Wine Review: Amisfield 2010 Pinot Noir RKV

Amisfield Pinot Noir is one of the many nice Pinot Noir’s coming out of New Zealand in general and central Otago in particular. Amisfield was founded in 1988 as a specialist producer of Pinot Noir and aromatic white wines. The Amisfield vineyard is in the central Otago area close to the shores of Lake Dunstan. Historically it was actually a high country sheep station for merino sheep. In 1999 planting commenced with four varieties of Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling. It took three years, until 2002, before the first vintage was produced. They are currently producing around 20 – 30 000 cases of wines per year and the majority of that is Pinot Noir, accounting for around 60%. So no surprise it was the Pinot Noir, the 2010 vintage, I encountered at a recent restaurant visit. The restaurant had a fairly overpriced wine list (cheapest sparkling at $50+) but I was happy to find this very exciting Pinot Noir from Amisfield and none less than the RKV 2010.

Amisfield are also committed to sustainable production of wines and are doing a great deal to produce wine that has as little environmental impact as possible. Ther motto is ‘working with nature, not against it’. It is something that is very admirable and I of course prefer a wine produced in this fashion. The do also run a very nice looking restaurant and wine bar close to Lake Hayes. The pictures of it makes me really want to go and visit.

This specific Pinot Noir is produced only in exceptional years and may be very difficult to come by as volumes are not that big either. When the wine was poured the dark ruby red color was what the first thing that caught my attention. It is of course not unusual to see the New Zealand Pinot Noir’s being much fuller and darker in color than the Burgundian Pinot Noir’s. This was in a sense a clear example of the more full-bodied Pinot Noir that often can be seen from New Zealand and the alcohol level is also higher than one would normally find in for example many French Pinot Noir’s.

The aromas of this wine was remarkably full and complex. The aging on French Oak barrels could be noticed in the nose mixed with dark fruit, spices and hints of leather. The flavor is intense with a mix dark berries, plum, spiced oak but I also could sense some earthy flavors and licorice. The wine is really full and has a powerful finish. It is a really nice Pinot Noir and I do appreciate this type of wine. My personal preference is normally the lighter Pinot Noir’s, that feature more subtle flavors. This is more a wine that knocks your socks off and it goes really well with food. Despite the full flavor and fruit it is balanced enough to avoid having sweetness mixed into it so how can one not love it. I know I do!

A very nice wine and I would rate it as a clear 4.5 for quality. At this instance I had the wine at a restaurant at approximately 40 SGD (around €25) a glass but I have seen it available in some online stores for around for around €60-70 for a bottle and that would be deserving a value for money rating of 4. I am very intrigued to sample some of their other wines as well and  especially since I have seen that the have launched a sparkling wine as well.

All the pictures used in this post are courtesy of Amisfield winery (the lighting at the restaurant was insufficient to take decent pictures) and a special thanks to Debbie at Amisfield for providing the nice pictures and a lot of useful background information.