Day 2 of this short visit to Central Otago began with Paul Pujol at Prophets Rock. This was an amazing visit. I’ve met Paul and tasted his wines a number of times, and this – my first time in the vineyard – confirmed to me that this is one of Central Otago’s top 2 or 3 producers.
Prophets Rock changed hands a couple of years back, and there has been some rearranging of vineyard holdings, but Paul stayed on, which is a good thing, because he’s a thoughtful, talented winemaker who has had senior winemaking positions in France, and spends a lot of time in Burgundy.
Indeed, tasting with us was François Millet, of de Vogüé, who is friends with Paul. There are Two Prophet Rock vineyard sites, both in Bendigo and both quite different. There’s 7.5 hectares at the home vineyard (which has some lime), and 17 hectares at Rocky Point.
The Dry Riesling is amazing. 2012 and 2007 were both beautiful and textural, the result of a very slow whole bunch press and long ageing on gross lees in old barrels. These are profound wines. The Pinot Gris is also amazing: 2014 had lovely depth and richness, but also freshness, and 2010 showed just a bit of development. Both were quite lovely, with flavour and poise.
Paul’s Pinot Noirs are a bit different. The extraction is very light: just one hand plunge and no whole bunch, and then around 17 months in barrel with no racking. We tried 2013, 2010 and 2007, and all were quite lovely, especially the first two. These are proper wines with lovely acidity, structure and presence. Fine, textural wines that are among the best in the region.
We finished tasting and then headed off to Waitaki, in North Otago.