Central Otago Pinot Celebration Grand Dinner
Notes from 23 wines tasted at this remarkable event, mainly fine Burgundy

The grand dinner at the Central Otago Pinot celebration was something special. Arriving by the steep, spectacular gondola, we enjoyed views over Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu from the Skyline restaurant. And we had some superb wines.

The way it works is that the organizers provide some wines for each table, but people are encouraged to bring their own and share. I lucked out, sitting on a great table where there were lots of nice bottles. This attracts more people to come to share their bottles too. And geekily, I took notes. It was fun.

Of course, these aren't ideal conditions for careful wine assessments to be made. But I reckon it's the best way to begin to understand a wine – to actually drink it in a social environment. Here are my notes on the wines I tried.

Domaine Leflaive Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru Les Pucelles 2009 Burgundy, France
Tight and mineral with nice primary pear and white peach fruit and a lovely creamy texture. 94/100

Bonneau du Martray Grand Cru Corton Charlemagne 2007 Burgundy, France
Fresh, fine and mineral with a fine matchstick note and some spiciness. Linear, taut, expressive and fine. 96/100

Domaine Roulot Meursault 1er Cru Charmes 2009 Burgundy, France
Ripe, with lovely mealy, nutty notes on the nose. Textured palate with pear and white peach. Lovely precision with some richer notes in nice tension with fresher character. Long creamy finish. 94/100

Lafon Meursault 1er Cru Goutte d'Or 2010 Burgundy, France
Amazing freshness and precision here. Rich, mineral, bold with toast and citrus, as well as a bit of matchstick. So powerful with real precision. Fine and mineral. 95/100

Pierre Matrot Puligny Montrachet Les Combettes 2007 Burgundy, France
Nice rich pear, apple, nut and mineral notes, with some spiciness. Broad and textured with lovely complexity. 95/100

Domaine Leflaive Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru Les Pucelles 2005 Burgundy, France
Such a fine nose: ripe pear, white peach, really aromatic, pure and detailed. The concentrated palate has ripeness and richness with great balance and purity. Such a lovely wine. 97/100

Raúl Pérez and Rodrigo Mendez As Covas Pinot Noir 2010 Spain
This was presented blind. Pale coloured. Very silky and pure with refined aromatics and some green notes. Fresh, vibrant and textured with sappy red cherry fruit. Distinctive, pure and a bit autumnal. 93/100

Judge Rock Sparkling Wine 2011 Central Otago
This is a hobby wine, a traditional method Pinot Noir. Edgy, tangy, fresh and mineral with apple, citrus and spice. Direct with some pithy interest and great acidity. Good effort. 90/100

Williams Selyem Pinot Noir Flax Vineyard 2004 Russian River Valley, Sonoma
Ripe and concentrated with rich cherry and plum fruit, backed by some spiciness. Bold, full but balanced with red cherry and berry fruits and a mineral dimension. 94/100

Domaine Fourrier Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru Champeaux Vieilles Vignes 2006 Burgundy, France
Supple and bright with high acidity and subtle reductive notes, as well as raspberry and cherry fruit. Tastes quite natural. Fine and detailed. 94/100

Jacques Frederic Mugnier Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru Les Fuées 2006 Burgundy, France
A 1.75 acre parcel bordering Bonnes Mares. Supple, fine and mineral with fresh cherries and fine herbs. Lovely elegance and finesse here with richness and freshness in nice tension. Pure. 95/100

G Roumier Chambolle Musigny 2006 Burgundy, France
Very fine and fresh, showing supple, elegant red cherry fruit with some subtle herby notes. Lively, pure and textured with nice precision. A very pretty wine, and superb for village level. 95/100

Mongeard-Mugneret Echezeaux Grand Cru 2006 Burgundy, France
Fine, expressive and leafy with some mineral and spice notes. Lovely textured and detail. Really nice wine. 95/100

Faiveley Echezeaux Grand Cru 2010 Burgundy, France
Very fresh, pure and fine with cherry and herb notes, and subtle greenness. Real elegance here. The palate is focused with lovely acidity and a mineral dimension. Midweight, detailed and precise. 95/100

Daniel Schuster Omihi Pinot Noir 2004 Waipara, New Zealand (magnum)
Nice to be able to try one of the last of the Danny Schuster wines. When they were good, they were very good. Smooth, supple and warm with a bit of herbiness. Sweet and smooth with warmth and texture, Lovely mellow elegance. 94/100

Perrot Minot Vosnée Romanée 1er Cru Les Beaux Monts Vieilles Vignes 2002 Burgundy, France
Supple, pure, fine and expressive with lovely red cherry and plum fruit. Amazing finesse and purity with some red cherry fruit. 94/100

Comte Georges de Vogue Chambolle Musigny 2001 Burgundy, France
Vivid and fresh with raspberries and cherries, with some herbiness, as well as a spicy, meaty, animal edge. Quite grippy.

Maison Ilan Charmes Chambertin Grand Cru 2009 Burgundy, France
My first encounter with a Ray Walker wine. Lively with vivid, ripe red cherry and plum fruit, backed up by some sweet, subtly oaky notes and tangy acidity, with a meaty undertone to the smooth berry fruits. Needs time to resolve itself. 93/100

Mugneret Gibourg Echezeaux Grand Cru 2008 Burgundy, France
Very pure and fresh with vivid, bright cherry and plum fruit with a bit of grip. Lovely precision and minerality with real finesse as well as savoury, grippy notes. 94/100

Tout Près by Farr Pinot Noir 2008 Geelong, Australia (magnum)
Fine, fresh herb and cherry fruit with a fine leafy note. There's some sweet warmth to the fruit on the palate as well as real elegance. Such a lovely wine. 95/100

Gérard Raphet Charmes Chambertin Grand Cru 2006 Burgundy, France
Warm, sweet and a bit spicy with minerals and herbs. Textured and supple with nice finesse. 94/100

Littorai Hirsch Vineyard Pinot Noir 2004 Sonoma Coast, California
Warm and sweet with focused, fine cherry and plum fruit on the nose. The palate is pure, supple, fine and fresh with red berry and cherry fruit. Rich and sweet yet elegant. 94/100

Rousseau Rochettes Chambertin Clos des Rouchettes 2002 Burgundy, France
Very lively and fresh with aromatic red cherries and herbs. There's some savoury grip, with structure allied to finesse. 94/100

See also:

Central Otago masterclass
Burgundy masterclass
24 fine wines tasted at the Grand Dinner

Gibbston Valley
Chard Farm
Wooing Tree
Folding Hill
Mount Difficulty
Lowburn Ferry
Grasshopper Rock
Doctors Flat


Visiting Central Otago, New Zealand (series)
Visiting Martinborough, New Zealand (series)

Wines tasted 02/14  
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