Felton Road Central Otago
Every now and then a very talented winemaker comes to the fore with unprecedented results in a given region. Blair Walter is one such. Yet with Pinot-mad Englishman Nigel Greening taking over Stewart Elm’s inspired creation in 2000 and Gareth King in the vineyard, this is very much a team effort. The estate comprises 14 ha (The Elms) with an additional 7.6 ha at Cornish Point, which protrudes into Lake Dunstan. The latter is highly promising despite still relatively young vines. Felton Road Pinots show a richness and complexity that most other New Zealand examples have only hinted at – a quality of fruit effortlessly expressed. While there are a number of other promising efforts in Central Otago, the single-vineyard Block 3 and Block 5 in particular have set the standard for the region. Calvert (from a 4.6 ha site) is a newly added example. Riesling (both a dry and mediumdry style) and Chardonnay too are very good. Chardonnay includes a rare and excellent unoaked Elms version, a fuller barrel-fermented (Central Otago) example and a stylish, lightly mineral Block 2. Demand has pushed prices up, particularly for the Pinots, but whites remain affordable. Singlevineyard Block 1 Riesling is made in a rich medium-dry Spätlese style. New Vin Gris from both Felton Road and Cornish Point Vineyard show not even a hint of colour from Pinot Noir grapes and offer good structure and flavour if not finesse.
To find out more about Felton Road and their wines, and to see how we reviewed and rated their wines you can check out the Wine Guide New Zealand..
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