2017 Akitu "A1" Pinot Noir Central Otago (Black Label)

SKU #1436044 95 points Decanter

 A challenging year, but this 40% wholebunch (the rest being whole berries) Pinot Noir has loads of Far-Eastern spice to complement rich, dark black fruits. Fantastic acidity keeps everything in perfect harmony. Plenty of ageing potential, clearly showing the direction in which top Otago Pinot Noirs are headed. (AH)  (5/2019)

93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Akita's 2017 Pinot Noir A1 starts off with intoxicating scents of roses, dried spices and tea-like nuance. A blend of four clones (mainly Abel and 777, with smaller portions of 5 and 115), it offers rich, deep, plummy fruit on the medium to full-bodied palate yet remains silky and airy in feel, ending with hints of dried herbs on the long, elegant finish. The 40% whole clusters and 20% new French oak are both enjoyable components in this complex, appealing wine. (JC)  (7/2019)

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Price: $34.99

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By: Kirk Walker | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 1/8/2020 | Send Email
This wine is just so much fun to smell. I love aromatically complex Pinot, there is almost nothing else like them, almost but we are here to talk about Pinot, not those other varietals. This is exotic, deep and dense, with lots of ripe red fruits with hints of earth, herbs, and spice. It is ripe and full, this Pinot demands your attention and you should be glad to give it. The fruits are concentrated and pure, the tannins are fine and polished, the oak is restrained and the finish is very long. This is for lovers of Pinot, no matter what region you prefer the most.

By: Thomas Smith | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 1/2/2020 | Send Email
Andrew Donaldson has been crafting the wines at Akitu since his vineyard was planted in northern Central Otago in 2002. Just down the road from Rippon Winery, Akitu strives to make their best expressions of Pinot Noir, and nothing else. The A1 is the creme de la creme of his estate property, and it shows every bit of its craftsmanship in the glass. This wine pure, clean fruit expression. The nose here is incredibly seductive, with black cherry and wild strawberry built on a richer, tannic structure with intricate layers of aromatic intensity. With a good decant, its shows wonderfully now, but a few more years down the line this will morph into something off-the-charts gorgeous.

By: Tim Telli | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 12/31/2019 | Send Email
Quite a dark color. Some stems are apparent on the nose as this sees 38% whole cluster inclusion which gives plenty of aromatic lift to the wine. Super complex with herbal and spicy undertones and a dark cherry, velvety texture that leads to a tangy finish. Just classic mineral-driven Central Otago Pinot Noir that rides that fine line of ripeness and savory character the region is so well known for. This drinks well on its own but would also be great on the dinner table, especially with roast chicken or duck confit. There is a reason this is a favorite among the staff at K&L.

By: Ryan Woodhouse | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 12/31/2019 | Send Email
Very powerful wine. This has a dense core of dark fruit and crushed stone. Lots of umami qualities here, maybe from stem inclusion? This is a very extreme site and this wine has that impactful, concentrated, "on the edge" quality about it that is so compelling and yet quite hard to put into words. Plum skin, cherry pit, black raspberry coulis, agar wood, even a cigar box note I normally fine in Cabernet. On the palate it's undeniably Pinot Noir, brooding but packed with latent energy, coiled. It unfurls in the glass with deep red fruits, wild thyme and turned earth. Such a complex wine, totally fascinating.

By: Andrew Whiteley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 12/31/2019 | Send Email
Akitu has always been near the top of my short list in Central Otago Pinot. The black label in particular is an epic wine and the 2017 vintage delivers everything you can ask for. It's intense, concentrated, and lively. The range of black and blue fruit is enormous and the herbal and spice components are just begging to be paired with your culinary curiosities. A perfect pinot for the short term cellar and an incredible value.

By: Greg St. Clair | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 12/3/2019 | Send Email
The nose of this wine shows lots of ripe, dark complexity in the fruit. On the palate the wine has a bit of grippy tannin but it's just part of the overall structure and isn't obtrusive. The wine isn't a California fruity styled Pinot but it does have lots of intrigue, spice and depth, for me it would definitely be served with a richer meal.

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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.