Not long after attending Waitaki Wine Week, I came across yet another boutique producer from the newest and most exciting wine region in New Zealand: The Waitaki Valley is situated in North Otago about 40 Kms inland from the sea, and stretches for 20km between Kurow and Duntroon on the southern flanks of the Waitaki River Valley. The soils in the region are quite unique with free-draining river gravels inter-layered with ancient limestone sea-beds which together add unique characters to the wines being produced down there.
Jules Matthews, GM of Q Wine kindly sent up samples of each of their current releases, a 2011 Waitaki Valley Pinot Gris and 2011 Waitaki Valley Pinot Noir to taste. Was really looking forward to opening and tasting these – I’m always on the look-out for new and interesting NZ Wine experiences and I can tell you these two wines did not disappoint.
A little bit of history – “In 1863 the Levet family introduced commercial viticulture to a still-young New Zealand. In the spirit of his pioneering forefathers, their great-great-grandson Jules Stephan (Owner) has forged ahead creating his own wine in a relatively untapped region, the Waitaki Valley in North Otago, under the name Q Wine.
Beginning with the dream of many a wine lover to establish his own vineyard, Jules’ personal quest to create perfect Pinot Noirs has resulted in some extraordinary wines that he was compelled to share. The name is a nod to his other endeavours that also begin with the most enigmatic of letters, and is evocative of the vineyard’s pursuit of excellence and quality when it comes to crafting a wine that is truly unique.”
Q Wine Waitaki Valley Pinot Gris 2011
Grapes from 4 different clones on a single site vineyard were hand harvested on 28 April 2011 at 23.4 brix and were whole bunch pressed including stems gently for 5 hours. The subsequent wine made by Antony Worch has developed into a beautiful example of the SV PG’s coming out af the region and would have shown very well alongside the other examples at the Waitaki Wine Week. Bright straw gold with a hint of lime in the glass, pretty floral nose with citrus & summer stone-fruit, soft acidity balanced with a luscious complex fruit sweetness even though there’s only 3.0 g/L RS. Medium weight in the body with that limestone Waitaki minerality evident. The wine has great length and finishes beautifully with a slight grapefruit-pith note that leaves your palate wanting more. 13.4% Alc/V RRP $27.00
Q Wine Waitaki Valley Pinot Noir 2011
The four clones that make up this Pinot Noir were first planted in 2005 at 5000 vines per hectare and were picked on 27 April 2011 at 23.2 brix, 25% whole bunch pressed 75% de-stemmed fermented and aged in a mix of 40% New and 60% aged French oak barrels . and by Grant Taylor of Valli Wines this is Dark purple / black-cherry in colour, very dense with a lighter rim. Intense perfumed nose with sweet oak, spice and earthy notes even a hint of ribena/black-current. Rich dark concentrated red and black berry fruit with wonderful chalky tannins and ripe acidity lead into a lovely elegant wine with a juicy finish – I think this needs some more time to integrate – still far too young – I’d love to try this again in 5 years. Get some, put it away and be delighted… 13% Alc/V RRP $45.00