“A new flagship label from this highly acclaimed Alexandra producer”
When this Block 6 Pinot Noir was first reviewed, Bob Campbell MW rated the wine 95/100 and Raymond Chan rated the wine 19.0/20.
Five years later Bob Campbell MW has raised his rating to 96/100. “The wine has become mellower and more complex”.
Why make a wine separate from our single vineyard wine, Grasshopper Rock, Earnscleugh Vineyard, Pinot Noir?
As the vineyard matures the vines become more comfortable in their environment. Vine roots continually grow down and outwards, searching for moisture and nutrients, as they have been doing for nearly 20 years now. The vine trunks have grown thicker and built reserves of energy to release each spring. With age, vines become less influenced by the season and more influenced by the soils and environment they grow in. Obviously, the weather continues to be a major influence but less than when the vines are only a few years old with limited root development.
In 2014, with vines at ten plus years of age, we felt we were seeing a change in the vines and a new level of maturity. In one area of the vineyard, named Block 6, the vines are very closely planted and some of the highest density plantings in Central Otago at 5,800 vines per hectare. The yields per vine are lower and bunch sizes smaller here. While Block 6 is our largest block of vines, we don’t make a selection of the grapes picked but instead we select three barrels of wine made from the block we believe will make the best possible wine. A wine is produced which highlights the special character of this block.
The soils in Block 6 are the lightest in the vineyard. They are young soils, mainly stones, sand and silt. There is virtually no clay in these soils. Deep free draining gravels can be seen in the image below.
Block 6 made in 2014 and 2016
We made the Block 6 wine again in 2016. Only two vintages have been made so far.
Making a separate single block wine is a journey of discovery and learning, and our thinking has evolved.
With the 2014 and 2016 wines, our intention was to produce something special that was a step above the single vineyard wine. At the time it didn’t feel like we had achieved this and perhaps the wines were too young to provide a further level of enjoyment. To me they were academically challenging because they were significantly different but not what I would identify as better, although of course, with 95-point ratings the wines were still rated outstanding and in the top echelon of Central Otago Pinot Noir.
Both wines have improved
Today the wines are different. The 2014 has been aging in the bottle for nearly eight years and the 2016 for six years. The wines have both evolved beautifully, become more complex and now offer something quite special with their own story.
After years of personally watching these wines evolve, I think block wines such as Block 6 can offer an interesting addition to the Grasshopper Rock story for our customers. Wines with their own individual layers of complexity and cerebral challenges.
I think this is why we make a wine separate from our single vineyard wine and why we will continue to make these wines.
The latest wine reviews
The latest tasting notes below from Bob Campbell MW were published in November 2022.
2014 Grasshopper Rock Block 6 Pinot Noir - 96/100
The first release of a three-barrel selection flagship label, now available at the cellar door. Complex, savoury and moderately intense wine with dried herb, floral/dried rose petal, cherry/berry flattered by a hint of fruit sweetness balanced by fine, peppery tannins. Last tasted five years ago, and the wine has become mellower and more complex. (Drink 2022–2026)
2016 Grasshopper Rock Block 6 Pinot Noir - 95/100
Limited edition pinot noir (500 bottles) from a block selected for its distinctive character Supple, fragrant wine with cherry, dried herbs/tobacco, thyme, floral/violet, pot potpourri characters. Last tasted just over one year ago, and the wine seems to have gained complexity . (Drink 2022–2029)