2012 Felton Road "Calvert" Pinot Noir Central Otago (Biodynamic) (Elsewhere $70)

SKU #1162522 98 points Bob Campbell

 I found this wine hard to read when first poured but it expanded in the glass to reveal a Pinot Noir of great power and purity with a rapier-like focus and an incredibly lengthy finish. Profoundly impressive wine with a fascinating future. Felton Road lease the Calvert vineyard in the Bannockburn district of Central Otago and split the annual grape harvest equally with Craggy Range and Pyramid Valley. The resulting wines provide clear evidence that winemaking influence is profound.

96 points James Halliday

 The deepest color of all four Felton Road 2012 Pinot releases, setting the scene for a slightly atypical wine; the complex bouquet has a range of sage, forest and dark spice aromas, with black cherry on the fore-palate, then a complete change of pace with lift and brightness on the back palate; raspberry and red cherry fruit wrapped in a web of fine but persistent tannins.

94 points James Suckling

 This shows a wealth of boysenberry and cherry fruit with some almost smoky tobacco characters and plenty of sappy character too, quite tarry and really upbeat. The palate is smoothly honed, elegant and even, it delivers a wealth of fleshy fruit presence, sweet dark roasted spices and a bold surge of boisterous tannin that launches ripe cherry flavour long into the finish.  (4/2014)

93 points Wine Spectator

 Rich and complex, opening with a core of ripe, juicy black cherry and blackberry flavors, revealing layers of lavender, clove, cinnamon, black tea, white pepper and truffle details. Graceful and elegant, delivering a plush texture and a finish that doesn't quit. Drink now through 2028. 891 cases made.  (6/2014)

91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Medium to deep ruby-purple in color, the 2012 Calvert Pinot Noir flaunts a perfumed nose of lavender and rose petals over a core of kirsch, mulberries and dried Provence herbs, plus a whiff of underbrush. Medium-bodied and tightly knit, it has exciting vibrancy in the mouth at this youthful stage with a medium level of grainy tannins and refreshing acid to support, finishing with great persistence. Drink it 2014 to 2020+.  (10/2013)

90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Good bright, full red. Sexy aromas of raspberry, blueberry, black cherry, blood orange and woodsmoke. Sweet, layered and rich, with a hint of gunflint adding interest to the creamy, musky red berry flavors. A bit less vibrant than the Bannockburn but the fine dusty tannins will not get in the way of enjoying this very ripe pinot right now.  (10/2013)

K&L Notes

Calvert Vineyard is perhaps the most high profile single vineyard in all of New Zealand. Famed wine writter Matthew Jukes called Calvert "New Zealand's first Pinot Noir Grand Cru vineyard". Combine this with Felton Road Winemaker Blair Walter's comments that 2012 was the "best vintage ever in Central Otago" and you have a pretty special combination. The exceptional quality of this wine was clearly recognised by the huge scores and admiration from the world's top critics. Winemaker's Notes: "The 2012 Calvert is darker and denser than typically seen. The dark, brooding and mysterious nose invites deep contemplation, but the wine still leads with elegance. It keeps its signature mineral spine and intense purity of fruit with a palate staining tension. A sturdy framework of tannins focuses the wine, adding drive, persistence and energy without constraining it."

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Pinot Noir

- One of France's most legendary grapes and the grape that earned Burgundy its reputation. The parent of varietals like Pinot Gris/Grigio and Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir is blue to violet to indigo in color with relatively thin skins, and it is said to have been cultivated in France for more than 2,000 years. At its best, Pinot Noir creates elegant wines that are filled with primary red fruit aromas and flavors while young, revealing with an array of secondary characteristics like earth, smoke, violet, truffle and game with age. The varietal is also known, perhaps better than any, for its ability to translate terroir, or a sense of place. While the best Pinot Noir still comes from Burgundy, it is being produced with increasing success in cooler climates around the world. In France, it is part of the trifecta of grapes that can go into Champagne, and it is also grown in Alsace, Irancy, Jura, Savoie, Lorraine and Sancerre. Outside of France it is produced under the names Pinot Nero and Blauburgunder in Italy's mountainous regions, as Spätburgunder in Germany and as Blauburgunder in Austria. In the US, Pinot Noir has found suitable growing conditions in the cooler parts of California, including Carneros, the Russian River Valley, the Anderson Valley, the Sonoma Coast, Monterey County, the Santa Lucia Highlands and Santa Barbara County, as well as in Oregon's Willamette Valley. In recent years, New Zealand has demonstrated its ability to interpret this hard-to-grow varietal, with successful bottlings coming from careful and attentive growers in Central Otago, Martinborough and Canterbury. Chile is also an up-and-coming region for Pinot Noir, creating fresh, fruit-forward, early-drinking and affordable Pinots from the coastal Casablanca Valley and the Limari Valley.

New Zealand

- New Zealand is an extremely diverse wine-growing nation. The long history of producing wine started in the 1830s with wineries such as Mission Estate (1850) and Te Mata Estate (1896) still producing wine today. The two islands hold a multitude of different growing climates ranging from warmer areas such as Hawke’s Bay to very cool regions such as Waitaki, and Awatere. Most regions are defined as Maritime with the exception being Central Otago that has a moderate Continental climate with the high elevation creating dramatic diurnal swings in temperature. The plethora of grapes grown in New Zealand reflects this diverse microclimate make up. Everything has a place here, Bordeaux varietals and Syrah in Hawke’s Bay, Chardonnay and Pinot in Nelson, Pinot Noir and Riesling in Central Otago , aromatic whites in Waipara and pretty much everything you can imagine in Marlborough. New Zealand is also one of the “greenest” wine producing nations on earth (94% of wine certified sustainable in 2013) with a strong focus on organic and Biodynamic farming.
Alcohol Content (%): 14