Plumbing depths of cherished drop

Actor Sam Neill at the Central Otago Pinot Noir Celebration.
Actor Sam Neill at the Central Otago Pinot Noir Celebration.

Delegates toasted the opening of the 10th Pinot Noir Celebration in Queenstown last week with a master class in Central Otago's best-known grape.

A three-day celebration with at least 40 of the region's wine producers started with a master-class in Central Otago sub regions and the subtle differences depending on the provenance of pinot noir. Delegates were given samples of 2012 pinot noirs and an overview of the region's produce.

Felton Rd winemaker Blair Walter said there were distinctive aspects within sub regions and Central Otago generally had high sunshine hours, high ultraviolet exposure, low rainfall and low humidity.

Sub region altitudes changed the wines and some vineyards now had vines planted in the 1990s.

"So we have vines over 20 years old, not huge but enough to understand what it means [for the wine]."

Wine writer Bob Campbell said he hesitated to use the word but sophisticated was the most apt descriptive for Central Otago pinot noir.

"It smacks of confidence, they are confident wines. They're not beginner wines, they show to me a great deal of thought and experience."

The Mirror