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WA95 Vintage-Best Pinot Noir - Amazing Value - 03/27/2017 - New Zealand

If you are a regular reader of our emails, you’ll already know we’re terribly excited about the quality wines coming out of New Zealand’s Central Otago. Over the past several years we’ve had wines from here that meet and, in many instances, even rival some of the best out of Burgundy and Sonoma. The 95-Point, 2015 Quartz Reef "Bendigo Single Vineyard" Pinot Noir is an example of one such wine. Being the Wine Advocate’s top rated New Zealand Pinot from the 2015 vintage, there is little question this is a very special bottle of wine. Produced by the uber-talented Rudi Bauer, an Austrian born winemaker, who laid down roots in Central Otago upon realising the potential of this miraculous region after stints at Sokol-Blosser, Rippon, and Meo-Camuzet, among others. The "Bendigo Single Vineyard" is a gorgeous bottling that trades on its purity, elegance, and finesse. At a recent staff tasting, we were nothing short of gobsmacked when we learned its modest price of $29.99. For those who enjoy a medium-weighted Pinot this is among the very best we’ve had in recent memory.

The vineyards of Quartz Reef are just as it sounds above New Zealand’s largest quartz deposit, the influence of which is palpable in a most enticing manner. Layered with red and blue fruits as well as ample spice and herb, beneath it all is a delightful mineral component that carries from the first sip into the long finish. Its texture is defined by its fine-grained tannins which keeps the presentation focused throughout. While the acidity for its part is lively and vibrant adding a refreshing component that makes this 2015 infinitely quaffable. If it hailed from the Cotes du Nuits or Russian River, you could expect to pay twice as much, but we were able to negotiate a very attractive price that makes it a great candidate for a purchase of multiples. Go ahead and enjoy this Pinot now and over the next five to ten years.

2015 Quartz Reef "Bendigo Single Vineyard" Pinot Noir Central Otago (Biodynamic) (Elsewhere $40) Price: Hidden

95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Medium ruby-purple in color, the 2015 Pinot Noir exudes gorgeous violets, red roses and black cherry notes with underlying Provence herbs, dusty earth and cinnamon stick hints. Medium-bodied, the palate has a firm backbone of ripe, velvety tannins with lively acid supporting the concentrated, multi-layered flavors, finishing long. Spectacular Pinot Noir! (LPB)" (12/2016)

94 points James Suckling: "An impressively lively and flavor-soaked pinot noir, this oozes ripe red cherry fruits, graphite and spice and has a succulent, fleshy disposition with muscular smooth tannins and striking depth. Drink now."

K&L Notes: Winery Notes: "Hand-picked from our Biodynamic Demeter Certified Bendigo Estate vineyard; with a vine density of 5,000 - 8,000 plants per hectare on grafted pinot noir clones (10/5, 5, 115, 667, 777 & Abel) planted in 1998. The soils on the beautiful north facing slope are Waenga fine sandy loam with quartz and schist deposits. Each small batch was vinified separately according to clone, with a small percentage of whole bunches being retained, left for 5-7 days cold soak before indigenous yeast fermentation kicked in, peaking at 33°C. Gentle plunging throughout ferment, followed by post-fermentation maceration of up to 12 days to ensure optimum tannin balance. Ferment duration 24 days. Pressing directly into selected French oak barriques; approximately 30% new the balance older. The wine underwent natural malolactic fermentation in spring and was bottled in September 2016. The winemaking was very much in keeping with the traditional practices of the old world. The winemaker, Rudi Bauer, has combined these techniques, and his own personal understanding, to create this unique wine."

Staff ImageRyan Woodhouse | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: March 29, 2017

Potentially the best-ever release of this wine. I have long admired Rudi's wines at Quartz Reef and elsewhere but this wine has the x-factor. Hailing from a single, steep, Biodynamic certified, hillside vineyard in the Bendigo sub-region of Central Otago, this wine shows the pedigree and structure would would expect from one of Rudi's wines. However its real allure is the purity of fruit and its exuberance both aromatically and on the palate. This sub-region is known for more masculine, structured wines with dark fruit and formidable tannins, but this wine is so accessible and expressive even as a youngster. The tannins are polished, the fruit is bold with perfectly judged ripeness; hints of mineral and wild thyme add a distinctive sense of place; some exotic spice notes from the French oak maturation add a final touch of class. This is a Pinot that you can WOW people with. It captures the classic elements of Central Otago Pinot (as you would expect from one of the region's founding fathers) but also has an international appeal and luxurious quality that way surpasses our stunningly low importer-direct price point.

Staff ImageKirk Walker | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: March 27, 2017

The wines made from this site in Bendigo always seem to be a touch richer and fleshier than other Central Otago wines. The nose is luxurious, sappy dark red fruits with a dusting of spice and earth. It is on the fuller side of Pinot on the palate with a lush round mouth feel. There is just enough tannin to pull everything back into a long finish.

Staff ImageHeather Vander Wall | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: March 23, 2017

Quartz Reef's Bendigo vineyard Pinot Noir is an excellent example of the power and expression of Central Otago. In this south island region, Pinot Noir does particularly well, creating wines that are both full-fruited and bright, with great savory notes and elegant spice. This wine opens with exuberant, round blackberry fruit with plenty of structure and a medium palate weight. On the finish the wine has a long, savory note with wild mushroom and hints of exotic spice coming into play.