Our Upton Downs Pinot Noir is a juxtaposition of perfume and structure. The elevated single vineyard on the terraces above the Awatere River gives elegance and delicacy of fruit while the 40% whole bunch fermentation and manual punch-downs delivers an impressive tannin framework and excellent length on the palate. Bright raspberry, red cherry and currant unite with graphite, forest floor and subtle smoked bacon. This is a wine that will get more intriguing and complex with cellaring, assisted by its whole bunch fermentation characters and low-toast savoury oak regime. It has years of evolution ahead of it.
18 Points "From a vineyard on an elevated (400 m) river terrace in the Upper Awatere Valley – clay and silt with some gravel. Clone 777. 40% whole bunch. 25% new oak – most of the wine in new barrels was lost to the earthquake. Bottled unfiltered June 2017.
Lightish mid ruby, not star bright because unfiltered. Pretty, aromatic red fruits with the freshness of stem influence but without being overtly stemmy – the freshness and structure of stems but no greenness. Already quite complex on the nose, with hints of floral and citrus as well as the red fruits. There's intensity without unwanted concentration, the fruit is sweet but not overly so and the tannins already silky. Freshness to the long finish." Julia Harding MW, JancisRobinson.com 9/05/2019
93 Points “Made from grapes grown in an elevated site in the Awatere Valley. An aromatic pinot noir, with typical savoury and herb Awatere characters, with cherry and plum flavours. Fermentation included 40% whole bunches, which adds a sappy character. Drink 2018 to 2023 Bob Campbell MW, Real Reviews. 16/7/2018
4.5 STARS “The 2016 vintage (4.5*) is a single-vineyard, Awatere Valley red, hand-picked and matured in French oak barriques (30 per cent new). Ruby-hued, it is highly fragrant, savoury and sweet-fruited, with mouthfilling body, cherryish, plummy, spicy flavours and good texture. A complex style, it’s a drink-now or cellaring proposition.” Michael Cooper’s Buyer’s Guide 2019, November 2018
18 Points+ / 4 Stars “Light, opaque garnet-red colour with some depth, lighter edged. The nose is soft and ethereal with subtle, but voluminous aromas of soft-red berry fruits harmoniously melded with fresh and dark herbs, and some whole bunch stalk perfumes. This builds in intensity and penetration with aeration. Medium-bodied, the palate is elegant and refined in expression with stylish and subtle, savoury flavours of red cherry and berry fruit harmoniously entwined with fresh herbs and a layer of whole bunch stalk notes. The mouthfeel is very smooth in texture with an underlay of very fine, flowery tannin extraction, the acidity soft and integrated. The flavours carry positively to a long, savoury floral nuanced finish. This is an elegant and refined Pinot Noir with savoury red fruits and whole bunch stalk complexities on a fine-grained palate. Match with wild duck and pork over the next 5-6 years. 100% clone 777 from the Laurie’s vineyard on Upton Downs Road, Awatere, hand-picked and indigenous yeast fermented with 40% whole bunches to 13.0% alc., the wine aged 16 months in 25% new French oak barriques. 455 cases made, a reduction in quantity due to loss from the earthquake in November. 18.0+/20 Raymond Chan Wine Reviews, 15/11/18