Cloudy Bay ‘Te Wahi’ Central Otago Pinot Noir 2010
Some time after Cloudy Bay’s acquisition by the multinational luxury goods firm LVMH, there were rumours that the company would look towards Central Otago for producing a Pinot Noir as a companion to the Marlborough wine. This posed the question: How would this affect the perception of Cloudy Bay as an iconic New Zealand brand firmly based in Marlborough? The secret was revealed last year that ‘Te Wahi’, a Central Otago Pinot Noir from the outstanding 2010 vintage had indeed been made and would be released in May this year.
The presentation and labelling of the wine is very tasteful and in the style of the ‘Te Koko’. It doesn’t highlight Central Otago at the expense of Marlborough, but instead adds another string to the Cloudy Bay bow. In many people’s view, Cloudy Bay may be the one New Zealand wine brand that could easily take on board fruit from other regions, such as Central Otago and Hawke’s Bay, without any loss in esteem, and indeed make it a stronger representation of this country.
‘Te Wahi’ is Maori for ‘the place’ and the name is deemed to be particularly appropriate as the Pinot Noir variety can strongly reflect its place of origin. The wine does show the black berry and cherry flavours that are typical of Central Otago providing a contrast to the Marlborough version. Unlike many other 2010 vintage Central Otago wines, ‘Te Wahi’ is carried by aromatic fruit and significant acidity rather than prominent tannin extract and structure. To me, it doesn’t speak of a more specific place than the broad Central Otago region, so it will be interesting to see if the Cloudy Bay team become more focussed in the origin of the fruit, keeping to one sub-region. This of course leads to the making of a terroir-expressive wine, which is, of course, what Pinot Noir can do so well. www.cloudybay.co.nz
FEATURED WINES IN THIS REVIEW
Cloudy Bay ‘Te Wahi’ Central Otago Pinot Noir 2010Pinot Noir from New Zealand - OtagoReview Date : 24-May-2013Very dark, deep hearted ruby-red with black hues, this has a fresh, voluminous and intense bouquet of black cherries, black plums and liquorice, with notes of oak spices and minerals. Medium-full bodied, the flavours of black berry and cherry fruits are the feature. This is succulent and aromatic with violet, mineral and spice nuances, the palate deeply packed with a concentrated core. The mouthfeel is alive with brisk acidity, enhancing the juiciness of the fruit, and fine-grained, silky tannins are in the background. The extraction subtly builds in presence in mid-palate, but it is the fruit sweetness and acidity that carry the flavours to a long, lingering finish with floral, mineral and oak char interest. This is a lusciously racy and smooth-textured Pinot Noir with aromatic black fruits. Match with roast duck, pork and game meat over the next 5-7 years. Pinot Noir fruit from the Bannockburn, Bendigo and Lowburn sub-regions, hand-picked, given a cold soak and fermented with 5% whole bunches to 13.7% alc., the wine given 2-3 weeks on skins and aged 14 months in 40% new French oak barrels. 18.5+/20 May 2013 RRP $80.00