Featured Reviews




Urbn Vino 2015 Pinot Noir and The Writer’s Block Pinot Noirs 2013, 2010 and 2009

20 October,2016
Brendan Seal is a Central Otago winemaker who specialises in making small parcels of single vineyard wines from unique, one-off picks of fruit. The diversity of the wines and their required winemaking are what make ‘The Writer’s Block’ wines interesting and exciting for him as well as the keen wine enthusiast. To date, he has made five Pinot Noirs, a Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and Late Harvest Gewurztraminer, from fruit grown in the Bannockburn, Alexandra, Bendigo, Northburn and Lowburn sub-regions under his label, as well as wines for contract clients at his Packspur Wine Studio. www.thewritersblock.co.nz

As if Brendan wasn’t busy enough, he has embarked on another venture named ‘URBN VINO’ with which he will bring winemaking of Central Otago wines into Dunedin city. By doing so, there is a much closer interaction with the market. The concept of wineries within urban spaces is not new and there are successful examples in San Diego, Portland, Seattle, and San Francisco in the U.S.A. and in Melbourne, Adelaide and Sydney in Australia. The urban wineries are following the lead of craft breweries which are site in the heart of cities, and not just in the industrial suburbs.

In April 2016, Brendan tested the viability of the URBN VINO project with a ‘pop up’ urban winery in one of the Dunedin’s heritage buildings undergoing renovation. It was deemed a success, and has inspired Brendan to do it again for the 2017 harvest. Brendan has begun to crowdfund the project, and has released the ‘Urbn Vino’ Central Otago Pinot Noir 2015 which purchases through www.pledgeme.co.nz/projects will see the funds go towards the project. Brendan needs $18,400 to purchase 4 tonnes of Pinot Noir grapes and $4,600 for the oak barrels to mature the wine in. Any excess will go towards a permanent urban winery from the 2018 vintage. At the time of writing, Brendan has received pledges for half the amount required, and the time limit is 10.00 pm, 6 November 2016.

Here, I review the Urbn Vino Central Otago Pinot Noir 2015, which can be purchased for $42.00 through www.pledgeme.co.nz and the three premium ‘The Writer’s Block’ Pinot Noirs made by Brendan to date, these being the 2013, 2010 and 2009, the Urbn Vino wine made to a comparable standard as these. The reviews of The Writer’s Block Pinot Noirs will also give an indication of the aging ability of the new wine. I found the wines very expressive of their vintages, the 2015 a cooler year, the 2013 showing ripeness and elegance, the 2010 ripeness and fullness, and the 2009 showing cedary, secondary development www.urbnvino.nz

Disclaimer: The Writer’s Block wines (but not the Urbn Vino) are distributed by ‘Wine2Trade’, the company under which ‘Raymond Chan Wine Reviews’ operates

FEATURED WINES IN THIS REVIEW



Urbn Vino Bannockburn Central Otago Pinot Noir 2015

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Otago

17.5+/20
Even ruby-red colour with youthful purple hues, a little lighter on the rim. The nose is fresh and tightly bound with bright dark-red cherry and berry fruit aromas layered with thyme herbs, subtle stalk nuances and violet florals, building in depth in the glass. Medium-full bodied, the palate is elegantly proportioned with fresh and juicy, fragrant red cherry fruit entwined with notes of thyme herbs and hints of whole bunch stalk, and dark-red florals. The mouthfeel is refreshing and bright with lacy acidity and fine, supple tannin structure. Notes of raspberry liqueur and red liquorice emerge and carry to a finely concentrated finish of red cherry fruit. This is an elegant, refreshing and bright red cherry fruited Pinot Noir with herb notes and supple tannins. Serve with firm-flesh seafood, poultry and pork over the next 4-5 years. Clones 5, 6, 667 and 777 from a single vineyard in Bannockburn, fermented with 12% whole bunches to 13.4% alc., the wine aged 10 months in 24% new oak. Available only through www.pledgeme.co.nz 17.5+/20 Oct 2016 RRP $42.00

The Writer’s Block Bendigo Central Otago Pinot Noir 2013

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Otago

18.5-/20

Dark, even ruby-red colour, a little lighter on the rim with garnet suggestions. This is elegantly concentrated on the nose with a fine and firm depth showing intense aromas of dark-red and black cherry fruit, some liquorice and mineral notes, dark herbs and fragrant violet florals. Some nutty oak unfolds from the core. Medium-full bodied, this has a tight, concentrated core of rich and ripe black cherry and dark-red berry fruits, with notes of liquorice and herbs, the whole cluster well-integrated. The fruit sweetness is supported by fine-grained, powdery tannin extraction with balanced acidity. Notes of florals, nutty oak and minerals show and carry to a juicy, vibrant, lingering finish of cherries and berries. This is an elegantly concentrated Pinot Noir with black and red cherry fruit and notes of thyme herbs, liquorice and florals on a fine-textured palate. Match with duck, pork and lamb over the next 5-6 years. Clones 667, 777, 115, Abel and 5 from a single site on the Bendigo Terraces. An equal blend of two fermentations, with 30% and 10% whole cluster respectively, fermented to 14.2% alc., the wine aged 12 months in seasoned French oak, one-third 1 y.o., bottled unfined and unfiltered. 65 cases made. 18.5-/20 Oct 2016 RRP $50.00

Disclaimer: This wine is distributed by ‘Wine2Trade’, the company under which ‘Raymond Chan Wine Reviews’ operates

Moderately dark, deep, opaque ruby-red colour with youthful purple hues, lighter on rim. This has an elegant and refined nose with tightly bound aromas of dark red cherry fruit entwined with a fine thread of thyme herb and liquorice, with harmoniously integrated, savoury stemmy whole bunch nuances. The aromatics build in density and concentration, revealing mineral and floral perfume detail with aeration. Medium-full bodied, this palate is finely proportioned with intense and well-concentrated flavours of sweet, dark cherry fruit, thyme herb, minerals and spices, the whole cluster elements integral. The fruit is supported by fine-grained, guiding tannins and ripe, lacy acidity providing linearity and poise, leading to a subtly sweet and rich-fruited finish with lingering floral fragrances. This is a beautiful, elegantly concentrated, perfumed Pinot Noir with subtle herb and integrated complexities. Match with poultry, pork and hare over the next 6+ years. Clones 667, 777, 115, Abel and 5 from a single site on the Bendigo Terraces. An equal blend of two fermentations, with 30% and 10% whole cluster respectively, fermented to 14.2% alc., the wine aged 12 months in seasoned French oak, one-third 1 y.o., bottled unfined and unfiltered. 65 cases made. 18.5/20 Jun 2014 RRP $50.00

Disclaimer: This wine is distributed by ‘Wine2Trade’, the company under which ‘Raymond Chan Wine Reviews’ operates

The Writer’s Block Bannockburn Central Otago Pinot Noir 2010

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Otago

18.5/20

Dark, deep, black-hued ruby-red with garnet hues on a lighter edge. The bouquet is firmly concentrated with vigorous aromas of ripe black berried fruits along with savoury dark herbs and subtle layers of game and undergrowth, the aromatics showing some secondary complexity. Nuances of black florals and mineral unfold with aeration. Medium-full bodied, the mouthfeel is full, soft and rounded with sweet, ripe black berried fruits with notes of plums at the core Layers of dried herbs, minerals, savoury game and secondary undergrowth provide complexing interest. The fruit is supported by supple tannin extraction and soft, integrated acidity lending a plush mouthfeel. The wine flows smoothly to a soft, long finish of black fruits and minerals. This is a fulsome and sweetly rich, black fruited Pinot Noir with a soft, rounded mouthfeel and the beginnings of secondary development. Match with game meat dishes and casseroles over the next 5 years. Clones 115 and 777 fruit from selected rows from a single Bannockburn vineyard, the vines planted in 2002, indigenous yeast fermented to 13.5% alc. with 25% whole bunch to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 15 months in seasoned French oak barrels. 50 cases made. 18.5/20 Oct 2016 RRP $N/A

Very dark, deep ruby-red colour with slight purple hues on edge. The nose is very full and vently voluminous with waves of ripe dark-red berry fruit and plums, spices and violet florals and a hint of dried herbs. Medium full-bodied, plump red berry fruit and floral flavours fill the palate and form a rounded core. The mouthfeel features soft, grainy tannins with a supple approachability, the acidity quite discreet and restrained. The flavours have excellent presence and drive and carry through to a soft, textured, lingering finish with spicy red fruit notes. This is a soft-textured Pinot Noir with plump, aromatic red fruit flavours. Match with poultry, duck and rabbit over the next 5-6 years. Clones 115 and 777 fruit from selected rows from a single Bannockburn vineyard, the vines planted in 2002, indigenous yeast fermented to 13.5% alc. with 25% whole bunch to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 15 months in seasoned French oak barrels. 18.0+/20 Jun 2013 RRP $50.00 (Sold out)

Disclaimer: This wine is distributed by ‘Wine2Trade’, the company under which ‘Raymond Chan Wine Reviews’ operates


The Writer’s Block Bannockburn Central Otago Pinot Noir 2009

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Otago

18-/20

Even garnet red colour, lighter on the rim with a little bricking. The bouquet is ethereal with fragrant aromas of red cherry and berry fruit melded with layers of herbs and spices, notes of cedar and lifted red florals, unfolding herbal detail in the glass. Medium-full bodied, the palate possesses juicy and lively flavours of red berries and cherries harmoniously entwined with secondary flavours of spices and cedar, dried herbs and lifted red florals. This has a fine core and light, fine-grained tannins in support and the mouthfeel is enlivened by bright, lacy acidity lending tension and energy to the flow. As the wine leads to the slender, lingering finish, notes of spice and cedar unfold prevail. This is an elegant, ethereal and fragrant Pinot Noir with red cherry fruit complexed by secondary spice and cedar notes on a light-textured, brisk palate. Match with game meat and semi-hard cheeses over the next 4 years. This is Clones 115 and 777 fruit from selected rows from a single Bannockburn vineyard, the vines planted in 2002, indigenous yeast fermented with 25% whole bunch to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 12 months in one-third new French oak barrels. 50 cases made. 18.0-/20 Oct 2016 RRP $N/A

Moderately dark ruby-red colour with garnet hues, a little lighter on rim. This has a firm, intense nose with aromas of dark red berry fruit and dried, spicy herbs complexed by reductive elements and a little oak toast and resin. Medium full-bodied, bright and vibrant dark red berry fruit flavours are intermixed with dark herbs, a touch of minerally reduction, toast and oak elements. The palate has excellent acid liveliness underling the flow, with fine-grained tannins in support. The acidity and subtle firmness drives the flavours to a long and sustained, juicy finish. This is a finely concentrated and vibrant Pinot Noir with reductive and savoury complexities. Serve with roasted red meats and Mediterranean inspired fare over the next 6-7 years. Clones 115 and 777 fruit from selected rows from a single Bannockburn vineyard, the vines planted in 2002, indigenous yeast fermented with 25% whole bunch to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 12 months in one-third new French oak barrels. 18.0-/20 Jun 2013 RRP $50.00

Disclaimer: This wine is distributed by ‘Wine2Trade’, the company under which ‘Raymond Chan Wine Reviews’ operates


 

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