75cl * Vegan * 13.5% ABV * Central Otago, New Zealand
In 1959 Andrew Donaldson's grandfather bought a house in the stunning but then remote location of Lake Wanaka. Serendipity and some decades later, this wonderous and challenging area is now one of the world's most exciting places to make Pinot Noir - Andrew's favourite varietal. The term akitu means summit or apex in old Maori and Akitu’s 12-hectare vineyard sits alone at 380 metres above sea level on a stunning north facing slope. Established in 2001 and set in the heart of Central Otago’s Upper Clutha basin on 250-million-year-old schist soils, the vineyard is entirely dedicated to growing Pinot Noir. The area's semi-continental climate, high sunshine hours, hot summers and dry autumns help to create wines of amazing fruit purity and complexity. In the winery, 35% of the fruit was whole bunch pressed with the balance pressed as whole berry. After fermentation, ageing took place in French oak, 7% of which was new.
Dark garnet, the nose opens with spicy dark cherry and a hint of fresh cinnamon over thyme and a wonderful waft of dark liquorice. There is a lift of graphite on the nose with depth coming from dark rose petal and a hint of violet. Excellent depth and complexity while showing opulent fruit density. Rich and generous dark cherry fruit entry opening to an expansive and plush texture with layers of spice and subtle earthy notes. The tannin is enveloped in a silk cushion of fruit fullness and reassuring weight. This wine finishes with a fine beam of acidity which brings freshness and vibrancy as well as an almost infinite length. Pair with Peking Duck Pancakes, BBQ Duck, Panang Duck curry, Duck a l’Orange or Confit Duck.
Drinking well now, this will continue to develop if cellared for 5+ years.
“This is seriously drinkable, but has a serious side. Lovely floral cherry fruit with some hints of pepper and some autumn leaves on the nose. The palate is fresh and supple with a touch of spicy, peppery bite as well as textured, silky, almost fleshy black cherry fruit, finishing with a subtly savoury cured meat character and some strawberry sweetness, as well as fine leafy hints. Lots of interest here, with nice freshness. It delivers pure pleasure, with an intellectual twist.” 94 points, Jamie Goode, Wine Anorak (Dec 2021)
"Delicately-scented pinot noir with floral, violet, red rose, spice, anise, thyme, cherry and subtle spicy oak. Fine tannins form a gently peppery backbone and extend the already lengthy finish. An intriguing wine with supple and seductive texture. Drink 2022 - 2027." 93 points, Bob Campbell, therealreview.com (Jan 2022)