This wine received a 90 Point score from Josh Reynolds of Vinous Media who declared, "This is a wonderful value in Pinot Noir." Of course, he was referring to this wine at the regular price and we've been selling a lot of it at $21.98 per bottle. The great news is we received special pricing and can now offer the Innocent Bystander at $14.95 per bottle! This is a savings of more than 30%.
Even more impressive, Allen Meadows of Burghound also gave this wine a 90 point score. Meadows is a well-known wine critic who is regarded as perhaps the greatest authority on Pinot Noir. He does not hand out high scores without merit and it unusual to see him give 90 points to a wine at this price point.
The southernmost vineyards of the world lie in Central Otago. Unlike most other New Zealand appellations, Central Otago is located inland in the middle of the southern island. Its continental climates feature large diurnal shifts with warm temperatures during the day and very cool nights. This makes Central Otago perfect for growing grapes which thrive in cool climates such as Pinot Noir. The grapes are harvested by hand and the wine is made with minimal intervention, letting the grapes speak for themselves.
The Innocent Bystander is a perfect wine for this time of year when the sun is shining a little brighter and things are warming up. This is a versatile wine which can be served to friends and family with confidence.
ANTONIO GALLONI VINOUS MEDIA 90 POINTS - "Vinified with 25% whole clusters and aged for ten months in 90% used and 10% new French oak barriques. Light red. Intensely perfumed nose combines red berries, potpourri and Asian spices, with a hint of musky sassafras in the background. Juicy and incisive on the palate, offering sappy raspberry and cherry flavors and a strong suggestion of spicecake. Shows excellent clarity and lift on the floral, firmly tannic finish. This is a wonderful value in Pinot Noir."
BURGHOUND 90 POINTS - "A restrained but quite elegant and pretty nose offers up a layered blend of both red and dark pinot fruit, spice, violet and plum scents. There is both good verve and volume to the delicious, round and agreeably textured middle weight flavors that possess fine depth and length. While there is a very subtle trace of warmth it is no more than a background nit and overall this is really quite good. Moreover, note that it could easily be enjoyed now if young fruit is your preference."
Country: New Zealand
New Zealand wine is largely produced in ten major wine growing regions spanning latitudes 36° to 45° South and extending 990 mi. The regions are from north to south; Northland, Auckland, Waikato/Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, Hawke's Bay, Wellington, Nelson, Marlborough, Canterbury/Waipara and Central Otago. New Zealand red wines are typically made from a blend of varietals (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and much less often Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec), or Pinot Noir. Recently, in Hawkes Bay, there have been wines made from Syrah, either solely or blends, as well as Tempranillo, Montepulciano and Sangiovese. In white wines Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc predominate in plantings and production. Individual wine makers and the particular qualities of a vintage are more likely to determine factors such as malolactic fermentation or the use of oak for aging.
Varietal: Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir is a red wine grape variety of the species Vitis vinifera. Pinot Noir grapes are grown around the world, mostly in the cooler regions, but the grape is chiefly associated with the Burgundy region of France. Other regions that have gained a reputation for Pinot Noir include the Willamette Valley of Oregon, the Carneros, Central Coast and Russian River AVAs of California, the Walker Bay wine region of South Africa, Tasmania and Yarra Valley in Australia and the Central Otago, Martinborough and Marlborough wine regions of New Zealand. Pinot Noir is also a primary variety used in sparkling wine production in Champagne and other wine regions. It is widely considered to produce some of the finest wines in the world, but is a difficult variety to cultivate and transform into wine. The grape's tendency to produce tightly packed clusters makes it susceptible to several viticultural hazards involving rot that require diligent canopy management. The thin-skins and low levels of phenolic compounds lends Pinot to producing mostly lightly colored, medium bodied low tannin wines that can often go through dumb phases with uneven and unpredictable aging. When young, wines made from Pinot Noir tend to have red fruit aromas of cherries, raspberries and strawberries. As the wines age, Pinots have the potential to develop vegetal and "barnyard" aromas that can contribute to the complexity of the wine.