Have you had a bottle of Carrick Pinot Noir lately? Carrick is one of Central Otago's premium pinot noir producers, yet they fly under the radar somewhat.
Carrick, among the pioneers of the Central Otago wine region, was established in 1993 by Steve Green and Barbara Robertson Green, planting pinot noir where wild flowers and thyme once grew. Their extensive research, undertaken all of those years ago, for the perfect site has been rewarded, as Pinot Noir flourishes in the estate vineyards situated on the sunny north facing Cairnmuir Terraces of Bannockburn, producing wine with an intensity and vibrancy reflective of the region.
GM Francis Hutt, winemaker at Carrick since 2011, has applied his knowledge of organic and biodynamic principals to the wine programme, with some excellent results. Carrick has long been a champion of organic grape management, earning full organic certification in 2011. The years of groundwork and dedication to vine and soil health using methods such as composting and cover crop planting to produce healthy, balanced vines and ultimately, exceptional wines has paid off. They were rewarded for their efforts at the Organic Wine Show of 2013, with their 'Bannockburn' Pinot Noir 2011 taking out the trophy for best red and best overall wine of the show. Max Allen, Chief Judge, was quoted as stating 'it was far and away the standout wine of the show'.
The 2013 Bannockburn Pinot Noir caught the attention of Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, being awarded 91+ points in December 2014. "Medium deep ruby purple coloured, the 2013 Bannockburn Pinot Noir has a lovely perfume of rose hips and violets with meaty nuances over a good core of red and black cherries plus a waft of cedar. Medium bodied and just a little woody at this youthful stage. It offers a great core of red berry flavours and a long satiny finish." Now, after a further two years of bottle age to allow the wine to settle and blossom, this Pinot is singing!
The 2014 Carrick Bannockburn Pinot Noir follows on from the excellent 2013 vintage with concentrated fruit characters, excellent body and a long lingering silky finish. Bob Campbell MW reviewed this wine in the June/July 2017 edition of Gourmet Traveller Wine Magazine - "This is the style of Carrick I remember from old and is certainly their best pinot noir I’ve tasted in a while. Lush, ripe wine with plum and spice flavours and a seductively silken texture. Delicious now. - 95 points."
Carrick have lately caught the attention of Mike Bennie, of Gourmet Traveller Wine Magazine and The Wine Front, “Carrick have always been a very good producer, but in recent years seem to have elevated to a very, very good producer. Fine tuning in cellar, more concerted effort in vineyard and looking at single sites. Lots to like. Top 10 list for Central Otago, for me, easy."
Continuing this impressive pedigree is the newly released 2015 Bannockburn Pinot Noir, scoring a very impressive 93 points from Decanter.com November 2018:
"Savoury, herbal notes precede ripe but tart redcurrant fruit. Very fine tannins give the most pleasant, gentle crunch. Backbone and bite allow the fruit to become luminous. Impressive. Drink 2020-2035."
In addition, the 2015 Bannockburn Pinot Noir has been awarded Best Organic Red Wine at NZ Wine of the Year Awards, 2018.
The 2015 Bannockburn Pinot Noir may be purchased right here.