Central Otago is the third largest wine region in New Zealand, the southernmost wine region in the world and 80% of its vineyards are planted in Pinot Noir, so it’s no surprise that one of our most frequently asked questions at Regional Wines is: “What’s a great Central Otago Pinot that you can recommend?”
We are spoilt for choice at Regional Wines & Spirits where our shelves literally groan under the weight of weird and wonderful labels from the world’s southernmost wine region, but the best wines tower over the rest. And this blog is an unashamed plug for one of the most innovative, open minded, quality focussed wine producers in Central Otago today – Mount Edward Wines.
This week its winemakers celebrated 20 years of Mount Edward Wines with a few drinks and tasty food at Scopa in Wellington. Duncan Forsyth (co-owner) and Anna Riederer make some of the best wines in Central ever year, thanks to their quality minded focus and adventurous winemaking.
This year is the third they have made a Gamay (the Beaujolais grape) and it’s a stunner; my favourite of all the Gamays so far made in this country. Smooth, soft, ripe, powerfully fruity and deliciously tasty. I am super impressed with this wine, which Anna says she can’t bottle quick enough to keep up with demand.
Their inspiration is Morgon; one of the 10 top Beaujolais appellations in the rolling hills of this pretty wine region on the west side of the Saone River in France. Wines from Morgon are generally deeply coloured, juicy, fleshy, soft and structured; everything you want in a red wine, in other words.
They drink beautifully when first bottled and they can age. The same is true of the 2018 Mount Edward Gamay, which we have secured a few precious bottles of at Regional Wines, but be in quick – our store staff (and yours truly) have already snaffled a few bottles of this stunning southern red. And by the way, this year, the production of Gamay at Mount Edward moved up a notch too – Duncan and Anna made 192 and a half cases, which is a big increase on the 25 cases they made in 2016; their first year of production.
Their Pinots are outstanding too. The top tier is Mt Edward Morrison Vineyard Pinot Noir. A special site, but that’s another story and Central Otago Pinot Noir needs little introduction.
The Mount Edward winery was founded by Central wine pioneer, Alan Brady, who also founded Gibbston Valley Wines and his own brand, the Wild Irishman. Brady was a burnt-out journalist looking for a life style change when he first started dabbling with grape growing and winemaking in Central. And while he has retired (sort of – he’s still keen as mustard on making wine), his influence, involvement and legacy remain pivotal to this most majestic of all New Zealand’s wine regions.