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