Wine Of The Week – Dog Point Pinot Noir 2008
Marlborough, New Zealand
90 POINTS, WINE ADVOCATE
“The 2008 Pinot Noir is matured in Francois Frere barriques, 50% new, for 18 months and bottled without fining or filtering. Medium-deep ruby colored, the nose is very fragrant, floral, with notes of violets and lavender over red cherry and crushed raspberry plus nuances of cedar, thyme, loam and moss. Crisp, medium bodied with a medium level of fine grained tannins, it has a long earthy finish. Approachable now, it should cellar to 2016+.
When we started, we really didn’t know where we were going to go,” James Healy, winemaker and co-founder, confessed as I perched on a stool in the winery’s tasting room. “Ivan (Sutherland, viticulturalist and co-founder) and I are such different people. But we see eye to eye a lot of the time. We never wanted to do the big thing. We wanted to do it for ourselves and develop.” Only 6 years after the first anticipated releases from these ex Cloudy Bay, etc. stalwarts, it’s now hard to imagine Marlborough’s complex jigsaw puzzle of players complete without this dynamic duo that is Dog Point. Emphasis on the vineyards, proponents of cork for all but their Sauvignon and use of indigenous yeast aren’t the only things that define their edges – the wines are simply superb.”
Wine Advocate #191 Oct 2010
Dog Point Vineyard combines the considerable winegrowing experience of Ivan Sutherland and James Healy, the former chief viticulturalist and head winemaker at New Zealand’s famous wine estate Cloudy Bay. After leaving Cloudy Bay, Sutherland and Healy began making wines from Sutherland’s own vineyards in Marlborough, which were planted in the 70’s and 80’s. In 2003 they launched the Dog Point label and their wines have made a huge impact in the wine world. Sutherland had previously sold the majority grapes from his vineyard to Cloudy Bay which assisted Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc to it’s international acclaim.
Now with their own label and focus they continue to sell their grapes to Cloudy bay but keep the best for themselves. The Sauvignon Blanc vineyards are partly older plantings on the clay silt of the valley floor where the Brancott valley joins the Wairau valley, and partly newer plantings on three ridges on the west side of the Brancott.