Reviewed: 25th April 2013
I was pleased to have the opportunity to meet with Jim Jerram from Ostler recently to try their current range of wines as well as several older Caroline’s pinot noirs.
Located in the cooler Northern Otago sub-district of Waitaki Valley, the pinot vineyard was first planted in 2002. The relatively thin top soil, with limestone substrate was the key attraction to the producers when they purchased the land for the vineyard.
The pick of the wines was the 2010 Caroline’s pinot. A superb wine that is worthy of time in the cellar. The bargain though, and the one that I will recommend the strongest is the Blue House Vines pinot from 2011. Not overly complicated, but bright and delicious.
Ostler – Riesling – 2011 (17 – 17.5). Floral fruit on the nose, with subtle spice. The palate is textured and there is a degree of phenolic richness. Whilst there is noticeable sweetness, the excellent length and acid on the finish sets this apart, leaving the palate relatively dry to close. An interesting alternative to Australian rieslings. This has 10.6 g/l of residual sugar and is the 1st vintage from this vineyard (planted in 2008)
Ostler – Pinot Gris – Audrey’s – 2011 (17). Lovely floral notes here. This is an amalgam of Turkish delight, spice and phenolic texture. Quite a chewy finish adds interest, but the finish is a touch closed at first. The mid-palate is viscous and textured and this opens and develops richness in the glass. There is good acidity to close. A portion of this wine ferments in old oak.
Ostler – Pinot Noir – Blue House Vines – 2011 (17). Lighter hue than the other pinots tasted here. Soft, fresh and vibrant, this has attractive, albeit uncomplicated fruit aromas. The fresh cherry fruit is the key feature on the palate, though there is enough structure and souring acidity to make this quite delicious. This is an early drinking style that will work really well with food now.
Ostler – Pinot Noir – Caroline’s – 2010 (18+). More density to the fruit compared to the Blue House Vines. The nose is closed, but hints at potential. The palate is dense, structured, powerful, and chewy. The tannins and oak are present, but add texture and complexity rather than overt flavours. With air, this opens to show sweet red fruits and the structure really builds. Whilst this is a wine that needs time to show its best, the balance is spot on. The wine has new world fruit, but is not as fleshy as many Central Otago wines.
Ostler – Pinot Noir – Caroline’s – 2008 (17.5). Typical of the style, but from a cooler year. Perfumed, spiced, floral, red fruits on display. In the mouth, this is silky and supple, developing texture and body on the mid-palate. Lovely texture and mouth-feel, this is very good drinking now, but also has the potential to develop more texture and complexity. Fined and filtered which is not normal for the producer.
Ostler – Pinot Noir – Caroline’s – 2006 (17.5). Very seductive nose! Silky and supple, with masses of red fruit on the palate. Textured and soft, the dusty tannins add to the long, fine, spicy finish. Excellent persistence. Very impressive given the age of the vines.