Alexandra a tiny sub region of Central Otago has a number of the country's smallest producers who are making delightful wines that are well worth seeking out.
Barrington River Block Pinot Rose - 2013
Central Otago's Alexandra Basin can be challenging with some of New Zealand's most extreme temperatures but they do provide the opportunity to produce intense wines full of character and flavour. This one is delightfully off dry with refreshing raspberry, nectarine and watermelon flavours. Perfect with pizza or salmon or as a pre-dinner or lunch drink.
$20 Cellar Door
Letts Gully Pinot Noir - 2012
Samuel Lett was a carrier who drove wagon teams carrying coal to the gold dredges working in the Manuherikia and Clutha rivers near Alexandra. This wine is an attractive ruby red colour and has big aromas of ripe red fruits with a strong preference for strawberry and cherry. Additional notes of vanilla and herbs with lively supple tannins make this perfect with game or lighter pasta dishes. A gentle wine, not overbearing.
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Thyme Hill Merlot - 2012
There's very little Merlot made in this neck of the woods and Thyme Hill located on the north facing sandy slopes of Central Otago is helping to lead the charge. A relatively young vineyard established in the nineties by the late local identity John Kelly. This is a lighter style that is aged for 15 months in French Oak producing a gentle mellowness with flavours of blackcurrant, cardamom and capsicum.
Available at heraldwine.co.nz for a limited time, courtesy of Glengarry and GrabOne Bottle.
John Hawkesby, Canvas Magazine