2014 Cloudy Bay "Te Wahi" Pinot Noir Central Otago

SKU #1275867 96 points Bob Campbell

 Dense and flavoursome pinot noir with succulent dark cherry, violet, dark-fleshed plum and a strong influence of nutty oak supported by a backbone of ripe tannins that leave a drying finish. An initial velvet texture with a peppery finish. Good drinking now but will certainly develop with bottle age.

92 points Wine Spectator

 The tannins are velvety, firm and dense, lending intensity to the fresh earth, white pepper, bright cherry and raspberry flavors at the core. Earl Grey tea and licorice notes linger on the finish. Drink now through 2026.  (10/2016)

Vinous

 (made with 20% whole clusters): Dark, bright color. Distinctly blacker in fruit character on the nose than the Marlborough example, conveying an impression of power to its medicinal aromas of black cherry, blackberry, bitter chocolate, licorice and crushed black pepper. A step up in weight, breadth and palate presence too, but taut and tight, conveying a youthfully medicinal quality to its very primary dark fruit, licorice and wild herb flavors. This firmly structured, clenched wine needs time in bottle to loosen up and develop more nuance. This Central Otago Pinot struck me as rather heavily extracted, and the 2013 version was too tannic for me. But Sorrell noted that the number of punchdowns was reduced from two to four in 2014 to just one or two in 2015, and a barrel sample of the new vintage indicated a clearly more pliant wine. (ST)  (5/2016)

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Varietal:

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.
Country:

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.