As always, the Moonlight Race has played warm-up act to the new-vintage single-vineyard releases from Burn Cottage. And didn’t that wine bode well?!
Well, the main event is here and resolutely lives up to its billing.
This Pinot Noir has lost none of its fresh and original appeal. Mind you, the same can be said for the Burn Cottage vineyard Pinot Noir – more than 10 vintages in and beating its own path these years later.
Of course, this was never exactly the wild child it dressed as. Rebellious in the sense that it made its own rules: Biodynamic from the word go; elaborately planned and planted in a cutting-edge-but-stripped-back way; and eschewing brawn for balance.
But that’s just the point: if the thinking was contemporary, the ultimate vision was classic. Ted Lemon lay the groundwork for a wine that presents an intricate tapestry of this vineyard – a pure and layered Pinot of infinite charm. And the team, with Central Otago native Claire Mulholland at the helm, realises that dream year in and year out.
We’re delighted to present to you the fruits of their labour from the 2019 vintage.
THE 2019 VINTAGE
2019 was a very good season for growth, with the farm and vineyard experiencing regular periods of rain. Some drier, more classic Central Otago spells were experienced in January and February, and healthy plants were vibrant and strong in both the vineyard and property throughout the season.
We had some frost to navigate in April, but around this we observed a favourable, slow, extended ripening. Overall the season’s temperatures were moderate, which preserved wonderful balance and acidity. – Claire Mulholland, Burn Cottage
The fruit was handpicked at an average Brix of 23.3 from the organic-certified Burn Cottage Vineyard in Lowburn between 30th March and 15th April. Nine vineyard blocks provided fruit for this wine, covering eight Pinot Noir clones (114, 115, 667, 777, Abel, Cl5, 10/5 and 828). Some 13% of the fruit went into the fermenter as whole bunches, and the fruit spent 20 days on average on skins. The wine was raised in French oak (24% new) from the Damy, Mercurey and Sylvain cooperages. Alcohol 14%; pH 3.6; TA 4.9g/L.
Layers of interest with aromatics of redcurrant, bright cherry and floral notes underpinned by savoury hints of tea, earth and fern. The palate is vibrant and focused, supported with seamless balance and finesse. Lovely integration and flow with polished tannins that lend persistence through the palate. Cellaring potential of 8-10 years. – Claire Mulholland, Burn Cottage
Intense, vibrant Pinot Noir showing real depth and complexity with nuanced floral, dark cherry and raspberry flavours together with thyme, anise, spice and a suggestion of white pepper. A backbone of fruity acidity reveals energy and helps to promote a lingering finish. A serious wine from one of Central Otago’s top producers.96 points. Bob Campbell MW, The Real Review
Cherries, flowers and sweet spices on the nose. Medium-bodied with fresh acidity. Round and creamy with a caressing texture and a fruity edge. Long finish. Fresh and very fine. Elegant is the word. From organically grown grapes. Drink or hold.94 points. Nick Stock, Top 100 Wines of New Zealand 2021 – jamessuckling.com
From vintage 2018 onwards Moonlight Race has been grown solely on our two unique estate vineyards: Burn Cottage Vineyard in Lowburn and Sauvage Vineyard in Bannockburn. The combination of these two sites produces a vibrant expression of classic Central Otago Pinot Noir.
The fruit was picked by hand between 4th April and 13th April at an average Brix of 23. 54% of the fruit is from the Sauvage Vineyard (clones 5, 6, 667, 115, 777) and 46% from the Burn Cottage Vineyard (Block 2 clones 5, 10/5, MV6,667, Abel; Block 4 clones Abel, 943, 777). The fruit spent an average of 22 days in the fermenter, and the wine was raised in oak (21% new) from the Damy, Mercurey and Sylvain cooperages.
Bright florals, red cherry and plum tones are followed with savoury black tea, spice and earth notes. There is a lovely vibrant core to this wine, completed by silky texture and elegant structure persisting on the palate.
Claire Mulholland, Burn Cottage
A blend of grapes from Bannockburn and Lowburn. Appealing and accessible pinot noir with ripe cherry, plum, violet and star anise. A smooth-textured wine with subtle power. Delicious now but no rush.95 points. Bob Campbell MW, The Real Review