I really enjoy tasting the latest from Folding Hill, firstly because they are classic examples of the Central Otago style, which we could consider today an essential benchmark for understanding what Pinot Noir is capable of. For me, establishing some sort of taste memory for a wine such as this is vital when I come to taste Pinot Noir from Sancerre, Cheverny, the Auvergne (and even the occasional Burgundy) and so on. Secondly, the intrinsic quality here seems to me to be very high, with pure fruit, fresh acidity and confident texture; these aren’t difficult wines to taste! And thirdly because proprietor Tim Kerruish is from my neck of the woods, and even went to the same university as I did. He ended up a wine celebrity in beautiful New Zealand, while I ended up……well, let’s not go there.
This is a small-scale operation, with a tiny production from just 4 hectares of vines. The winemaking is currently outsourced, but all the fruit is home-grown and hand-picked. It is 100% destemmed and fermented in small steel vats, before spending 18 to 20 months in oak. The wines are unfiltered and unfined.
Folding Hill Pinot Noir Orchard Block (Bendigo, Central Otago) 2012: Bottled under DIAM cork. In the glass this is a dark, richly pigmented wine, but there is still a fine translucency to it. It has a fascinating nose, brimming with dark fruits, with a lightly curranty character which I like, reminiscent of dried damson skins, but there’s a rich, sweet confidence as well. Some of it seems to be oak-derived, with touches of cocoa and cigar smoke, some new barrel spice giving it a sweeter edge. The palate is sweetly ripe, textured, peppery and spicy fruit, with damson skins, fresh and vibrant acids here, but with a vinous texture. An attractive, supple, very slick and yet energetic style, with lots of polish. Great potential here. 17.5/20 (January 2012)
Disclosure: This bottle was a received unsolicited sample.