Rockburn Pinot Noir is one of the most acclaimed Central Otago Pinot Noirs from the world’s most southerly wine-growing region.
Rockburn was founded by Richard Bunton in 1991 when he planted a three hectares of vineyards at Lake Hayes near Arrowtown in, what was then, an unknown wine-producing region. The venture was then called Hayes Lake but was renamed Rockburn in 2002 Central Otago is characterised by a very rugged, rocky and burn-scarred landscape, hence the name Rockburn. It has a similar climate to Burgundy and it is therefore no surprise that Pinot Noir seems to do so well in the region. Through the 1990s Bunton acquired more vineyard at Parkburn on the shores of Lake Dunstan. In 2015 a new winery complex was opened in Ripponvale Road in Cromwell. The current winemaker is Malcolm Ree-Francis who arrived in 2005 having been the assistant winemaker at Felton Road, another of Central Otago’s top wine producers.
The grapes for the Rockburn Pinot Noir are hand harvested from Rockburn’s two vineyards in Gibbston Valley and Parkburn. There is a period of cold maceration for 5 to 7 days. After this the alcoholic fermentation takes place in seven tonne fermenters. This lasts around a week and there is a daily plunging down of the cap. Malolactic fermentation then takes place and lasts for anywhere between 7 and 14 days to desired level of colour, tannins and flavour profile. After fermentation is complete the wine aged in French oak barrels (33% new, 38% one year old and 29% two year old) for 10 months.