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In 1998 soon-to-be-brothers-in-law Jim Jerram, a doctor in charge of Student Health at Otago University, Dunedin and Jeff Sinnott, Amisfield (and formerly Isabel) winemaker/Viticulturalist discussed the possibilities of planting grapes on a limestone escarpment in the Waitaki Valley which forms the border between Canterbury and Otago provinces. They eventually bought land in 2001 and planted their first block of Pinot Noir in August 2002. Jim Jerram is the leading pioneer of the developing Waitaki Valley viticultural region. His Ostler label is based in the hamlet of Kurow (where Richie McCaw played his first rugby) and has developed a fine reputation for pinot noir from Caroline’s vineyard (planted 2002) and aromatic whites from a variety of sources such as Blue House Vines. It is still early days, but the vines have now had just enough time to begin to feel at home in this unexplored environment. Not only did the Caroline's Pinot Noir 2010 win gold at the International Wine Challenge in London but it followed up with a gold medal again at Decanter’s World Wine awards. The name for the Ostler Vineyard comes from Jim’s great-grandfather, William Ostler, who came from Yorkshire to this area in the 1850s.The Waitaki climate is cooler than Central Otago, thanks to afternoon easterly breezes sucked in from the coast. However the ripening season is longer and so far with lower frost risks. Stylistically the toothsome Ostler Pinot Noir bears more than a passing resemblance to the crunchy wines of Beaune, than to either of its Kiwi neighbours. There has been a lot of hype about the new wine growing region in the Waitaki Valley, which forms the border between Canterbury and Otago provinces on the South Island.
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Bottle 6 x 75cl7cs