Biodynamic New Zealand Pinot Noir With an Old World Flair

Today’s Story: Quartz Reef Wines

Quartz Reef is a relatively small winery established in Bendigo in the Central Otago region of New Zealand. The winery is named for its vineyards being planted on the largest quartz deposit in New Zealand, with the vines planted in 1998 and their first Pinot Noir bottled in 2001. Quartz Reef is known for their Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and Methode Traditionnelle, however winemaker Rudi Bauer crafts small amounts of Chardonnay and Grüner Veltliner as well. In 2007, Quartz Reef started transitioning to biodynamic viticulture and today is one of only six New Zealand wineries certified biodynamic by Demeter. Rudi makes all his wines following traditional methods through minimal intervention in the cellar, attempting to showcase the fruit and terroir in the most natural way possible while marrying Old World and New World characteristics.

To learn more and view photos of the estate (and the winemaking puppies), visit the Quartz Reef website here.

Today’s Wine: 2017 Bendigo Estate Pinot Noir

100% Pinot Noir; 14% ABV

The 2017 Bendigo Estate Pinot Noir is pale to medium ruby in color and almost opaque. I let this blossom in the glass for about 30-45 minutes, with the incredibly Burgundian nose showcasing aromas of black cherry, plum, black raspberry, leather, smoked game meat, barnyard, forest floor, gravel, and light oak. The palate kicks off with a very similar fruit profile to the nose with black cherry, plum, and brambly strawberry before branching into notes of violet, tobacco, damp loamy soil, green peppercorn, black tea leaf, underbrush, baking spice (like allspice or clove), and oak. This is light- to medium-bodied with medium acidity, medium (-) and somewhat dusty tannins, and a medium (+) length finish.

Price: $40 average (I paid $30). Very strong value here, particularly if you can find it for around $30 like I did. This is my second time having this wine and it is as impressive as the first. While no doubt young and starting to enter its drinking window, this is both incredibly approachable and capable of going another 5-7 years. Great Old World experience with this wine and a beautiful representation of the terroir.

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