Felton Road Block 5 Pinot Noir

Felton Road’s 2012 pinots just might be the finest set of new world pinots I have yet tasted. I have certainly never before scored five wines an average of 96 points (search for “Felton Road” at www.tysonstelzer.com to see them all). The planets aligned when Blair Walter and Nigel Greening’s fanaticism in the vineyard and winery collided with the best season to hit Central Otago since Felton Road first planted vines in 1991. The only question that remains is whether Block 3 or Block 5 will ultimately emerge as the best of the 2012s. Either way, this vineyard ranks alongside Rippon, Bell Hill and Ata Rangi as New Zealand’s grand crus. The defining feature of both Felton blocks this year is a reticent, elegant allure of breathtaking grace, yet wanting for nothing in enduring potential. The nose of Block 5 is closed at first, slowly unravelling a story of subtle red cherry fruits, violet fragrance and mixed spice. The palate is even, seamless and effortless, with understated exoticism and lovely purity of finely woven spice, pepper, red cherries and black plums. Tannins are a revelation, intricately fine and silky, yet deep, powerful and mineral-laden. $110 at Wineaway.