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The wines of Felton Road, Central Otago

UK agent: Winesource (01225 783007)

Editor's note: see a more recent review, based on a visit in January 2010

Winemaker Blair Walter is making some of New Zealand’s most sought after Pinot Noir from vineyards in the southerly region of Central Otago [aside, this is known by the locals simply as 'Central', and Otago is pronounce o-tarr-go]. Felton Road’s vineyards were planted as recently 1992, and three new local vineyards have now been planted at Cornish Point, Drystone Vineyard and The Sluicings. Central is very much an upcoming region although people originally assumed it would just be too cold for viticulture here. 

Felton Road Dry Riesling 2001, Central Otago
Pale in colour. Very bright aromatic nose with some complex citrus notes. Lovely intense crisp, fresh palate finishes dry. Very expressive in a lighter style. This is impressive: focused and crisp. Very good/excellent

Felton Road Chardonnay 2001, Central Otago
Unoaked. Distinctive forward fruity nose with a pronounced herbal/tinned peas edge. The fresh full flavoured palate shows more of this herbal character. Interesting, but a bit odd. Good/very good

Felton Road Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 2000 Central Otago
Pale yellow/gold colour. Distinctive, intense nose with some subtle nutty/toasty notes and a herbal edge. Not at all overoaked. The palate is rich with some fruity, herbal notes and a big texture. Interesting: savoury and rich. Very good+

Felton Road Pinot Noir 2000, Central Otago
Deep red/purple colour. Intense nose showing vibrant cherry fruit with rich savoury herbal undertones; quite complex. Rich juicy palate with a nice herbal complexity to the bright fruit. In a new world style, but not at all jammy. Very good/excellent (c. £18)

Felton Road Pinot Noir ‘Block 5’ 2000, Central Otago
Deep red/purple, verging towards black. Intense nose shows medicinal/herbal complexity, some cherry/berry fruit and a touch of spice. Juicy, concentrated palate is intense with a spicy edge and good acidity. Savoury and quite fresh. Quite a powerful wine but still varietally true. Very good/excellent (c. £25)

Cornish Point Pinot Gris 2000, Central Otago
Quite deep coloured. Striking nose with smoky, grapey Pinot Gris character along with a herbal/tinned pea note. Rich textured grapey/bacon fat palate. Plenty of interest and finishes dry. Very good

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