist rock.
Grapes for the 'Rua' were cold soaked for five days before fermentation commenced and the cap was punched down twice daily. The wine was given another six days on the skins post fermentation to provide the tannic backbone it requires. It then spent seven months ageing in 100% French oak barriques, of which 10% were new.
The Skeggs family were among the first people to buy and plant vineyard land in Central Otago in the mid 1990s, so were lucky enough to acquire a superb north-facing site in Bannockburn. Planted in 1996, this 50-hectare site has since provided the backbone of the Akarua wines. Due to the short growing season in Central Otago, site selection is one of the key elements in making a great wine, and Akarua have a site that is among the very best. We were introduced to Akarua through the late Tony Jordan, who was the first to make their sparkling wines. Tony built Domaine Chandon in Australia, and was one of the world's leading experts in sparkling wine production. He had always believed in the potential for Central Otago to make top quality fizz and finally realised his ambition to make premium sparkling wines here when the first Akarua sparkling wines were released in 2011.
Tinpot Hut Pinot Noir
This Pinot Noir is ruby red in colour with a purple hue. It has intense aromas of black cherry, blackberry and plum mingle with a hint of redcurrant. Savoury mushroom and toasty oak characters complete the attractive nose. On the palate, it has classic black cherry notes that dominate and are supported by hints of bramble, reflecting the aromatics. Structurally, the tannins are soft and silky, and well-balanced acidity ensures good length and weight.
Tinpot Hut wines are made primarily from fruit grown on winemaker Fiona Turner's vineyard in Blind River. Fiona, who has worked with Matt Thomson for a number of years, supplements her own grapes with fruit from other growers in Marlborough and Hawkes Bay. The tinpot hut that gave its name to Fiona's wines is an old mustering hut in the remote hills between the Wairau and Awatere Valleys. The huts were used as a base for musterers as they rounded up the sheep that had been in the hills from spring to autumn. The name links Marlborough's past as a sheep farming centre with its current state as one of the world's most dynamic wine regions.