2017 Ceres "Composition" Pinot Noir Bannockburn Central Otago (Elsewhere $30)

SKU #1421917 95 points Sam Kim

 It is magnificently composed and delightfully expressed, showing dark cherry, plum, vanilla, warm spice and olive characters on the with a touch of floral lift. The palate is concentrated and beautifully rounded, delivering plush mouthfeel and succulent fruit intensity, leading to a persistent polished finish. At its best: now to 2022.  (10/2018)

91 points Decanter

 Complex nose of under growth and red fruit with savoury touches. Dark berry fruits flavours and pleasant tannins and acidity.

Raymond Chan

 Five Stars ***** 18.5 Points out of 20. "Dark, deep, ruby-red colour with black hues at the heart, lighter on the rim with slight purple hues. The nose is youthfully firm with aromas of ripe dark-red and black cherry and berry fruit entwined with a layer of dark herbs and subtle whole bunch stalk elements. Some savoury floral perfumes add to the interest. Medium-full bodied, the palate has a rich and firm core of sweet fruit with packed, deep and dense flavours of dark-red and black cherries and berries intermingling with thyme herbs, some whole bunch stalk perfumes and a hint of reduction. The fruit richness is supported by good, grainy tannin extraction lending structure, grip and mouthfeel, and the is in the background providing freshness. The flavours carry to a long, textured finish. This is a rich and firm Pinot Noir with ripe dark-red and black berry fruits with herb and stalk complexities on a well-structured palate. Match with lamb, beef and venison over the next 6+ years. Bannockburn fruit, 70% from the ‘Inlet’ and 30% from the ‘Black Rabbit’ vineyards, indigenous yeast fermented with 10% whole bunches on average to 14.0% alc., the wine aged 12 months in 25% new oak."

K&L Notes

Winemaker's Notes: "Dark, deep, black-hued red with lighter garnet hues on the rim. The nose is soft and full with harmoniously concentrated aromas of ripe, dark red berry fruits melded with dark plum notes, liquorice and earth, and nuances of spice and thyme herbs. Medium-full bodied, the palate features soft, sweet and plush, ripe dark red berry and plum fruit flavour intermixed with thyme herbs, liquorice earth and undergrowth detail. The fruit lusciousness is supported and balanced by fine-grained tannin extraction providing good structure and mouthfeel. Integrated acidity enlivens the drive and the wine flows to a long and sustained finish with juicy fruit and a fine-texture. This is a soft, plush and juicy Pinot Noir with dark berry, plum, and thyme herb flavours, and a fine-textured mouthfeel."

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Price: $19.99
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By: Kirk Walker | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 7/11/2019 | Send Email
This smells like classic Central Otago, dark cherries dusted with fine savory herbs. Bright fruits with layers of spice, herbs, and earth with just enough tannin to give it presence and enough acidity to give it a cool sleek feel. There is a whole lot of wine here.

By: Ryan Woodhouse | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 7/10/2019 | Send Email
Very impressive for the money. The Dicey family / Mt. Difficulty pedigree is on full display here. Sourced from some of the very best vineyard sites in the region, hand-crafted by a veteran winemaker and yet still hitting our shelves for under $20!? Showing the hallmark juicy, brambly fruit and wild thyme so indicative of Bannockburn Pinot Noir. This wine is firing on all cylinders. Lovely purity of fruit but also showing some complex, savory elements. The texture is supple and tannins fine grained - again far more suave than the wine's price point might suggest. What a bargain.
Top Value!

By: Thomas Smith | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 7/2/2019 | Send Email
Ceres Wines is a small, family winery operated by brothers Matt and James Dicey, started in 2005. James is the viticultralist for renowned Central Otago producer Mt. Difficulty and Matt has been winemaker at Mt. Difficulty for over twenty years. Together, they produce tiny quantities Pinot Noir, Riesling, and Pinot Gris in the heart of Bannockburn, which is arguably New Zealand's greatest sub-zone for Pinot Noir. The Composition Pinot Noir is sourced from two vineyards the Dicey brothers have been working with since the winery's inception: Black Rabbit and Inlet Vineyards, which have since become estate properties of Mt. Difficulty. The nose here is dark and earthy, the palate is full and softly textured. There’s a small element of whole cluster, which wonderfully adds just enough structure and bite. The acid, builds and builds on this wine, ending in a crescendo of zippy red fruits, cranberry, and blackberry that resonates through the finish. What a hidden gem at phenomenal price.

By: Greg St. Clair | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 7/2/2019 | Send Email
The nose on this wine is savory, it shows more earth and stemmy character at first then the fruit joins in the back but never takes over it just supports and adds dimension to the nose. On the palate the wine is supple but with very good acidity, lots of lift and some well-defined tannins. Flavors are less fruity and a combination of smoke, porcini and then some dark fruit behind. On the finish the wine shows more tannic structure as the suppleness tightens up. Quite a wine for $20

By: Elsa Baez | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 7/1/2019 | Send Email
Another great Central Otago find thanks to our buyer! Savory strawberry, ripe raspberries, hint of black pepper on the nose (quite expressive if you ask me!) finishing off with cherry, soft tannins and spicy undertones really lift this Pinot. I typically don't drink red wine alone, however, this pinot is fantastic on its own and complex enough to pair with a roasted chicken. Don't let this one slip away!

By: Cameron Price | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 6/30/2019 | Send Email
Very surprised by this wine! An enticingly spicy nose of raspberry and strawberry tart. The palate has an astonishing freshness with crisp acidity and ripe spicy tannins and finish long and beautiful on the palate. No need to second guess this wine.

By: Shaun Green | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 6/30/2019 | Send Email
Ceres' 'Composition' Pinot is quite a treat. Rich, complex and savory on the nose, it almost belies its Pinot Noir nature but the fruit profile on the palate reassures and rewards the Pinot lover. Long cherried fruit, fine coating tannins and a lovely spice all combine seamlessly into one very pleasurable glass of win. Whether you intend to sit with it and contemplate or simply sip and enjoy with a meal it won't disappoint.
Top Value!

By: Miles Philippe | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 6/30/2019 | Send Email
A fascinating expression of Pinot Noir! It's got a savory nose that presents a little bit of black pepper and meat, with dark cherry as the main fruit. The palate retains that savory and dark aspect of the nose, but the acidic structure lifts everything up to an elegant presentation! On the finish, there's a slight black pepper note that lingers with the dark cherry. Pour this alongside some heartier meat and vegetable dishes, and it'll elevate the meal to the next level!

Additional Information:


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.