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95 Points: World-Class Pinot from a Groundbreaking Winemaker - 11/04/2019 - New Zealand

If you are a regular reader of K&L’s emails, you’ve likely already heard us singing the praises of the Pinots out of Central Otago. Rudi Bauer, the winemaker behind Quart Reef, is a big reason why these wines are earning so much acclaim. Bauer realized early on the potential for this little corner New Zealand to produce world-class Pinot Noir. His commitment and devotion are a big part of the reason for the region’s ever-growing success. Notable for their refinement and elegance, but not without ample concentration and range, Central Otago Pinots offer the perfect balance of the old world and new. Critics and collectors alike are realizing the outstanding value these wines deliver. Enter the 2017 Quartz Reef "Bendigo Single Vineyard" Pinot Noir. A brilliant example of what this region can deliver, it has the kind of profile and approach that will win over just about anyone. It is irresistible now and will continue to develop quite nicely for a decade or more. The Bendigo vineyard imparts a distinct mineral component, further adding to the wine’s complexity. We’d happily pay twice for a wine of this caliber, but because it is a direct import, we can sell it for a very affordable $34.99. We urge you to give this 2017 a spin and taste first hand why so many are talking about the Pinots of Central Otago.

Staff Image

2017 Quartz Reef "Bendigo Single Vineyard" Pinot Noir Central Otago (Biodynamic) ($34.99)

95 points Bob Campbell: "Fragrantly aromatic Pinot Noir with ripe cherry, plum, spice and subtle oak flavours. An elegant wine with appealing purity and suppleness. There is also a suggestion of floral character, perhaps red rose? Delicious now but no rush." (03/2019)

94 points James Suckling: "This is a very good Pinot, delivering a mix of powerful fruit and a focused structure. Violets and ripe red cherries sit amid gently stony, flinty nuances, leading to a palate that has a succulent, lithe and juicy core of vibrant cherries and chalky tannins. Great Pinot. Drink now." (10/2018)

93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Earthy, spicy and complex, the 2017 Bendigo Estate Single Ferment Pinot Noir is a rich, savory example of Pinot Noir from a region better known for forward fruit. Hints of mushroom and sage accent dark fruit flavors, while the palate is medium to full-bodied, lush and supple, with a long, silky-textured finish. Drink through 2030. (JC)" (07/2019)

K&L Notes: 95 points/5 stars from Huon Hook:"Very good colour and the wine is all-round bright, fresh, clean and lovely. The tannins are softer here than in the past, although it's still highly structured. Tannins are less blocky and the wine less extracted. Delicious pinot; superb quality." (01/19) *Biodynamic*

Staff ImageKirk Walker | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: October 28, 2019

This is everything that I have come to love and expect from the Quartz Reef Bendigo, intense dark cherry fruit with the faint herbal spice that only seems to intensify the fruit. It has to be the site and the farming but this wine has a red fruit character to it that is unique to itself but always speaks to me of the Central Otago. Rich and mouth-filling, for a Pinot, with soft round tannins. The finish is where this wine shines, it explodes with slightly macerated mixed wild berries that just goes and goes.

Staff ImageStefanie Juelsgaard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: October 25, 2019

While Central Otago may still be a young wine producing region, having only come into the international scene in the early 1980s, its winemakers have quickly become some of the most masterful in the world. Rudi Bauer is certainly part of this group of maestros, consistently producing some of the best Pinot Noirs we carry at K&L. Central Otago is known for producing dark-fruited, brooding wines. This wine does carry those notes, but has plenty of freshness and power to boot. Herbal and earthy, this wine is elegant, not rich and high-alcohol. By far one of the best Pinot Noirs I've had this year.

Staff ImageThomas Smith | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: October 21, 2019

Rudi Bauer is one of the original five winemakers in Central Otago, and his Quartz Reef wines represent some of the best in New Zealand Pinot Noir. Entirely biodynamic, these wines have had a cult following among our customers for years, and Im so excited by the 2017 in particular. When I talked to Rudi over the summer, he explained that it was a difficult vintage that gave them a ton of challenges, but ended with a small crop with incredible intensity. It shows in the glass. Dark fruited with elements of blackberry and black cherry, it is muscular and powerful. Its almost impossible not to draw comparisons to Cote-de-Nuits, but truly this is its own wine. Bright acidity along with a quiet tannin profile that gracefully rests along the palate, this is seamless pinot noir at its perfection.

Staff ImageSarah Covey | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: October 17, 2019

One of my favorite things about the wines from Quartz Reef continues to be their consistencythey are so elegant, beautifully crafted, and expressive of Central Otago. Winemaker Rudi Bauer is so careful with how he allows the grapes to really tell the story of the place, and while similar in style to Burgundy, in truth, they are pure New Zealand. This has always been my favorite New Zealand Pinot Noir. The Bendigo Single Vineyard Pinot Noir has a lovely minerality and fresh acidity framing the bright red cherry, spice, rose, red plum, and a very delicate savory note. The long finish draws you back for more. A perfect pairing with a classic Thanksgiving meal, pork tenderloin or salmon, this very special Pinot Noir is one to stock up on while it lasts (not much 2017 was made!). You will not be sorry.

Staff ImageAlex Schroeder | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: October 17, 2019

The value here really can't be overstated. This is complex, seductive, easy, rich, and refreshing all at once. On the nose, red currant fruit is hoisted by forest floor, violets, a touch of scorched earth and mint. The flavors come together seamlessly on the palate with lightly gripping tannins and the perfect fruit/acid balance for a very pleasant, long finish. Dare I compare it to Grand Cru Burgundy that cost ten times as much? I do, and so should you.