Goedhuis, April 2017
Brilliant crimson colour. This has a wonderful array of cinnamon spice and subtle red berry fruits, with hints of loganberries and damson. In the palate the wine is beautifully harmonious and the tannins have a subtle velvety texture. Whilst there is gentle freshness, there is a feeling of sweetness, joy and persistence of bright berry fruits on the finish. Quite lovely.
Whilst the vast majority of New Zealand vines are planted on the easily cultivated flat alluvial gravels formed by ancient glacial movements, Akitu clings to a north-facing slope near Lake Wanaka in Central Otago. Thanks to the slope's angle, good heat accumulation in this most-southerly and extreme of environments ensures excellent ripeness, whilst markedly cool night-time temperatures help maintain refreshing acidity. In Maori, 'Akitu' simply means 'the summit', aptly named for vineyards at 380 metres above sea level and in the world's most southerly grape growing region, ideal for growing fine Pinot Noir. With only 12 hectares in production, the focus of this estate is on absolute quality. Proprietor Andrew Donaldson and his vineyard manager Steve Blackmore craft wines with extraordinary flavour and freshness. Akitu won four awards at the acclaimed International Wine Challenge in 2016, including the New Zealand Pinot Noir Trophy and the IWC Sustainable Trophy.
For many years New Zealand growers did not know which grape variety could grow in Central Otago. Situated in the very south of the South Island it was always thought that only white grape varieties could be planted. Nowadays however there is no turning back as Pinot Noir rules the roost. There are many reasons why pinot has had so much success in the region, including the dry, sunny climate and the well-draining schist soils. Pinot Noir from Central Otago is usually quite powerful with lots of vibrant fruit and relatively high alcohol.