CHARDONNAY, FELTON ROAD | 2001 Felton Road, Barrel Fermented Quite flinty, almost sulphidic says Blair Walter. / 2002 Felton Road, Barrel Fermented Mainly Mendoza clone. Whole bunch pressed. Juice not settled. Full solids. Left on gross lees. 100% MLF. Bottled March 2003. 14.0% alcohol. Seems to have more integration than the non-barrel fermented. Only 15% new oak. Nice spritz, good mix of MLF and oak, slightly flinty at the winery on Monday afternoon 16th February 2004. / 2003 Felton Road All Clone 6 in this vintage, does not give as intense fruit as other blocks which are mostly Mendoza clone. Whole bunch pressed. 100% Juice not settled. Full solids. Left on gross lees. Full MLF. Unoaked. Bottled October 2003. 13.5% alcohol. A lighter vintage. Nice mix of butter and tropical fruit, fullish palate at the winery on Monday afternoon 16th February 2004.
CHARDONNAY BANNOCKBURN | At the winery on 05th July 2015 Mike Wolfenden said this was made almost exclusively from clones other than Mendoza.
CHARDONNAY, BLOCK TWO | Mendoza clone. Planted 1993. / 2014 Barrel sample at the winery with Mike Wolfenden 05th July 2015 who said this was almost exclusively Mendoza clones: 13.5%. No MLF yet. Dry. Lovely clarity of flavour, bright stone fruit, precise and persistence.
RIESLING | 2003 Some wild yeast, some cultured yeast. Arrested fermentation. 38g/l residual sugar. Medium dry. Screwcap. Nice elegant style, very clean and clear, nice balance at the winery on Monday afternoon 16th February 2004.
RIESLING, DRY RIESLING | 2003 Riesling Dry, Central Otago Picking date is mid-April. No MLF. Bottled within 6 months. 11% alcohol. 8g/l residual sugar. Free sulfur of 25-30mg/l usually. Screwcap. Nice crisp lime flavour, well made when tasted at the winery on Monday afternoon 16th February 2004. /
PINOT NOIR | Blair Walter explained his approach to making Pinot Noir at Felton Road to me on 10th April 2011: “Felton Road Pinot Noirs are hand plunged with 20-30% whole bunches at the bottom of the tanks. The wines settle in barrel with 30% new oak, or 40% for the Block Three bottling. Single vineyard wines get racked once at 11 months, then returned as a blend to 3-4 year old barrels. The wines are never fined or filtered. They are bottled aged 14-15 months. Block 5 is pushed to 17-18 months. Pinot Noir gets 30% new oak [Block 3 might be 40% Block 5 is]. We feel Central Otago Pinot Noirs are characterised by flavours at the dark cherry end of the ripe fruit spectrum rather than at the raspberry or strawberry end. The 2009 and 2010 vintages are the first pair since I arrived at Felton Road [his first vintage here was 1997 after stints at Rippon, Newton in California and Domaine de l’Arlot in Burgundy]. It’s the first time we have had back to back vintages which were so similar. Felton Road’s Pinot Noirs from 2009 are floral, ripe without being overripe, with delicate spice flavours, with quintessential Pinot Noir character. These are not full bodied wines like 2005 or 2007. They are refined and elegant. Felton Road’s Pinot Noirs from 2010 have a bit more brawn than the 2009s, so instead of the overtly pretty floral characters 2009 has perhaps more complexity, more diversity if the same form and refinement.”
PINOT NOIR, BLOCK THREE | 1997 Debut vintage. / 2014 The minty/herby one. Cool mint spice herb, very grippy tannins, sweet and twisty, very much red fruit and vanilla and mint at the home of Mike Wolfenden in Cromwell on Sunday evening 05th July 2015.
PINOT NOIR, BLOCK FIVE | From schist and clay soil in the Elms Vineyard in the Cromwell basin. / 2009 Felton Road Block 5 Pinot Noir, Central Otago Around 20-30% whole bunches left at the bottom of the tank when filling, with the rest of the crop on top 100% destemmed. Hand plunged. Aged 11 months in French oak (around 35% new) then racked, blended and returned to mainly older (3-4 years old) barrels. Bottled after 18 months unfined and unfiltered. At the winery on 10th April 2011 this showed a bright crimson colour, bright cherry fruit aromas on both nose and palate with very savoury mouthfeel. Much more grip, substance and interest to the Pinot Noirs since I was last at the winery (Monday afternoon 16th February 2004), and they were not ephemeral wallflowers then. / 2014 2009 Felton Road Block 5 Pinot Noir, Central Otago Barrel sample at the winery with Mike Wolfenden 05th July 2015: Red plum, lavendar, violets.
PINOT NOIR, CALVERT | Calvert is the site with the most continental climatic conditions. / 2013 In the 2013 vintage its wine was not acidified (it usually is), says Mike Wolfenden (05th July 2015) who worked at Felton Road in 2013 (and who told me this at Bürklin-Wolf during its 2013 harvest). / 2014 The shy but cool one. Cool menthol. Quite fluid, much more so than the previous wine [Cornish Point]. Nice savoury aftertaste, lots of fine tannin and red fruit, spicy but cool spice at the home of Mike Wolfenden in Cromwell on Sunday evening 05th July 2015.
PINOT NOIR, CORNISH POINT | 2014 The shy but complete one. Spicy nose. Sweet fruit, complete, intense, Burgundian, ripe, bricky almost, integrated oak blind (I thought it was Block Three) at the home of Mike Wolfenden in Cromwell on Sunday evening 05th July 2015.
Oz Clarke, Oz Clarke Wine A-Z (Pavilion, 2015), p116.