Selected for the 2020 Fine Wines of New Zealand List
Doctors Flat Pinot is about Steve Davies’ pursuit of wine true to its origin—wine of terroir. The vines are organically farmed with care and harvested by hand. Steve's dedication was recently acknowledged by having this wine included in the Air New Zealand Fine Wines of New Zealand list.
Steve Davies left his job as wine maker at Carrick and set about turning his small organically farmed Bannockburn vineyard into one of the regions best. This is the ninth vintage and it is an absolute stunner. We've always loved the elegance and purity in Steve's wine. In 2016 the stars seemed to have aligned and the result is a Pinot Noir of elegance, charm, flavour length… already a bottle of absolute deliciousness.
Winery notes (2016 Vintage)
"Doctors Flat is an individual pursuit. Steve Davies' vines are planted in old soils on a singular site. He farms them without synthetic input, doing only what is needed to make wine that speaks for itself. The result is authentic, age-worthy and a pleasure to drink.
Scented with red rose, dark cherry, plum and spice. Mouthfilling, with dark berry, violet and spice flavours. Finely textured and showing real complexity, flowing to a persistent finish. Enjoy.
Doctors Flat Vineyard is a single 3-hectare block in Bannockburn. The soil is old in the context of Otago vineyards, composed of deep gravels laid down by receding glaciers some 480,000 years ago. We now see that the advanced soil age contributes to the fine tannin and good texture of Doctors Flat Pinot Noir. The vineyard is farmed organically, primarily to support and improve the soil health. We know an abundant soil micro life is good for vine health. The micro life breaks down and transports nutrients and minerals to the vines and that connection between soil and vine contributes to the wine’s character and sense of place.
I use a simple programme of small open tanks, close attention, minimal inputs and a very light hand in the extraction process. In 2016 27% of the fruit went directly to tank as whole bunches. Fermentation occurred without added yeast. After 26 to 29 days on skins the wine was drained and pressed to French oak barrels (23% new). Malolactic conversion is delayed until spring and SO2 not added until mid summer. After a full 12 months in barrel the wine is racked to tank for a second winter. The wine was bottled without fining or filtration 18 months after harvest."
5 Stars Michael Cooper (2016 Vintage)
"The highly age-worthy 2016 vintage is a single-vineyard red, estate-grown at Bannockburn, matured for a year in French oak barrels (25 per cent new), and bottled without fining or filtering. Deep ruby, it is mouthfilling, savoury and supple, with concentrated, ripe cherry, plum and spice flavours and a finely structured, lasting finish. Best drinking 2021+."
5 Stars & 95/100 Sam Kim, Wine Orbit, March 2020 (2016 Vintage)
"A stunning rendition offering elegance as well as stylish opulence; the bouquet shows dark plum, sweet cherry, floral, vanilla and toasted nut characters with nuances of anise and olive. The palate is wonderfully weighted and concentrated, displaying multi-layered mouthfeel and supple tannins, finishing impressively long and expansive. At its best: now to 2026."
94/100 Cameron Douglas MS, March 2020 (2016 Vintage)
"Distinctive in its ripeness and steely almost haunting bouquet. Aromas of dried raspberry and dark spicy plum, black currant of dark rose, classic Otago wild thyme and rocky mineral layers; complex, youthful and engaging. On the palate – fruity, tense, youthful and dry. Fruit flavours reflect the nose with raspberry and red cherry, some red apple skin then earth, mineral, dried herb and plum. Firm tannins, medium+ acidity and a lengthy persistent finish. A lovely wine still coming together. Will age well from today and through 2022. Best drinking 2021 through 2027."
18.5/20 Joelle Thomson, July 2019 (2016 Vintage)
"Doctors Flat winemaker Steve Davies named his 3 hectare vineyard land after an historic map (which no apostrophe on it, hence the name). It’s planted solely in Pinot Noir on an elevated site in Bannockburn, 100 metres above the region’s best known vineyards; Felton Road and Mt Difficulty.
Steve’s production is small and that’s how he intends to keep it. He made 970 cases of wine in the 2016 vintage; a comfortable amount for both grapes harvested and high quality.
The 2016 Pinot Noir grapes from Doctors Flat were harvested at 22.5 brix; lower than in the past. He has also reduced punchdowns to make a lighter Pinot Noir in colour and body. His vineyard is dry farmed along organic guidelines, which means there’s no irrigation and no sprays used, with the exception of sulphur dioxide (permitted in organics). He has also planted white alyssum flowers between vines as a bio companion to attract wasps which deters caterpillars."
5 Stars Yvonne Lorkin, March 2020 (2016 Vintage)
"The tiny, 3ha, organically-farmed Doctor’s Flat site in Bannockburn is composed of deep gravels laid down by receding glaciers 480,000 years ago. Shepherded into the bottle by winemaker/owner Steve Davies since the mid-2000s, in 2016, 27% of the hand-harvested fruit was popped into the tank as intact clusters which help naturally stabilise the colour of the wine. Whole bunches also inject a softer, fruitier layer of flavour from the berries which are essentially fermenting inside their own skins and imparts an element o