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Wine of the Week for week ending 4 November 2001
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Chard Farm Finla Mor Pinot Noir 2000
Central Otago, New Zealand

Chard Farm pinot noir label This was one of the 'star' wines at a blind tasting of pinot noirs held by the Wine Institute mid-September. And another recent tasting verified that the wine is indeed one that is pretty near the 'top of the class'. And I love it.

The ruby, cherry red, colour is so appealing as are the titillating pinot scents - pinot noir is so distinctive, it's hard to mistake for anything else.

There's plenty of ripe black cherry fruit at first in the palate then rich, savoury, earthy flavours with that hallmark Central Otago herbal nuance topped with sweet spice and enhanced by a punch of acidity. It's a warm, rich, full-bodied pinot with creamy toasty oak loitering in the background. Texturally sensational, the wine is delicious drinking when first opened but as it improved in the bottle over the course of a week, I'd say its got some good aging potential ahead of it too.

"We didn't make a Bragato Pinot Noir from the vintage", says Chard Farm's Rob Hay. Bragato is the designation for Chard Farm's top echelon pinot, which means the Finla Mor is the producer's top wine from 2000.

The Chard Farm website tells us that the Finla Mor is an "assemblage" of some of the finest Pinot Noir from their Cromwell vineyards. Each portion is individually fermented and then subsequently matured in French oak barriques before "assemblage" selection.

It's got 13.5% alcohol and should cost you in the vicinity of NZ$36.00.

We hear much about screw cap wine seals, but Chard Farm has decided that for the moment they are going to invest in the twin-top closure. This looks like a real cork but has two thin discs of cork at each of an agglomerate cork cylinder. The discs of natural cork are gamma ray treated and sterilised to kill any bacteria. Rob Hay says these closures came out best in trials to find a replacement to natural cork. "We've only opened one corked bottle in the cellar door tasting room since we started using them", he says. "That's a great improvement".

Other news from down on the farm is that long time winemaker Duncan Forsythe has left. His previous assistant, John Wallace has replaced him.

Chard Farm wines from Cenral Otago can also be found in Australia and the UK.

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