Two Degrees Winery
Gandalf is Missing but there is Pinot Noir
Central Otago is New Zealand’s most scenic wine region with its continental climatic magic with extremes of daily and seasonal temperatures, snowy winters, hot, dry summers and silt soils with mineral deposits, which is something you won’t find anywhere else in New Zealand.
It is the southernmost wine district in the world with the high mountains producing a shadow and balance of wet and dry and the high latitude along with the continental climate combining gives Pinot Noir a chance to be the most famous wine in the country.
New Zealand has more to offer than locations for movies and if you explore the beauty and the weather conditions, you might just see why grapes are grown perfectly here and why this winery is named after the 2 degree gentle slope that allows the frost to slip off and escape to the Clutha River rather than settle on the vines.
The name reflects the importance of the terroir and the owners Richard and Di Somerville escaped from Sydney in 2003 to plant 15000 vines in the free draining wind- blown loess soils of Central Otago to make what is known today as Two Degree Winery.
The Winemaking Process
The grapes are left to cool overnight before de- stemming is done.
Traditional fermentation is done in stainless steel open top tanks which are hand plunged.
Whole bunches of grapes with the stalks are placed into the tanks and indigenous yeasts are added and with the grape parcels being placed inside the fermenter tannins and flavour are being put to good use.
Before a gentle Basket pressing is done the juices are left on the skins for a month to allow for development of the tannins.
Filtration and fining are left to a minimum and maturation takes place in 40% new French oak barriques for 10 months and bottled about one year after harvesting.
The bottles are closed with a stelvin cap closure which is a metal cap that was developed in the 1960’s to reduce wine oxidation and cork taint.
The Vineyards of Two Degrees
Located at the base of the Pisa Range (not the Italian one!) in between Wanaka and Cromwell Basin, New Zealand in the Queensbury region the vineyards of Two Degrees have perfect conditions with their natural free draining soils, low humidity, rainfall and hot days with cool nights and elevation perfect for growing their Pinot Noir and Rose grapes.
There are many wine estates in the area but what separates Two Degrees from the others are the slopes and sustainability as well as the passion that the Somerville couple have as well as the gold medals and awards that have been won for their wines only four years after the planting of their vines.
The Two Degrees Wines
There is something about wineries that produce only a few bottles instead of a wide selection of products as the quality is always better than quantity and you know that you are getting something that is 100%.
Pinot Noir 2009 has aromas of roses, red fruits and oak with a flavoured intervention of red cherries and oak
Pinot Noir 2010 consists of 100% Pinot Noir with a Ruby red colour and aromas of coriander, thyme and sun drenched herbs with flavours of fruit and seasoned oak.
Pinot Noir 2014 is a vibrant and glowing ruby with aromas of plum and mulberry with hints of spice and mocha. The flavours are fresh as they hit the palate with juicy Otago cherries ending on a savoury note
Rose 2015 has aromas of strawberries and cherries with a subtle acidity and a fruit burst of flavour, along with a light pink colour and a freshness that lingers in the mouth
Visit Two Degrees Vineyards
Should you want to visit it would be a perfect setting with the mountains in the background, the rivers running through and a walk in the vineyards might be impressive enough to entice one into becoming a fan of Pinot Noir.
The taste test would be fantastic as you get to enjoy both the Rose and the Pinot Noir with the understanding of the process and with each sip, allowing you to feel the temperatures, the climate and the work that goes into making wines at Two Degrees Winery.
With the beauty, the tastes and the tour you might want to stay a little longer.
PO Box 22
9343 Central Otago, Wanaka, New Zealand
Editor-in-Chief and Wine Writer
Michael is an online enthusiast, with a lot of knowledge about online marketing. Traveling around the world to hunt for the perfect wine. Latest on Sicily, where Etna has a huge impact on the taste, which is strong with a bitter aftertaste for the youngest wines, but older wines are fantastic. Drinking wine, and writing about them, are one the passions. Remember to drink responsibly 🙂