2018 Kelly Washington, Pinot Noir, Central Otago, New Zealand
Tamra Kelly-Washington is a gifted winemaker and one who goes the extra mile for every one of her carefully crafted wines. Highly experienced, having worked to great acclaim in both Europe and also her homeland of New Zealand, she consults for Michael Seresin’s wines in Marlborough and is responsible for giving his portfolio an exquisite, new lease of life. She also works with her husband, Simon, on their family wine label, and this newly released pinot will show you, in just one sip, why she is a force to be reckoned with and a name to follow very closely.
The grapes are sourced from the Monte Rosa vineyard in my favourite sub-region of Central Otago, Gibbston. The wines from this part of Otago are particularly fragrant and graceful, and in slightly warmer vintages they summon up marvellous, stylish juiciness. In 2018, Tamra used 20% whole bunches to bring enviable spice and tension to this silky red, and with 28% new French oak used for 11 months, there is an underlying classiness and flamboyance which echoes the elevated level of ripeness found in this vintage. This is a perfect example of a winemaker using sensitivity, taste and experience to exactly match the terrific calibre of her pinot fruit to the precise recipe needed to create an insanely delicious wine.
Drinking well already, and with a rather chaotic 2019 Burgundy En Primeur circus going on around us this month, find solace in this Kiwi interloper.
Matthew Jukes is a winner of the International Wine & Spirit Competition’s Communicator of the Year (matthewjukes.com)