Central Otago wines have earned a growing reputation at home and abroad, with local vintages bringing home silverware and recognition domestically and internationally.
The spectacular landscape with its mountainous terrain, rocky soils and long growing days gives rise to some of the world’s best pinot noirs, and also offers impressive whites, from clear crisp pinot gris to the occasional full-bodied chardonnay, and roses that carry notes of the region’s stone fruits.
Narrow your focus further and Central has a cluster of subregions, the most southerly being the Alexandra Basin.
Wines from there were celebrated on Sunday at the Alexandra Basin Winegrowers (ABW) annual new release tasting, at the Railway Station, Clyde.
ABW past president Shona Garry said the event was the 13th such, after it had to be cancelled because of Covid in 2021.
The sub-region had a unique terroir and climate that talented vineyard managers, growers and winemakers made the most of to produce wines that were much sought after.
‘‘It’s a little bit different from the other sub-regions so definitely worth a visit,’’ Mrs Garry said.
‘‘Our pinot noirs are maybe a little more elegant, softer — just beautiful drinking wines.’’
Tickets to the tasting were sold out a week before and Mrs Garry advised people to follow the group on social media to be sure to obtain tickets for next year’s tasting.
She explained that extremes of temperature in the basin, with very high daytime temperatures, and very low overnight, help to slow the ripening and develop exquisite flavours.
Some vineyards have an abundance of wild thyme growing among the vines, and thyme notes can be tasted in those wines, particularly the merlots.
Two Paddocks general manager Jacqui Murphy, who runs the organic certified vineyard for owner Sam Neill, said the sold-out event was ‘‘an amazing day’’.
‘‘It was a really wine-friendly crowd. They were interested and engaged.
‘‘It’s also a wonderful opportunity to connect with the local community,’’ she said.