In my view, Jamie is at the forefront of contemporary wine commentary. I found "I taste red" which is one of his books fascinating - it provides a remarkably readable scientific discussion of how and why we sense what we do when approaching a glass of wine. He has taken the time to visit our vineyard and tasted a number of our earlier vintages, I value his judgement highly - even more so after reading his reassuring assessment of our 2016's!
A relatively new arrival on the Central Otago Pinot circuit is Akitu. Andrew Donaldson planted this vineyard in Wanaka back in 2002 on old schist, and the wines are made at Maude under the watch of consultant winemaker PJ Charteris. First release was 2012. It’s solely a Pinot Noir project, and just two wines are made each year. These, the 2016 releases, are spectacular.
Akitu A2 Pinot Noir 2016 Central Otago, New Zealand
White label. 14% alcohol. From Wanaka. Clones: 32% UCD 5, 26% 115, 18% 777, 15% 667, 9% Abel. Treatment: 27% whole bunch, balance whole berry, 12% new French oak.
Lovely floral, expressive black cherry and raspberry fruit with nice freshness, combining good acidity with a bit of grippy tannin. Medium bodied and fresh, this has lovely drinkability, with some pepper and herb savoury notes adding interest. This is nicely expressive, combining some structure, some sweet fruit, and subtle hints of damson, rhubarb and lavender in the background. Beautifully constructed. 94/100
Akitu A1 Pinot Noir 2016 Central Otago, New Zealand
Black label. 14% alcohol. Clones: 68% Abel, 16% UCD 5, 16% Dijon 777, with 40% whole bunch, balance whole berry and 25% new French oak.
This is dense and quite textural with some bitter damson and plum notes hiding behind sweet black cherries, good acidity and some nice fine-grained tannins. Juicy and bright with great balance. Some fine herbal notes alongside the supple black fruits. With some grippy tannin, this is a bit chunkier and more serious than the A2, and has the potential to develop. 95/100