Central Otago (16) Amisfield

new zealand pinot noir

Central Otago (16) Amisfield

Dr Stephanie Lambert, winemaker at Amisfield

There was a storm! Trees fell down! It was supposed to be summer, but this particular Friday night didn’t want to go to plan. Over dinner at Amisfield’s restaurant, a few of us gathered. Power was out so it was cold cuts only. And wine. Plenty of wine.

Amisfield are quite a sizeable Central Otago producer with 90 hectares of vines in Pisa, but the cellar door and restaurant is in Lake Hayes, near to Queenstown. Farming is now fully organic, but the transition was managed in stages. There are still 20 hectares that will be certified in 2021.

Vineyard manager André Lategan has been experimenting with mid-row irrigation. He began with just a few vine rows. The idea was to move the drippers from under the vine row to mid-row. This is because one of the challenges in farming organically is to control the under vine weed growth, and with conventional drip irrigation in a dry climate, this is where the weeds tend to grow because they are getting watered. Any growth mid row is much easier to control by mowing. So now a whole block is farmed this way, and they intend to convert the whole farm to this ingenious system.

Amisfield Dry Riesling 2011 Central Otago, New Zealand
Delicate and refined with lovely citrus and pear fruit, with some apple and spice notes too. It’s bright and delicious. 92/100

Amisfield Pinot Blanc 2017 Central Otago, New Zealand
Just 200 litres made! Creamy, linear and quite focused with a generous midpalate and some melon and pear notes. Finishing bright and linear. 90/100

Amisfield Chenin Blanc 2018 Central Otago, New Zealand
This is tangy with a nice lemony core and some nectarine richness, as well as spicy complexity. Very linear, with some stoniness. Stylish. 91/100

Amisfield Burn Pinot Gris 2017 Central Otago, New Zealand
This is a skin contact Pinot Gris made in an amphora with some upturned barrels, with about a month’s skin contact. Some is whole bunch, some destemmed. Lively and fresh with nectarine and some spice. Fresh with nice grip, with notes of tea and herbs in the background. A lovely wine. 92/100

Amisfield Chardonnay 2017 Central Otago, New Zealand
Two barrels of this made from one-third of a hectare (1000 vines). Linear and fine with sweet citrus and pear fruit, as well as some spice. Nice richness with a bright personality. 92/100

Amisfield Pinot Noir 2015 Central Otago, New Zealand
Supple with juicy red fruits. Sweetly fruited and with good weight. A smooth texture supports the red cherries. A forward, drinkable, delicious style. 93/100

Amisfield Pinot Noir 2014 Central Otago, New Zealand
Very sweet raspberry and strawberry nose. Perfumed and appealing. Juicy, bright and expressive on the palate which is silky and seductive. Nice red fruit core. 92/100

Amisfield Pinot Noir 2013 Central Otago, New Zealand
Concentrated with nice depth and a grainy spiciness. There’s a bit of grip here. Amazing silky texture and fine spiciness, with appealing density. 93/100

Amisfield Pinot Noir 2012 Central Otago, New Zealand
Generous, rich and grainy with spicy notes. Supple fine spicy core of red fruits with a hint of earth. Developed, with an attractive savouriness. 92/100

Amisfield The Breakneck Pinot Noir 2016 Central Otago, New Zealand
This is a 10 barrel selection that’s predominantly clone 667. Sweet, ripe and supple with cherries and plums, showing nice spiciness. Plush and generous in a ripe, more-ish style. 93/100

Amisfield RKV Reserve Pinot Noir 2015 Central Otago, New Zealand
RKV (Rocky Knoll Vineyard) is a single block of 2 hectares, and since 2013 it has been fermented in the vineyard in five open fermenters, 50% whole bunch. They have sent the yeast of these wild ferments off for analysis and it turns out to be unique to the vineyard. This is rounded, sweet, supple and fine grained with juiciness as well as richness. Very rich with layers of flavour. 94/100

Amisfield RKV Reserve Pinot Noir 2014 Central Otago, New Zealand
Sweet, dense, rich and spicy with rounded black cherry and red berry fruit. Rich, dense and sweetly fruited. 93/100

Amisfield RKV Reserve Pinot Noir 2013 Central Otago, New Zealand
Some herbal notes. Sweet and rounded with nice depth. Very rich but also silky and fine. Warm and expressive. 92/100

Amisfield RKV Reserve Pinot Noir 2012 Central Otago, New Zealand
Some evolution here with malty, spicy notes, some herbs, and some earthy hints. Fine grained in a ripe style with supple fruit. 92/100

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