Felton Road

Felton Road, Bannockburn, Pinot Noir 2011, Central Otago, New Zealand

Drunk September 2013


The winery

Central Otago is the most southerly wine region in the world and is responsible for 5.5% of New Zealand's production. Located at the foot of the South Island, the region may be on the 45th parallel but its site among the Bannockburn Hills of the Southern Alps at approx 200 metres above sea level ensures a continental climate, with frosts and marked by significant swings in temperature (up to 40 degrees celsius at times). Soil profiles vary between the deep silt loams of the Bannockburn sub-region, while the wider Cromwell Basin displays both sandy loam over calcium deposits as well as alluvial loess over schist.

Possibly the most famous and respected winery in New Zealand, Felton Road was first planted in 1991 by Stuart Elms and is now owned by one time pop impresario Nigel Greening. Greening, a self-described Pinot Noir "addict" from England, bought it in 2000  and it has been farmed organically & biodynamically since then. Their grapes are entirely grown in their own 'Elms Bannockburn Vineyard' which has a northerly exposure to help maximise ripeness.The winemaker from the beginning has been Blair Walter, whose training took him around the world to places as diverse as Newton in California and Domaine de l'Arlot in Nuits-St-Georges. Blair's experience stood him in good stead for coaxing the best out of the property's vines - he adopts a 'hands off' approach in the winery wherever possible.

Hand harvested, 25% whole cluster and 75% whole berries are left outdoors to naturally cold soak before a wild ferment begins. As the wine goes dry it is gently punched and tasted daily until running by gravity to barrel., (30% new burgundian oak). The wine goes to bottle at 1 year old unracked, unfined and unfiltered

Nigel Greening

Nigel Greening


The wine

The Felton Road, Bannockburn Pinot Noir 2011 has a purple/ruby colour. The nose is black cherry and raspberry with a hint of spice. The palate is medium to full bodied, plenty of complexity and fruit intensity.  Very long and pleasant finish with the tannins well balance by acid. A delicious Pinot!