2014 Akitu "A1" Pinot Noir Central Otago (Black Label)

SKU #1228434 95-96 points Raymond Chan

 Full, dark, deep ruby-red colour with slight purple hues, lighter on edge. This has a full and voluminous nose with ethereal aromas of ripe black berried fruit, black and violet floral perfumes, along with earthy and mineral elements, all harmoniously entwined with savoury, stalky whole bunch complexities. The aromatics are refined in expression, and unfold to reveal a concentrated heart. Medium-full bodied, the fruit is sweet and succulently ripe, with a tight core of black cherry and berry fruits integrated with liquorice elements, whole bunch stalk notes and ethereal violet florals. Very fine-grained tannins provide an elegantly proportioned structure and grip, and the mouthfeel is enlivened by fresh, lacy acidity. Subtle and complex nuances of earth and minerals emerge to add detail and the wine leads to a long, succulently sweet, lingering finish. This is an elegant, tight and refined, black fruited Pinot Noir with richness, fine textures and whole bunch complexities. Match with wild pork, rabbit or hare over the next 6-8 years. A blend of 71% Abel, 17% clone 5 and 11% 115, fermented with 28% whole clusters to 14.5% alc., the wine aged 10 months in 24% new French oak.

95 points Sam Kim

 Multi-layered and impressively complex, the fragrant bouquet shows dark cherry, earthy mushroom, roasted nut and subtle dried herb characters. It is concentrated and silky on the palate, and offers velvety texture and fleshy mouthfeel. Tannins are beautifully melded and seamlessly woven to this gorgeous pinot. At its best: now to 2021.

K&L Notes

** Update: 5/16 - Akitu "A1" just picked up the Trophies for best "Central Otago" and "Best NZ" Pinot at the IWC in London! Akitu is a stunning property in Central Otago with a small block of vines draped around the base of Mt. Baker near the town of Wanaka. It is located in one of the highest and coldest spots in the region; the vines grow into dense schist soils and the resulting Pinots are ones of amazing focus, purity, and drive. The wines are fragrant, pure, and have lovely restraint and minerality. The "A1" (Black Label) is the "premier" wine of the estate. It is made from fruit hand-selected from the mid-slope parcels planted to the "Abel Clone" of Pinot Noir. This clone was smuggled into NZ during the 1970s directly from Domaine de la Romanée-Conti "La Tâche" vineyard and is now one of the most sought-after clones in the country. This Pinot is deep and brooding with layers of dark bramble fruit, toasted spices, forest berries, cold stones, forest floor, and crushed rose petals. The wine is medium bodied as far as extraction, but very intense, full flavored and dynamic on the palate. There is plenty of tannin/acidity to make this a great cellar candidate/food wine. (Ryan Woodhouse, K&L New Zealand Wine Buyer)

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Price: $29.99
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Staff Image By: Ryan Woodhouse | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 12/7/2015 | Send Email
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Akitu's Pinot are some of the very best we have in store at any price...when you add the exceptional price point we can offer these at, thanks to the exchange rate and our direct import relationship...their quality is even more astounding. They both come from one of the most inspiring single vineyard sites in Central Otago and have fantastic, purity and concentration. The "A1" bottling from Akitu is selected from particular blocks of the vineyard that are planted to "Abel Clone"...this is a legendary clone of Pinot Noir that originated in Domaine de la Romanée-Conti's La Tâche vineyard. I find Akitu's "A1" or "Black label" bottle to be a more refined version of the A2 (White Label). The A2 is a bigger, more obviously attractive jewel, but the clarity and cut of the A1 is flawless. Perfectly refined tannins, pure elegance, mineral, tightly wound with a powerful core; the wine has a subtle, but confident presence, longevity is assured. A truly mesmerizing wine.
Top Value!

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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