Well known for Pinot Noirs, Chardonnay, and Riesling, especially their “block” wines, Felton Road winery – Central Otago, New Zealand – has a well-deserved reputation for excellence. Their wines have good distribution in Australia and elsewhere. The detailed website has much detail on each vintage and a handy, albeit optimistic “when to drink” chart.
This Felton Road wine is a bright light gold, showing the prized combination of fruit vibrancy and complexity from development in the bottle. Citrus (lime and lemon) is to the fore, wax and light honey – then ripe red apple emerges. The palate – 64g/l residual sugar- sits at around Spatlese-weight, the citrus flavours are joined with slinky textural flintiness plus the red apple, and some fruit-salad flavours. Acidity matches the fruit sweetness. It’s in the zone now, and hard to imagine better drinking with more age.
Drink to 2023, and 91 points.
This is a sibling of the Auburn Bannockburn Riesling tasted recently. Not surprisingly, it’s similar, but not identical.
From a sub-region of Central Otago, in a screwcapped crazy-tall bottle, the wine is pale in colour. It has varietal lime and lemon aromas, with wafts of mineral and tangy saline characters, possibly with some botrytis. The palate is rich and crunchy, carrying its 48 g/l of residual sugar; intense citrus , red apple and stony, talcy flavours linger deliciously. This wine is more complete than the nearby Bannockburn-sourced wine – there is no hardness or reductive distractions; just fruit purity. Overall, an excellent wine.
Drink to 2022, and 92 points.
I seldom see Rieslings from Central Otago (NZ) – apart from Felton Road- and I am not familiar with wines from Auburn. They make Riesling wines from several small plots in the region, and I will open a Lowburn and report on it soon.
It’s a tall, and absurdly heavy bottle. Under screwcap, this wine is pale, but displays vibrant lime and orange blossom aromas, fainter spice (ginger) notes, and some reductive touches too. The palate shows welcome viscosity, and brisk natural acidity which neatly balances the 45 g/l of residual sugar. There are echoing orange and mandarine flavours, plus mineral notes, but there is also some underlying hardness, which prevents a higher score. This level of integrated sweetness means it suits a surprising variety of dishes; it was consumed with pan-fried salmon, but would also match well with many Asian-oriented meals – or by itself as a surprising aperitif.
It scores 89 points, and will provide drinking pleasure to at least 2020.