The raw sun, combined with the average 12 inches of rainfall per year, affects the water availability in the area. Dry air, and somewhat parched hillsides behind the vineyards are normal for this region, and access to water tables is a necessity-- especially when establishing a young vineyard.
The team currently works with a wide variety of rootstocks and clones, but Ted notes that they don't always ripen at the same time which makes their vineyard work all the more important.
Claire Mulholland (GM & Associate Winemaker) keeps a close watch on things year round, and brings with her a wealth of experience from her former position at Martinborough Vineyards. She has a magic touch when it comes to pinot noir, and a laid back sense of control that also seems to manifest in the glass.
Getting started had its difficulties-- Central Otago has gone through a major boom in vineyard plantings, and it's been a struggle for the local nurseries to keep up. Many people who planted fast had to subsequently rip up their vines and replant because of poor stock. Marquis also notes that labor isn't cheap, and there is only one glass factory in the country making bottles. And yet, here they are today, going strong.
It's been over a decade, and Burn Cottage is settling into a nice rhythm. After you taste the focus in the wines, it's incredible to think that this is such a young winery in such a young region.
Here are a few in-the-moment tasting notes:
Barrel Sample blend of Block 6 & 8
aromas of raw toro, cacao, and dark-roasted coffee. on the palate, smooth open, clear, & soft. A rich yet bright acid supports the rich fruit. The tannins are silty and very, very fine. Extremely balanced.
rich and round, full and lush, like biting into a perfectly ripe plum. This wine leaves you in a hot flush.
2011 Burn Cottage
a highly unique expression here; light and bright, yet soft. An example of finely made wine in a rough year with wet and cold weather. In this year, much of the fruit went to Cashburn.
2012 Burn Cottage
rich and smooth, with a dark spiciness to it- a clear reflection of the vintage, especially in comparison with the 2011.
Notes from a winery visit on 27 January 2014.
Mulholland, Claire. (2014) Personal Communication at Burn Cottage Winery. 27 January 2014.
Sauvage, Marquis. (2014) Personal Communication at Burn Cottage Winery. 27 January 2014.
Lemon, Ted. (2014) Personal Communication in the Burn Cottage Vineyards. 27 January 2014.