Neck of The Woods
‘Neck of the Woods’ is the wine brand of AJ Johnson, a television industry man who started his wine journey in the vineyard and working with the wine at Mountford in North Canterbury. AJ flitted between wine and television for around 15 years, before he decided to start his own brand. His model is as a negociant as AJ does not own vineyards, but has good relationships with specialty growers in Central Otago, Hawke’s Bay and Marlborough. The first release was the 2016 Gibbston Pinot Noir. Jen Parr crafted the below range.
FEATURED WINES IN THIS REVIEW
Neck of the Woods Pinot Gris 2019, Central OtagoPinot Gris from New Zealand - OtagoReview Date : 27-May-2020Bright, light straw-yellow, even colour throughout. The nose is soft in expression with juicy ripened nashi pear, melded with white florals and a kiss of honey. The wine is dry to taste, medium-light bodied vibrant acidity transport citrus nuance of lemon, grapefruit pith; along with white florals, nashi pear and herbs. A soft oily texture gives the mouthfeel some grip, and the underlying alcohol gives it weight. The wine grows richer with detailed notes of honey, grapefruit pith and herbs; balanced acidity leaves an elegant finish. This Pinot Gris is a soft oily textured wine with vibrant acidity, showing nuance of nashi pear, lemon, grapefruit pith, along with notes of white florals, herbs and honey to an elegant dry finish. Serve with pork cheek croquette and poultry over the next 3-5 years. Handpicked fruit from 2 separate vineyards in Lowburn and Pisa, whole bunch pressed then racked to ferment in 80% neutral oak (on less for 2.5 months), 20% in stainless steel to 13.5% alc, 1.5g/l RS. 18/20pts May 2020 RRP$28
Neck of the Woods Orange 2019, Central OtagoPinot Gris from New Zealand - OtagoReview Date : 27-May-2020Clear, medium amber with an autumn leaf orange-golden hue, lighter on the rim. The nose is bashful with a dense sweet pear scent, mandarin fruit and zest; along with a herbaceous, leafy, nutty note. Medium-full bodied, fair acid hauling of dried flowers, herbaceousness, melded with sweet pear and skin; along with mandarins juice and zest, orange pith reminiscent of Campari to a dry finish. The ripened phenolic provides texture and grip, also dressing the body with weight and structure. The finish lingers with sweet citrus fruit, prickly spices and tannin of a rooibos tea. This is a structured, dry wine with phenolic weight and reminiscent of red tea tannin; showing dried florals, herbaceous, nutty notes; melded with sweet pear, mandarin fruit and zest, pithy scent of an orange. Match with pork loin and red meat carpaccio over the next 3-5 years. 100% Pinot Gris fruit from Dawson's vineyard in Bannockburn. 18.5/20pts May 2020 RRP$32
Neck of the Woods Chardonnay 2018, Hawkes BayChardonnay from New Zealand - Hawke's BayReview Date : 27-May-2020Bright, medium straw-yellow with some depth and a golden hue. The nose is upfront and dynamic with an amalgam of rockmelon, citrus fruit, entwined with buttery note, nutty oak reminiscent of cashew nut, raw almonds and a soft touch of baking spices. This has depth and exhibits the right intensity of fruit, along with freshness and oak aromatics. The palate is medium-full and elegantly presented, penetrating flavours of rockmelon along with pink grapefruit, Meyer lemon and zest; alongside subtle nutty notes of cashew and raw almonds, seasoned with cinnamon and nutmeg. The soft and creamy palate is balanced by fine acidity; giving it freshness and lift to an amble chalky mineral finish. This is a generous Chardonnay with plush-fruit, support by balanced acidity, a creamy texture with the depth of chalky mineral mouthfeel and seasoned by subtle nutty oak and spices. Serve with poultry with creamy sauce and meaty shellfish over the next 3-5 years. A mix of clones; Medoza, 15 and 95 from Dartmoor. 100% barrel fermentation to 12.5%. Aged 11 months in barrels, 25% new. 18/20pts May 2020 RRP$32
Neck of the Woods Pinot Noir 2018, Central OtagoPinot Noir from New Zealand - OtagoReview Date : 27-May-2020Bright, ruby-red colour, lighter on the rim. The nose is coy with gentle notes of dark ripened cherries and sweet plums, unveiling perfume and oak spices. Dry on the palate, sweet scent of black cherries and plums balanced by the right amount of acidity; medium-bodied hauled by silky fine tannin, melded herbaceous fragrant with nutty notes from barrels and seasoned with cinnamon, nutmeg spices and a subtle tone of liquorice. This wine shows a sense of place with restrained alcohol, serene acidity and underlying fine-grained tannin extraction. The wine is youthful with plush, sweet-scented ripe fruit with a lightness, serene acidity; firm but silky fine tannin contribute to the weight and texture, providing backbone, layered with herbaceous fragrant, nutty oak and spices. Enjoy with game meat over the next 5+ years. Fruit from Bendigo flat and Chinaman's Terrace, 23% whole bunch, aged 11 months in French oak, 28% new. 18.5+/20pts May 2020 RRP $37