Part 4: New Zealand's Central Otago region

Steve Green

Steve and Barbara Green purchased the property that is now Carrick Estate back in 1993, and at this stage it was just the 14th vineyard in the region, and the first in the Bannockburn district.

The vineyard and winery from the air

Originally, Carrick was part of the Mount Difficulty consortium of five separate vineyards marketing under one label. ‘We did it for two years and then Barb and I said we’d do our own thing,’ explains Steve. So they went out on their own, releasing the first wines under the Carrick label in 2000.

Steve’s background was in local government, while Barbara was a nursing tutor, and they were based in Hawkes Bay, where they acquired a love for wine. They decided this was their future, and headed south to Central Otago, which was still in its infancy as a wine region. Pioneering winegrower Alan Brady had planted some vines, and they got to know him. They also did a two-year correspondence course at Hawkes Bay EIT, and established the vineyard on their own.

Winemaking here is in the hands of Jane Docherty, previously at Felton Road, who has been involved since the 2008 vintage. Viticulturalist Blair Deaker, formerly of Villa Maria, has been moving things in the direction of organics.

The view from the property

The Rieslings, in dry, just off-dry and sweet incarnations are superb. Pinot Noir is among the best in the region, with the new high-end Excelsior bottling showing potential for serious development in bottle, something that can’t be said for too many Central Pinots.

The winery


Carrick Dry Riesling 2008 Central Otago
This is the first vintage of the dry Riesling, and it weighs in at 12.5% alcohol. Nicely focused, limey fruit with nice texture: smooth with good fruit expression, showing lime, apples and a hint of honey. Some fruit sweetness here. 89/100

Carrick Riesling 2008 Central Otago
Lovely focused, limey nose with some honeyed richness. The palate is bright and lively with good acidity. Very fresh and intense with lovely lemony purity. Good balance here. 18 g/l residual sugar. 90/100

Carrick Riesling 2007 Central Otago
Lovely fruit here: a bit limey with some smoothness to the texture. Gently smooth with elegance as well as some limey spiciness. 90/100

Carrick Riesling 2004 Central Otago
Some herby notes, a bit of green pepper and a little sweetness, but overall this is dry and focused with nice limey fruit. Still youthful. 91/100

Carrick Josephine Riesling 2008 Central Otago
9.5% alcohol, 50 g/l residual sugar. Really lively and vivid with lovely intensity and focus. Sweet, vivid and limey with notes of lemon, honey and peach. Just delicious. Vivid and lively. 92/100

Carrick Chardonnay 2007 Central Otago
Lovely fresh style with some rich butter and toast notes countered by fresh acidity and herbal notes. Less than 15% new oak preserves the fruitiness. Delicious. 89/100

Carrick Pinot Noir 2007 Central Otago
Nicely dense with some spicy structure under the ripe  berry and cherry fruit. Focused and bright with nice acidity and some spicy complexity. 92/100

Carrick Excelsior Pinot Noir 2005 Central Otago
Just 6 barrels (120 cases) made of this high end Pinot Noir. This was the debut vintage. Pure, smooth, aromatic nose with some warm spiciness and real elegance. The palate shows lovely focus with taut, spicy structure under the fruit. This is grown-up Central Otago Pinot Noir. The mid palate has some tannic structure that dominates the rich fruit. Lovely stuff with real potential for development. 94/100

Carrick Excelsior Pinot Noir 2006 Central Otago
Smooth, pure cherry and berry fruit nose. The palate is supple with bright fruit. Very stylish with some nice structure, spice and a bit of earthiness. Very supple, showing some elegance. 93/100

Carrick Excelsior Pinot Noir 2007 Central Otago
Will be released in September 2010. Wonderfully focused nose showing dark cherries, raspberries and spice. Taut. The palate has lovely richness with layers of spice, dark fruits and grippy tannins. Beautifully textured, with real potential for development. 95/100

Felton Road
Mount Difficulty
Pisa Range 
Gibbston Valley

Wines tasted 02/10  
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