Every Burn Cottage release is a landmark. This estate strutted onto the Central Otago stage with such style and swagger in the late noughties that it immediately made a mark. It was also so respectful of nature and place that it was championed by its peers. It was more start-up than upstart, with characterful hard-rocking American Marquis Sauvage as visionary owner, a guru-like vineyard architect in Ted Lemon, and biodynamic viticulture as its cutting-edge tech.
By vintage 2018, it has well and truly come of age. The single-vineyard wine off the home block has 10 harvests on the clock, and never once missed a beat. That same wine has been in the New Zealand Fine Wines classification since the inception of this vinous hall of fame. A white blend from the same site has been adopted and fine-tuned. And, for the first time, Moonlight Race has become a 100% estate-grown wine.
What made this last point possible was the acquisition, a few years back, of the Sauvage Vineyard in Bannockburn. Located on Felton Road – New Zealand’s most-prized Pinot address – the 1999-planted site had previously been organically farmed and was immediately in conversion to biodynamics, along with its Cromwell sibling.
And, even more exciting, we’re able to round out this offer with the first-ever single-vineyard wine from this same site. The gentleman for whom the Sauvage Vineyard is named was initially impatient for his Burn Cottage Vineyard to bear fruit. That land has since repaid his faith many times over with a string of stirring Pinot Noir wines. Marquis and his winemaking team, led by shrewd Central native Claire Mulholland, have shown similar restraint in letting the other pieces of their spellbinding jigsaw fall into place.
It feels somewhat momentous that this has now happened. We’re thrilled to bring this most complete Burn Cottage offer to you. Please note that the wines are scarce and therefore arrive with urgency and additional small print.
However, CellarHand and the Burn Cottage team hope you’ll look forward to tasting and sharing these latest compositions from this inimitable estate.
2017 Burn Cottage Riesling / Grüner Veltliner RRP $69
Both varieties hand harvested at an average ripeness of 21.3 Brix on 20th April 2017. Riesling (67% of the blend) had 24-hour maceration with gentle foot crush to bathe the bunches in juice. Pressed separately from the Grüner Veltliner, which saw no skin contact this year and was gently pressed as whole bunches. Fermented and aged in stainless steel barrels and old oak barriques for 11 months. Alcohol 12.8%; RS 10.2g/L; TA 8g/L.
The delicate perfume of lime blossom, jasmine and quince accompanies layers of spice, white peach and pear notes. There is great focus and fine phenolic texture through the palate, with juicy acidity lending persistence. Medium-dry in style, this is wine delicious now, but will also reward those who cellar it. – Claire Mulholland, Burn Cottage
Such character! Lime cordial, dusty spices, peach, white flowers, thyme etc. It’s juicy and just off dry, intensity of flavour almost like a Starburst, with a fine chalky texture, crushed rocks kind of thing, some preserved lemon tang and gentle bitterness, a bit savoury too, and very long. It’s compelling and fun at once. Good now, probably later too, but kind of hard to resist. 95 points. Gary Walsh, The Wine Front February 2020
Pale gold with high-tone citrus florals, white peach and pear set beneath a faint veil of togarashi spice. Slippery, not slick, juicy but dry, with crisp acidity and pleasing phenolic persistence. Daniel Honan, Gourmet Traveller WINE January 2020
THE 2018 VINTAGE
A very warm vintage with above-average temperatures in December and January. Mid-season conditions were very calm with low wind-run and no significant rainfall, and the season was progressing well ahead of usual timing. Some rain, and then overall milder conditions in February and March meant ripening slowed favourably towards harvest. The 2018 harvest was the earliest to date, commencing 13th March, with the late-season conditions ensuring lovely ripeness while retaining balance and finesse.
2018 Burn Cottage Moonlight Race Pinot Noir RRP $69
It was a warm season with above-average temperatures in December and January. Mid-season conditions were very calm with low wind-run and no significant rainfall, so the season was tracking well ahead of usual timing. Some rain, and then overall milder conditions in February and March meant ripening slowed favourably towards harvest. The 2018 harvest was the earliest to date, commencing 13th March (we finished picking Moonlight Race on 27th); however, those late-season conditions had helped to give lovely ripeness whilst retaining balance and finesse.
The wine is a 50:50 blend from our Burn Cottage Vineyard in Cromwell and Sauvage Vineyard in Bannockburn. It brings together eight different clones from six blocks on the former, with five Pinot Noir clones from the latter. The grapes were picked at an average Brix of 23.7. The ferments contained 15% whole bunches, and the wine was matured in oak barrels (19% new) from the Damy, Mercurey and Sylvain cooperages.
Wonderful savoury and herb tones are supported by spice, red fruit, pepper and mineral complexity. Supple and elegant, the wine is focused with a lovely freshness and fine smooth tannin extending the palate. Cellaring potential to seven years. – Claire Mulholland, Burn Cottage
Rarely is a Pinot Noir from Central Otago so supple, delicious and easy to drink as this little number. Cherry and squishy berries, dried herb and plenty of spice, a little fresh mint and rose perfume. Tannin is fleshy and plentiful, yet soft and gently mouth-coating. Finish is all spice and strawberry with a subtle meaty character, leaving emery board tannin in its wake. Love it. Great drinking now. 95 points. Gary Walsh, The Wine Front April 2021
A blend of fruit from the Home vineyard in Lowburn and the Sauvage vineyard in Bannockburn. Seductive and accessible pinot noir with ripe cherry, fresh herb, plum, spice, thyme, roasted chestnut and nutty oak flavours. 94 points. Bob Campbell MW, The Real Review April 2020
Complex yet subtle, earthy before fruity, floral before oaky, totally varietal and completely captivating. On the palate – dry, tense, fruity, youthful, lighter on it feet, but loaded with varietal signatures of dried herb and red berry fruits, fine tannins and medium+ acidity, mineral and earth layers, nicely complex and nothing overdone. Balanced and well made. Drink now and through 2025. 94 points. Cameron Douglas MS, camdouglasms.com March 2021
2018 Burn Cottage Pinot Noir RRP $92
Grapes were hand-picked from the Burn Cottage Vineyard in Cromwell, Central Otago between 15th and 25th March, with an average Brix at harvest of 23.4. Eight different Pinot Noir clones from nine vineyard blocks made the final blend. The ferments contained 16% whole clusters, with the wine spending an average of 20 days on skins. The wine was matured in French oak barrels (23% new) from the Damy, Mercurey and Sylvain cooperages.
Lovely savoury dry-herb and dark-earth tones partner with bright red fruits, a hint of citrus and warm spice. Initially restrained, the wine unfolds with energy, focus and layers of complexity. Silky, ripe tannins and fine mineral acidity extend throughout the palate. Showing wonderful texture, layers and completeness, we expect this wine to have a cellaring potential of 8-10 years. – Claire Mulholland
This is a very attractive and gently complex pinot that sits in a red-cherry and red-plum zone, laced with spicy, gently herbal and floral elements, too. The palate has a very composed, fresh red-cherry centre with spice and light peppery nuances. Plenty of bright acidity lifts the finish. So fresh. Drink or hold. 95 points. Nick Stock, jamessuckling.com
Complex and fine with aromas of fresh cherry, ripe and juicy raspberry and red apple. Layers of mineral and soil spices with a floral overtone and fine barrel toasty qualities. On the palate – equally fine and complex with a core of fruit, firm tannins and medium+ acidity. Tense, youthful and dry with a fantastic texture and fine lengthy finish. Well-made and ready to enjoy from 2021 through 2031. 94 points. Cameron Douglas MS, camdouglasms.com
An unusually hot vintage has produced a spicier and less opulent than usual pinot noir with savoury, dried herb, raspberry, red cherry, violet and plum flavours supported by fine, drying tannins. Needs bottle age drink 2020–2026. 94 points. Bob Campbell MW, The Real Review
2018 Burn Cottage Sauvage Vineyard Pinot Noir RRP $92
Our new addition to Burn Cottage is the Sauvage Vineyard in Bannockburn. The vineyard is located under hills once prized for gold in this region, now cloaked in wild thyme and rosehip. The land below is widely sought after for Pinot Noir, and the foothills are framed with vines.
It has 5.8 hectares of established Pinot Noir vineyard planted in 1999, located on the northeast side of Felton Road where it sits between the Felton Road MacMuir Vineyard and the Mt Edward Muirkirk Vineyard.
There is the diversity of five Pinot Noir clones: 667, 777, 5, 6, and 115, with a variety of rootstocks.
While there had been some organic management of the vineyard previously, from the beginning of the 2018 vintage growing season we started its transition to biodynamic farming to partner the Burn Cottage Vineyard.
We started picking on 14th March, with the grapes at an average Brix of 22.9. Some 8% of the fruit went in as whole clusters, and the wine spent 19 days on skins. The wine was matured in French oak (23% new) from the Damy and Sylvain cooperages.
This is the first single-vineyard wine off the 19-year-old Sauvage Vineyard vines in Bannockburn. It comprises a mix of clones from different areas within the site.
Enticing aromas of spice, mushrooms, and dark red fruits accompany earth and herb tones. The palate shows wonderful elegance and focus, supported by a textural core, with fine lengthy tannins driving persistence. Expected cellaring 7-10 years. – Claire Mulholland, Burn Cottage