This is a Pinot you want to share or at least sit with for a few. It’s like the first adult relationship you’ve ever had – the first one that didn’t feel like dating – more sure of yourselves, more mature. The current vintage is 2016, which means this wine has been aged for over four years. Winemaker, Sean Brennan, is passionate about the different expressions of Pinot Noir and in this one he sees the full potential once the wine has had time to age. Many Pinots we drink here in the US are young, fresh, and very vibrant in fruit. This one however, is mature and tastes of dried fruit. It’s raisin-y and has kind of a straw or hay thing going on. There is some pepper to keep it zippy, but mostly what comes through is the mature, deep dark richness of this Pinot Noir.
Mushrooms are a fun ingredient to play with here. Roasted as a side, sauteed on top of toast, grilled on the BBQ, slow-cooked in a stew, or added to a risotto. The earthiness pairs so nicely with the umami, aged quality of this wine. If you’re craving meat, this is a gorgeous bottle to use in a red wine reduction over steak or seared meat. Pinot Noir is also a classic pairing with salmon, but we challenge you to add an earthy element, like mushrooms, or a hearty grain to the dish to really bring out the character in the wine.
Working with and learning about this family winery and operation has felt like a trip to New Zealand – to this small part of Central Otago called Gibbstown Valley. The history of the valley is great. An Irish guy named Alan Brady arrived in the 80s. At the time, the area was laden with sheep farms across the rolling hills. Alan was the first to plant grape vines in this cold part of Central Otago, and was convinced it would be a perfect growing region for Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris. 40 years later, Alan is still there, now as the resident master viticulturalist of the tiny region.
The Brennan family first arrived in New Zealand from Ireland in 1877. Dr. Sir Murray Brennan was born in Auckland, but was always drawn to Central Otago. He moved the family there in the 70’s. In 1994, his son Sean (the winemaker) began establishing the vineyard in Gibbston. Guided by Brady, the family planted some of the first vines in this region and haven’t looked back.