Joelle Thomson

Wine writer and award winning wine author

What I am drinking, reading and savouring each week


Central Otago's newest $140 Pinot Noir

The words Central Otago conjure up mountains and majesty but the region's most planted wine grape variety is also hitting new highs right now with the release of a top priced new Pinot Noir from one of the region's smallest wineries - Coal Pit in the Gibbston Valley. It is owned by Rosie Dunphy and the wines are made by Anika Willner. Both are on a quest to coax the absolute best Pinot Noir they can from their small vineyard site, which is situated in one of Central's coolest climate wine regions, the relatively small Gibbston Valley. Coal Pit has its own winery which makes it one of the few wineries in the region to produce wines from 100% estate grown fruit, all hand picked grapes and produced on site. 

Wine of the week

2019 Coal Pit The Leo RRP $140

This powerfully flavoursome new Pinot Noir has weight, earthy aromas and graceful flavours of red fruit, spice and subtle smoky notes of wild mushrooms. Its commanding style highlights winemaking by Anika Willner, who has built this one to last, giving it extended oak aging to provide structure and framework to the savoury flavours which lead the way in this impressive wine. 

Hand picked grapes were grown at elevation in the Gibbston Valley and include Pinot Noir clones 115, 10/5 777, 5 and 6, all given a brief cold soak (maceration) pre fermentation to provide colour.

It's named after Leo, who was born in the same year as this wine was made, and who is one of the grandsons of winery owner, Rosie Dunphy.