Cult Central: Burn Cottage’s ’15 Pinot Noirs

“In a region where there is a history of too many followers and not enough leaders, Burn Cottage has defined its own place among Central Otago’s Pinot Noir growers,” wrote Nick Stock late last year. Indeed so firmly has Burn Cottage established itself as one of the true stars of Central Otago, it’s hard to believe that this is only the seventh release of Pinot Noir from that gorgeous biodynamic vineyard in Cromwell.
The season started with slow vine growth, with less rain that usual over winter, a very windy October and generally patchy spring weather. Some frost fighting was required – some events as late as December – but the vines escaped unscathed. The weather warmed considerably to above average temperatures mid-season, which gave rise to nice, healthy vine growth and a favourably short flowering. Then came a fantastic summer for Central Otago, with some very warm nights.  This helped the season quickly catch up to normal timing – and from there, ripening went beautifully. Cooler periods in February didn’t change the overall flow of the season and the Burn Cottage team picked in mild weather at the usual time in March/ April, with winter setting in shortly afterwards. 
Last year the estate expanded the range with the inaugural release of Moonlight Race, a layered and intriguing regional expression that fits firmly in the Burn Cottage mould. The follow-up to that is also here, and even more impressive than its debut. Rounding out this trio of 2015s is the Cashburn Pinot Noir.
Nick Stock went on to conclude in that same Gourmet Traveller WINE article: “Impressive credentials are one thing, but the fact that the wines match up to the expectation is where the respect is really earned. These are wines that take the always flamboyant character of Central Otago Pinot and gently taper it to refinement.”
And you can’t argue with that.

2015 Burn Cottage Cashburn Pinot Noir RRP $53
Two-thirds of the fruit came from the Burn Cottage Vineyard, with the balance grown on the Northburn and Mark II sites. The fruit spent an average of 17 days in the fermenter, followed by 12 months in cask and tank. The wine shows exotic notes of orange zest and cherry liqueur leaping from the glass. On the palate the wine is wonderfully understated and elegant with soft, supple tannins. Bright acidity lends balance and freshness to the long finish. – Ted Lemon

2015 Burn Cottage Moonlight Race Pinot Noir RRP $62
This is a blend of fruit from three vineyards. Some 35% came from from both the Burn Cottage and Northburn vineyards, and the remaining 30% was sourced from the Mark II site. The fruit, of which 22% went in as whole clusters, spent an average of 19 days in the fermenter, followed by maturation in French oak (25% new) from Mercurey and Damy cooperages.

Wonderful perfume. Smells cherry-like, savoury, faint dusty spice, touch of clove, earthiness, undergrowth. Really a whole lot going on. Texture is firm, tight, subtle and cool in fruit flavours, long. Long. It’s elegant yet shows off savouriness, tannins are shapely and succulent. It’s restrained, needs time, but offers so much for serious pinot lovers. Yep. 94 points. Mike Bennie, The Wine Front

2015 Burn Cottage Pinot Noir RRP $93
As is customary, this is composed of a range of Pinot Noir clones from a range of best-performing blocks for the vintage across the Burn Cottage site. The fruit, of which 31% went in as whole bunches, spent an average of 17 days in the fermenter before maturation in French oak (19% new) from the Damy and Mercurey cooperages.
Wonderfully complex aromas of fern leaf, rhubarb, potpourri and rose petal contrast with more mineral notes of dust, graphite and gravel. The palate possesses a lovely sweet attack and melts into supple, fine tannins which need a few years to completely marry to the wine. Nevertheless, the overall impression is silky and sensual. Excellent acidity lends great vibrancy to the palate and the wine ends on a long, lingering finish. The rich, silky completeness shows the great potential of this property. Cellaring for up to 8-10 years. – Ted Lemon