Selected for the 2019 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+."
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."
Reviews for the 2015 vintage below…
5 Stars & 95/100 Bob Campbell MW, The Real Review, June 2018 (2015 Vintage)
"Delicately scented pinot noir with floral, red rose, dark cherry, plum, spice and thyme flavours. Supple and appealing wine with an ethereal texture. It’s deliciously drinkable now but should age gracefully. A classy pinot noir."
5 Stars & 95/100 Sam Kim, Wine Orbit, May 2018 (2015 Vintage)
"Exquisitely composed and styled, the engaging bouquet shows dark cherry, thyme, black olive and truffle characters with nuances of game and toasted almonds. The palate is concentrated and multi-layered, delivering gorgeous fruit purity combined with seductive savoury notes and sensual mouthfeel. From their single vineyard in the Bannockburn district, this is superbly long and gratifying on the finish. At its best: now to 2025."