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Rabbit Ranch Pinot Noir 2007
Pinot Noir is well-suited to pair with poultry, beef, fish, ham, lamb and pork. It will play well with creamy sauces, spicy seasonings and may just be one of the world's most versatile food wines.
Rabbit Ranch is a collaborative venture, formed by a group of vineyards that were all individually once part of a Central Otago sheep station. Banding together to form Rabbit Ranch, they have enlisted the help of Chard Farm as a production partner, and secured the services of John Wallace, Chard Farm's Winemaker, and Pinot Noir producer of many years. The Vineyards of Rabbit Ranch are located in the Cromwell Basin, predominately in the Lowburn area. They are all on light, stony soils, on areas that were once part of the glacial riverbed that flowed through the Cromwell area.
The vineyard fell into decline after World War II until direct descendants of Mr McGregor, Warren and Betty McGregor, decided to replant the vineyard. And as they say . . . the rest is history.
Rabbits still run wild on the vineyard and fueled by high altitude Pinot grapes, some are reputed to be the size of ponies. But that could be another tall story...
Rabbit Ranch is a collaborative venture, formed by a group of vineyards that were all individually once part of a Central Otago sheep station. Banding together to form Rabbit Ranch, they have enlisted the help of Chard Farm as a production partner, and secured the services of John Wallace, Chard Farm's Winemaker, and Pinot Noir producer of many years.
The Vineyards of Rabbit Ranch are located in the Cromwell Basin, predominately in the Lowburn area. They are all on light, stony soils, on areas that were once part of the glacial riverbed that flowed through the Cromwell area. The grapes that come from these young vineyards, produce an early release, fruit-driven style of Pinot. It has all the hallmark flavors of Central Otago, yet is very approachable and provides an excellent entry level Pinot Noir.
Central Otago is the most southerly wine-producing region in the world. The vineyards are the highest in New Zealand at 200 to 400 meters above sea level, where they cling precariously to the steep slopes of lakesides and the edges of deep river gorges, often rich in glacial soils. Central Otago is a sheltered inland area with a continental microclimate characterized by hot, dry summers, short, cool autumns and crisp, cold winters
Home to the globe’s most southerly vineyards, which are cultivated below the 45th parallel, Central Otago is a true one-of-a-kind wine growing region, but not only because of its extreme location.
Central Otago is more dependent on one single variety than any other region in New Zealand—and it isn’t Sauvignon blanc. They don’t even make Sauvignon blanc there.
Pinot Noir claims nearly 75% of the region’s vineyards with Pinot Gris coming in a far second place and Riesling behind it. This is also New Zealand’s only wine region with a continental climate, giving it more diurnal and seasonal temperature shifts than any other.
The subregion of Bannockburn has enjoyed the most success historically but the area’s exceptional growth has moved to the promising regions of Cromwell/Bendigo and Alexandra districts. Central Otago is known for its fruity and full-bodied Pinot noir. With the freedom to experiment here, growers and winemakers are easily exhibiting the area’s great potential.
One of the most difficult yet rewarding grapes to grow, Pinot Noir is commonly referred to by winemakers as the “heartbreak grape.” However, the greatest red wines of Burgundy prove that it is unquestionably worth the effort. More reflective than most varieties of the land on which it is grown, Pinot Noir prefers a cool climate, requires low yields to achieve high quality, and demands care in the vineyard and lots of attention in the winery. It is an important component of Champagne and the only variety permitted in red Burgundy. Pinot Noir enjoys immense popularity internationally, most notably in Oregon, California, and New Zealand.
In the Glass
Pinot Noir Is all about red fruit—strawberry, raspberry, and cherry. It is relatively pale in color with soft tannins and lively acidity. It ranges in body from very light to the heavier side of medium, typically landing somewhere in the middle—giving it extensive possibilities for food pairing. With age (of which the best examples can handle an astounding amount), it can develop hauntingly beautiful characteristics of fresh earth, autumn leaves, and truffles.
Pinot’s healthy acidity cuts through the oiliness of pink-fleshed fish like salmon, ocean trout, and tuna. Its mild mannered tannins don’t fight with spicy food, and give it enough structure to pair with all sorts of poultry—chicken, quail, and especially duck. As the namesake wine of Boeuf Bourguignon, it can even match with heavier fare. Pinot Noir is also very vegetarian-friendly—most notably with any dish that features mushrooms.
Pinot Noir is dangerously drinkable, highly addictive, and has a bad habit of emptying the wallet. Look for affordable but still delicious examples from Germany (as Spätburgunder), Italy (as Pinot Nero), Chile, New Zealand, and France’s Loire Valley and Alsace regions.