World leading pinot noir growing at Gibbston Valley winery

Central Otago has established a worldwide reputation for Pinot Noir. Gibbston Valley Winery winemaker, Christopher Keys, explains why…

Central Otago is ideal,

Because of the clean, dry air, the semi continental climate that gives us warm days that ripen the fruit, and cool nights that preserve freshness, colour and flavour; plus the incredibly interesting vineyards that lend the wines unique characters all of their own.

The result is something spectacular – beautiful, graceful and memorable Pinot Noirs that have soul and character. 

This is not an area for generic bland styles. Central Otago Pinot Noirs are striking.

“The Pinot Noir grape variety cannot work in all environments – it is very particular about where it grows.

It cannot be too hot or cold - the flavours get either too ‘jammy’ and bland when it’s warm, or unripe when it is cool.

If grown in wet conditions, the fragile thin skins of Pinot Noir will deteriorate and rot. However, Central Otago’s unique conditions mean we are one of very few places that all the factors combine to bring the best out of Pinot Noir – it flourishes here.

“As winemakers learn about their terroir and vines get older, our wines are getting more and more complex, meaning individual uniqueness is becoming clearly stamped on every bottle. 

Thanks to its inherent food friendliness, its suave silkiness and yet delicate fickle nature, people become obsessed with finding the perfect Pinot Noir.

“Overseas critics and judges like coming here because the wines and the people are arresting and genuinely interesting. 

For a long time they have said, “you are on your way”; now they say, “you are there”.

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