2016 Akarua Pinot Noir

Second only to Sauvignon Blanc in New Zealand, Pinot Noir is planted all over New Zealand. In Central Otago where this wine is produced, however, Pinot Noir is king. There are varying sub-climates in the region ranging from quite warm to a little bit cool. As one might expect the warmer climates see riper richer wines and the cooler ones edgier wines with more crunchy fruit. In the Bannockburn appellation where this wine is produced the climate is quite warm and this richer style definitely comes through.IMG_4221

Akarua is one of the largest vineyard owners in the area with about 125 hectares of land under vine at the time of writing. Of course much of this land has come to them through acquisition of other vineyards. Their vineyards in the area provide a variety of slight variances in climate and exposure, which contribute in the final blend of a lot of their wines.

The wine in question, the 2016 Akarua Pinot Noir is definitely very elegant right off the bat. Upon putting my nose the glass their is definite dark cherry, dark plum, baking spice, liquorice, earth and thyme profile going on here. Perhaps a little over-oaked for my taste with a definite proportion of new oak but it’s well integrated and with a couple of years should integrate. On the palate the wine is medium-bodied but definitely moving towards medium +. Concentrated cherry and plum with great depth. Definite spicy and herbaceous thing going on, on the back end giving the wine some further interest.  Slightly grippy fine-grained tannins lead to a medium + finish. Overall this is damn good Central Otago Pinot Noir. Was there things stylistically that I would have preferred? I would say so but all-in-all this is delicious, has a great mouthfeel and holds true to the style of the region. Worth picking up and I would definitely drink again, particularly with the right wine pairing, thinking duck with seasonal veg or a succulent pork dish. 

Have you had this wine before? Want to try it? I’d love to hear your thoughts. 

Cheers,
Ben  

 

 

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Frédéric Brouca Champs Pentus Faugères

When I first tasted this wine a few years ago, I thought it was delicious but I was thoroughly confused about where the damn thing was made. I was eating at one of my favorite restaurants, and it was suggested that I try a glass of this wine. It is from Faugères the server said as she presented me with the bottle for review. I knew it was from France but where exactly was less clear. The wine was bright but also ripe, peppery, concentrated and even a little funky. Turns out Faugères is in the south of France in the Languedoc, a region I have even visited, but somehow had not heard of this AOC.

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When it comes to this winery, there is also a Canadian connection. Frederic Brouca, although originally from France, married a Canadian and spent considerable time in Ottawa (at the time of writing I am not sure if he is still a resident there or not). In any case, I am confident this Canadian connection is part of the reason this small French producer has had such an impact on the Canadian wine scene.

As for the wine, it is low-intervention with minimal sulfur. The picking is done with precision, and often early to ensure freshness in the wine. Native yeasts, neutral oak, hand harvesting and gravity fed winemaking all contribute to the freshness, funk and impeccable taste of this terroir driven single-vineyard “Champs Pentus” GSM blend.

The wine is dry and medium-bodied with blueberry, dark plum, raspberry, pepper, game meat, thyme and lavender. An intoxicating and aromatic nose along with medium + acidity, medium tannins and a medium + finish. Moreish and complex all at the same time, this wine to me is a home run. To date this is the only Frédéric Brouca wine that I have had, albeit a few times. However, I would love to try more of his wines and more wines from Faugères in general.