A Central Otago Night, amongst the mud pools of Rotorua, in a little piece of France.
We set up camp in Rotorua a place famous for its Hot Springs and Mud Pools, not so famous for the all pervasive stench of sulphur that invades the senses, maybe not really the best place to be drink wine. But we persevered and ended up having a few good ones including a 2008 Thornbury Central Otago Pinot Noir over dinner at Max’s a mid range Steak House, this was a good example of Central Otago Pinot Noir with the fresh fruit and tight structure that makes it a good food wine, with a good amount of red cherry fruit and a tight tannin structure with a hint of mirerality it went well with the Rack of Lamb.
Diner was followed by drinks at the camping ground with four French rugby fans in their campervan, where a 2008 Mt Difficulty Pinot Noir and a 2006 Carrick Pinot Noir (both from Central Otago) were consumed with some bloody French aperitifs of some description while the French hosts chewed on some very unappetizing chicken pieces. Both wines are stunners and the extra couple of years on the Carrick gives it greater depth of darker fruit that integrates with the smooth tannins to producing a great full mouth feel and a long finish, the pick of the night. The night finished late and messy but very happy and friendly, with our French hosts offering us one of their non smuggled bottles of Armagnac*. Some of the Armagnac was transferred into French wine bottles before they left for New Zealand as they are allowed 4.5 liters of wine and 3 bottles of Spirits. Smart move if you drink spirits.