Bannock Brae Gruner Veltliner and Pinot Noir

22-Sep-2014
The Bannock Brae Pinot Noir wines are arguably the most successful of Central Otago, amassing around two dozen gold medals in under 15 years. It’s a testament to the vineyard site and to the aspirations of owners Crawford and Catherine Brown who moved from Dunedin to Central Otago after Crawford finished his role as Master Brewer with Lion-Nathan. Their vineyard, situated on Cairnmuir Road in Bannockburn has Akarua and Carrick as neighbours, and clearly the soils and area is especially favourable for viticulture. With the advice of Robin Dicey, around 8 ha of Pinot Noir, with a few rows of Riesling were planted in 1998 giving them the Browns their first commercial vintage in 2001.

The vineyard area is now about 2ha, as they sold 6 ha to neighbouring Akarua in 2010, this including the Riesling, thus necessitating contract fruit being brought in to meet their requirements. The Riesling now comes from other neighbours at the Remarkables Wines vineyard. Gruner Veltliner was planted in 2008 and first yielded a crop in 2011. While Crawford and Catherine are fully hands-on, they have viticultural input from James Dicey of Grape Vision. The winemaking has been carried out by Sarah-Kate Dineen at Maude since 2012, with Jen Parr and her predecessors Matt Connell and Pete Bartle before that at what was Olssen’s. The initial winemaking was at Mt Difficulty with Matt Dicey. The quality and style of the fruit and wines seems to be consistent through the changes in winemaking.

The Riesling is a different take on most and is barrel-fermented, and a rosé is produced ever second year. Here I review the 2013 ‘Marlene’s’ Gruner Veltliner, and 2012 ‘Goldfields’ and 2009 ‘Barrel Selection’ Pinot Noirs which are currently available. www.bannockbrae.co.nz

FEATURED WINES IN THIS REVIEW

  • Bannock Brae ‘Marlene’s’ Central Otago Gruner Veltliner 2013
  • Bannock Brae ‘Goldfields’ Central Otago Pinot Noir 2012
  • Bannock Brae ‘Barrel Selection’ Central Otago Pinot Noir 2009

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