Multi-award-winning Alexandra vineyard, McArthur Ridge, has released its 2020 Grand Reserve Pinot Noir. The ‘McArthur’, an extremely limited-edition wine crafted for cellaring, is made to age and show its best over time.
The Grand Reserves boasts complex aromas of dark berry, game, savoury mushroom, cedar, and dried herb, the palate displays a delicate elegance of black cherries, and the tannins are subtle.
Chief viticulturist, Murray Petrie, described the significant effort required to develop a reserve wine of such quality.
“The McArthur Ridge team targets the best parts of the vineyard to carry less crop and to receive the greatest viticultural attention. At picking time, the fruit is hand selected from ultra-premium blocks that represent the finest expression of our Alexandra site,” said Petrie.
Only a select few harvests are capable of producing a Grand Reserve wine. Chief winemaker, Matt Connell, stated the 2020 harvest was chosen as a reserve production year due to its cooler vintage.
“Lower temperatures in the area helped to cultivate higher acidity, and the moderate summer supported great flavour and sugar development,” Connell explained.
With a pedigree in producing spectacular wines, McArthur Ridge is no stranger to recognition for its wines. In 2022, it won many awards for its 2020 Southern Tor Pinot Noir, including two trophies, 96 points and a gold medal at the International Wine Challenge in London.
When comparing the Southern Tor with the 2020 Grand Reserve, Connell was judged as the top winemaker at the 2022 NZ International Wine Show. Connell expressed that while the terroir is similar for both wines, the Grand Reserve received a royal treatment.
“We target the blocks and monitor them continuously, looking for those with more flavour concentration so that the reserve wine stands out as special and unique.”
The winemaker elaborated that the Southern Tor had a reasonable level of complexity. However, the difference was within the fruit concentration. Southern Tor is described as a more fruit-forward wine that drinks better young. In contrast, the McArthur is designed for age-ability, with a greater length of time spent in new oak. The Grand Reserve wine has a more significant barrel influence, giving it more complexity and structure.
Connell suggested cellaring the McArthur Grand Reserve for up to 10 years and pairing it with earthy foods such as mushrooms, gamey meats and lamb due to the wine's earthy nature. However, the winemaker also recommended that it could pair well with oily fish, like Salmon, as a result of its thyme character.
The McArthur Ridge “McArthur” Grand Reserve Pinot Noir 2020 is produced in minimal volume. There are just 200 half cases available, most of which will be offered directly online via the McArthur Ridge website.