Joelle Thomson

Wine writer and award winning wine author

What I am drinking, reading and savouring each week


Wine of the week - best of Central's Pinot bunch

If Central Otago Pinot Noirs seem incredibly prolific, that's because Central is the southernmost wine region on Earth and its winemakers are devoted almost entirely to the cool-climate-loving Pinot grape variety. Pinot Noir occupies over 80 per cent of the region's disparate and highly varied terrain. Vineyards stretch from the western most, windy enclave of Lake Wanaka down to the arid moonscape like rocky soils of Alexandra, with the famous Bendigo, Bannockburn, Cromwell and Gibbston Valley wedged in between the majestic mountains that separate each sub region.

The wines are as varied as the landscape but there are a few that consistently make it onto my top 10 list and here is one of them, the latest vintage of which I tasted last week. Mount Edward is an outstanding producer across the board from crisp, Chablis-like Chardonnay to dry Chenin Blanc, dry Riesling and Gruner-Veltliner that can age superbly through to its range of Pinot Noirs. The flagship wine is, simply named, Mount Edward Pinot Noir.

If you want to know why Pinot Noir is one of the great classic red grapes, check out this expression of it.


2021 Mount Edward Pinot Noir RRP $47.99

What is the difference between a good Pinot Noir and a great one?

The answer is in this wine, which is made from two vineyards in Central Otago with slightly different climates and soils, one in Pisa (north of Cromwell), the other in Bannockburn (Muirkirk Vineyard on Felton Road). This fresh new Pinot is all about layers of flavour with fresh earthy aromas leading into a fabulous structured Pinot in which red fruit flavours add depth but are dialled down to allow the wine to shine as a complex drink of deliciousness. The 2021 vintage was a warmer one with a cool finish, which means there is a light touch of herbal aroma on the finish here, but overall this is a great drink now and over the next four to five years.

One of my consistent top 10 Pinot Noirs from Central Otago and here's another vintage that shows why. Great winemaking, Mount Edward team, thank you for the taste last week.


The new release of 2021 Ted by Mount Edward Pinot Noir RRP $31-ish 

Also a tasty little number as a gateway wine to the world of Mount Edward Pinot Noir but this is another story, although the savoury complex flavour notes here are fab for the price - pretty rare to find in any wine from Central Otago that costs less than $40.