Otago wines seem to directly reflect the intense energy and magnificence of the landscapes surrounding them. The most southern wineries in the world are found clinging to the lower slopes of seasonally snow capped, schist mountains beside clear lakes and raging rivers in New Zealand's South Island. The climate is continental, causing extremes in temperature both seasonally and daily. And the wines are sublime.
In particular Otago Pinot Noir has the wine world talking, and accounts for 70% of the region’s production. This hard to please grape seems unashamedly happy in Otago’s extreme environment, relishing the daily flux in temperature (recorded on one occasion dropping from 33ºC to just 3ºC between day and night), that complicates and intensifies its flavour beyond measure.
Some bold adventures with Riesling, Gewurztraminer and Pinot Gris plantings are beginning to yield excellent results in Otago too, leading some to predict that these newbies may soon compete with the astronomical success of its Pinot Noir.