Young but High Quality New Zealand Pinot Noir

Today’s Story: Burn Cottage

Burn Cottage is a family-owned wine estate and farm established in 2003 by Marquis and Dianne Sauvage in the foothills of the Pisa range in Central Otago, New Zealand. The Sauvage family purchased the property in 2002, but it was previously unplanted and used by sheep for grazing with no surrounding vineyard neighbors. The property consists of 24 hectares (59 acres) with roughly 10 hectares (25 acres) planted to vineyards, and all farming and viticultural activity is biodynamic and has been since the beginning. Though the vineyards are planted mainly to Pinot Noir, there are also small plots of Riesling and Grüner Veltliner. The rest of the land is home to livestock, beehives, olive groves, forests, and native vegetation. Marquis and Dianne sought out Ted Lemon of Littorai in Sebastopol, CA to help make their wines and, with a shared vision and philosophy, Ted joined the team. Winemaking is described as minimally invasive, relying on native yeast fermentation by vineyard block and minimal sulfur additions throughout the process. Once all vineyard blocks fully mature, production will peak around 5,000 cases per vintage.

To explore the range of Burn Cottage wines, view pictures of the estate, or read more in-depth information, visit their website here.

Today’s Wine: 2017 Burn Cottage Vineyard Pinot Noir

100% Pinot Noir; 13.5% ABV

The 2017 Burn Cottage Vineyard Pinot Noir is medium ruby in color. Given about 30-45 minutes in the glass, the wine opens up nicely. Aromas are of medium intensity, with the nose showcasing notes of black cherry, spiced plum, violets, leather, dried green herbs, baking spice, and toasted oak. Flavors are also of medium intensity, and the palate displays notes of black cherry, plum, strawberry, thyme, smoke, and oaky spice. This dry red is medium-bodied with medium (+) acidity, medium (-) tannins, medium alcohol, and a medium (+) length finish. Very good and enjoyable now, but will improve greatly in another 3-5 years.

Price: $70. I think this is relatively fairly-priced, though I can’t go so far as to say it’s a great “value” at this price point. It reminds me of a number of the California “cult” Pinot Noir bottlings I’ve had, so this could be a good exploration bottle for those who like high quality California Pinot Noir but want to explore New Zealand.

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