Brennan Central Otago Pinot Noir 2009
“Everything I want in a pinot is here,” noted an admiring Sophie Otton, who was enraptured by our top wine from the outset. A product of the excellent 2009 vintage, this wine is ageing beautifully, its fresh bright primary fruit gently framed by autumnal, forest-floor notes. The acidity offers lift and flow, while the tannins are silky and ripe. “It is a wine that triggers an emotional response,” added John Belsham. “It also demands food.” The panel felt something similarly complex and earthy was needed, like a game dish served with leaves such as kale or sweet and sour red cabbage.
Top Wine Profile
Sean Brennan’s office is his Gibbston Valley vineyard. He’s not only the winemaker, but also handles all the viticulture himself. So he’s among his vines most days, listening to their complaints, offering encouragement, preparing them for whatever season lies ahead. “Maintaining that level of control is important. It gives me the quality I’m after.”
It’s a craftsman-like approach, though not green in the conventional sense. “We haven’t signed up to organics or the sustainability register. My view is minimal chemical input. I’m always on the ground, always monitoring, so if we have to intervene, we do it and use a minimal amount. I want to have those tools in the toolbox if I need them. What I’ve seen with organics is that they have fewer tools so they sometimes use more of them.”
More conventional (for the region he inhabits) is his love of pinot. “It’s a cliché, but it’s true – if you set out to make the best wine in the world, you’ll end up making pinot noir.”