Featured Reviews

Ceres 2016 ‘The Artists Collection’ ‘Inlet’ and ‘Black Rabbit’ Pinot Noirs

23 August,2018

The influential Central Otago Dicey family have the own brand, ‘Ceres’ under which they released their first wine made in 2005. Robin Dicey is one of the districts important viticultural consultants who has been behind the establishment of so many top-performing vineyards. Robin has handed over much of the viticultural consultancy and work to his son James, who has forged his own reputation. And other son Matt is the founding winemaker at Mt Difficulty, and he has made many top award winning wines under that label and others. The Ceres wines are based on the family-owned Bannockburn vineyards, named ‘Inlet’, Black Rabbit’, ‘Full Circle’ and ‘Swansong’. The first releases were wines made from blends of fruit from these vineyards, the Pinot Noirs labelled ‘Composition’.

As the Diceys have seen the vines mature, they have come to understand the terroirs of each site, and they have begun bottling single vineyard white wines capturing the site expression. Now come the second release of the single vineyard Pinot Noirs, under ‘The Artists Collection’ which feature artwork by Odelle Morshuis, James Dicey’s wife. These are the flagship wines for Ceres, made from fruit and from vintages that are deemed worthy of this labelling. The first was an ‘Inlet’ Pinot Noir from 2015. Here, I review the 2016 ‘Inlet’ and ‘Black Rabbit’ vineyard Pinot Noirs, each bearing the unique artwork. The 5.26 ha ‘Inlet’ vineyard is on a river terrace above the Bannockburn inlet along Cairnmuir Road with loess soils over clay gravels, at an elevation of 225-245 m. The vines were planted in 2002. The 3.5 ha ‘Black Rabbit’ vineyard is on Cairnmuir Road with an elevation of 250-315 m. It has wind-blown loess over ancient schist. The vines were planted on 2002. www.cereswines.co.nz


Ceres ‘The Artists Collection’ ‘Inlet Vineyard’ Bannockburn Central Otago Pinot Noir 2016

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Otago


Ruby-red colour with some depth, lighter on the edge with slight purple hues. The nose is well-concentrated with a firmly packed core of ripe, dark-red and black berried fruits harmoniously melded with dark herbs and earth, and a little whole bunch stalk perfume, unfolding dark-red flora elements. This has density and presence. Medium-full bodied, the palate has rich and sweet flavours of ripe, dark-red berry fruit with an amalgam of black fruits, dark herbs a little earth and notes of whole bunch stalk complexities. This has a solid core with plenty of fleshy presence, and the fruit is underlined by plenty of fine-grained tannin extraction with soft acidity. The wine carries to a soft, lingering, red berry fruited finish. This is a firmly packed Pinot noir with plenty of depth and presence of dark-red and black fruits with herbs and earth and whole bunch complexities on a structured palate. Match with lamb, beef and venison over the next 6-8+ years. Clone 777, 6 and 115 fruit indigenous yeast fermented with 10% whole bunches to 14.0% alc., the wine spending 28 days on skins and aged 18 months in seasoned French oak barrels. 80 dozen made. 19.0/20 Aug 2018 RRP $78.00

Ceres ‘The Artists Collection’ ‘Black Rabbit Vineyard’ Bannockburn Central Otago Pinot Noir 2016

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Otago


Even ruby-red colour, lighter edged with slight purple hues. This has a beautifully fragrant nose with ethereal aromas of red berry fruits layered with an array of red florals, along with piquant herbal detail. This has aromatic finesse and intensity, and builds to form a taut core. Medium-full bodied, the palate has bright and vibrant, beautifully aromatic flavours of red berry fruit entwined with a layering of red florals, along with subtle notes of herbs. The mouthfeel is refreshing and crisp with a refined, but sinewy core and line, with fine-grained, flowery tannin extraction in support. The palate has fresh acidity in support enlivening the fruit expression, and the wine carries with good energy and tension to an elegant, lingering finish. This is a beautifully fragrant Pinot Noir with red berry fruits and an array of florals, with very fine grained extraction and structure and a fresh mouthfeel. This is an expression of beauty. Match with poultry and pork over the next 6-7+ years. Clone 5 and 115 fruit fully destemmed and indigenous yeast fermented to 14.1% alc., the wine spending 26 days on skins and aged 14 months in 4 y.o. barrels. 80 dozen made. 19.0/20 Aug 2018 RRP $78.00

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