Central Otago is the world's most successful southern wine region. The first vines were planted near Clyde in 1864 and although the area can be haunted by frosts, it is producing some remarkable wines that deserve our attention ... including these three from Alexandra Basin.
1. 2013 Hinton Estate Rosé - $20
The Hinton family has grown premium fruit in Central Otago for the last five generations so have considerable experience of growing methods, climate changes and terrain. From pinot grapes, this rosé has luscious strawberry and plum characters with generous natural fruit sweetness. Crisp, lively and drinkable.
2. 2011 Hawkdun Rise HR Pinot Noir - $40
In the heart of Alexandra's winegrowing region, with accommodation overlooking the vines, is Hawkdun Rise. The breakfasts are as generous and delicious as the wines, including this handcrafted pinot with its sweet red fruit that nestles into flavours of brambles, spice and leather. Medium-bodied and moreish.
3. 2012 Drumsara Pinot Noir - $45
From a block called Ventifacts, this is one of the best Central Otago pinots under $50. It typifies the Alexandra Basin style - less bright forward fruit and a more earthy, dry herb flavour with thyme, liquorice and vanilla. There are hints of cherry, plum and blueberry but they are not so dominant and this wine has poise and fine-grained tannins. It should cellar for 6-8 years.