A love letter to Felton Road
Dear Felton Road,
Ok this is a bit embarrassing to admit, but I have a little crush on you. Well not you personally because there is no ‘you’, but your wines. Here are a few reasons why I like you:
You practice Biodynamic and therefore sustainable farming. You allow goats and chickens, and other animals and plants to roam freely to create biodiversity in your vineyards which in turn produces healthier grapes and tastier wine.
You try to practice as much ‘minimal interventionalism’ in the winery as possible. This means no filtering and fining for your famous Pinot Noir and very little for your Chardonnay. It means you only use spontaneous and wild or indigenous yeasts. You treat oak as ‘a subtle companion not a loud guest’. Your single vineyard wines speak of a sense of place, and not of ‘their size or hierachy of flavour’.
Your Chardonnays are all gorgeous specimens that would change the minds of many a Chardonnay-hater. Your 2009 Elms has what I’m always wanting in a good Chablis–the steely acidity and minerality–but at last with some fruit! Your floral, citrusy Bannockburn and your only-slightly-more-oaked Block 2 Chard are also simply scumptious.
Your famous Pinot Noirs deserve all the accolades they so often receive. Easily some of the best I’ve tried in New Zealand. From the subtle red berries and sprinklings of chocolate and violets that make up your Bannockburn to your more austere and complex Calvert, to your voluptuous, smoky Cornish Point; these are what good New World Pinots should be. But it’s the older guys like your Block 5 2005, with its haunting flavours of rose, leather, smoke, and still-ripe red fruits, and your Block 3 2000, which threads together notes of raisin, dry leaves, wet earth, and an oily texture, that I crave any time of the year (and any time of the day for that matter–glass of Pinot for elevenses anyone?!).
Your Rieslings are pretty darn good too. Your Dry Riesling 2010 is a zippy, limey, peachy, perfumed little number. And your Bannockburn 2010, despite having 57 grams of residual sugar (yowsers!), is amazingly high in acidity–an off-dry version of a German Kabinett or Spatlese.
Your website is kick a@s.
Your cat, despite being christened with a slightly cheesy name (Jancis), is the most cuddly thing in the world. There is nothing better than doing a tasting with a purring cat gazing up at you adoringly. Really, nothing.
Did I mention I love your cat?
Do you want to go steady Felton Road? Circle ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
Love, your not-so-secret admirer
**A special thank you to Blair (winemaker), Todd (assistant winemaker), and Tracy (La Petite Fromage) for a tour of their beautiful winery, a tasting of their fabulous wines, and a good cuddle with their cat.
**Felton Road is located in Central Otago (east of Queenstown) in New Zealand’s stunning south island (it’s the most southerly wine growing region in the world!). As always, put their wine into Wine Searcher to find out where it’s available near you.