Pinot Noir Greatness From The End of the Earth
New Zealand’s Central Otago might seem far from the world’s winegrowing spotlight, but a climate akin to Burgundy and rugged, low-yielding soils, make it a perfect spot for Pinot Noir. The 2015 Akarua “RUA” proves that and more. Awarded 95 points at Decanter’s World Wine Awards, the 2015 Rua was the top New Zealand Pinot Noir in the competition. Decanter called the 2015 “a real charmer with no lack of finesse and flavour. Positively impressive.” In most places, a 95-point Pinot Noir would bare at least a $50 price tag, but as much of the wine world is still waking up to New Zealand, there is incredible value to be found here — for now. Don’t sleep on this under-$20 gem.
Akarua is one of Central Otago’s most highly touted producers. In the last six years, the estate has gone on a tear, winning 28 gold medals and 12 “Best of” trophies at international wine competitions. Success hasn’t come overnight, however. Akarua’s founders, the Skeggs family, were among the first to identify the potential of Central Otago over twenty years ago.
The first vines were planted under Sir Clifford Skeggs’ direction on warm, north-facing slopes in the superlative Bannockburn subregion in 1996. The first vintage was produced in 1999. Now the largest landholder in Central Otago, and guided by Sir Clifford’s son, David Skeggs, Akarua has incredible control over what goes into the finished wines, and their winemaking and vineyard management teams continue to push the envelope on quality.
Vineyard manager Mark Naismith is transitioning the estate into organics and biodynamics, and winemaker Andrew Keenleyside applies his deft touch in the cellar, bringing a decade of experience at the estate, with previous stints at top producers in California, Oregon, and Germany. All the right pieces are in place at Akarua, and with international recognition on the upswing, it won’t be long before the Rua’s $19.99 price tag disappears. Make sure to lock in a case before it does.