Felton Road Block 3 Magnum Pinot Noir 2019
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An inviting and intriguing nose: florals compete with rich fruit, a hint of Arabic spices, then a whiff of smoke. The palate is typically diverse and exotic: cherry, savoury, hallmark dried herbs, and a burst of dark red flowers with a finish that just won’t end. The tannins are finely detailed, layered and gradually tighten to show authority over the rich core. There is both serious density and complexity that will amply reward patience. Text book Block 3 that is potentially one of the greatest… yet.
Felton Road’s 20 Vintages
With 20 vintages now under its belt, ‘Felton Road’ has made a name for itself in Central Otago as one of those cult wines everyone wants to get their hands on. A small, artisan producer that has been dazzling the wine world since 1991, ‘Felton Road’ has had everyone falling in love with it from day one.
Where Felton Road Began
The ‘Felton Road winery’ began in 1991 and established itself as something of an institution. Their Pinot Noirs, Chardonnays and Rieslings are all biodynamic of course. They also have been picking up steam in popularity, quickly gaining a reputation as one of New Zealand’s premium wineries.
Their First Vintage
The first vintage of ‘Felton Road’ was in 1997. Right away attracting international enthusiasm for their ability to show a real sense of place. Their emphasis on natural winemaking in a gravity flow winery being especially applauded. Blair Walter is the man behind the magic owning the title of winemaker. He thinks the esteemed quality and character of the wines has a link to the distinct Central Otago soil and climate. The northerly facing exposure of their vineyards and their contrasting soil profiles give their wines a unique expression of terroir. Or what the team at ‘Felton Road’ like to call (somewhat less pretentiously!) ‘somewhereness’.
Four Felton Road Estate Vineyards
The four ‘Felton Road’ estate vineyards are all located in Bannockburn, a subregion of Central Otago. There are five varieties of Pinot Noir, three Riesling and three Chardonnay, all from different blocks. At Specialist Cellars we are lucky to get an allocation of a section of these. Ones you can’t miss are the Bannockburn Pinot Noir, the Calvert Pinot Noir, Block 3 Pinot Noir and Block 5 Pinot Noir.
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Check out the Felton Road website for more information on the vineyard and their wines.
Found at the extreme limits of winemaking, Central Otago is found at 44° and 45° south and is home to some of the most southerly vineyards the world has to offer. Boasting breathtaking landscapes and an extreme climate, the local economy has garnered global recognition for its merino wool. However, over the previous decade, the majority of land has been shifted away from pasture, to being under vine. In 1996 Otago only had 11 vineyards, while today the region has a legion over 100 strong. The incredibly balanced styles of wine that flow from the region aren’t something to be missed, with Central Otago being the first in the world to challenge Burgundy’s production of Pinot Noir.
Central Otago’s four primary sub-regions are Wanaka, Gibbston, Bannockburn and Alexandra. While all are situated relatively close together and each has the same stony free-draining soil base, their full profiles vary immensely, but are glacially derived and have rich deposits of mica and schist making it ideal for the production of Pinot Noir, which just happens to be 80% of the production there. The excellent drainage helps retain mineral richness whilst temperatures can vary from 30degrees during ripening days to only 8degrees overnight, this swift shift allows the grape ripening process to stop more suddenly overnight, thus retaining all the wonderful natural acidity and fruit concentration this region can offer, to us this provides Central Otago with an intensely fruit-forward character no other region of New Zealand can replicate. Autumn frosts are a risk here too, so it’s just as well the growers down here have their wits about them…