Neck of the Woods’ is the wine brand of AJ Johnson, a television industry man (he's executive producer of Lego Masters Australia) who started his wine journey in the vineyard and working with the wine at Mountford in North Canterbury. AJ flitted between wine and television for around 15 years, before he decided to start his own brand with winemaker extraordinaire Jen Parr. Using fruit from a single vineyard on the China Terrace of Bendigo, Central Otago this is an outstanding buy.
Winery notes (2020 Vintage)
"Aromas of plum, dark cherry, red licorice and rosemary on the nose with the addition of raspberry and cassis on the palate. This sexy, understated wine exudes elegance with persistent bright red fruit, fine tannins and enduring freshness. The athletic frame speaks of its “classic” Bendigo origins, yet it’s supple and graceful side show a character less often found in the sub-region. It’s class in a glass!"
5 Stars & 95/100 Sam Kim, Wine Orbit, April 2022 (2020 Vintage)
"It's splendidly fruited and gorgeously complex on the nose with dark berry, thyme, cured meat, toasted nut and dried flower notes, leading to a silky-smooth palate that's succulent and velvety, offering terrific drinking. At its best: now to 2028."
Rated Excellent & 94/100 Cameron Douglas MS (2020 Vintage)
"Complex and youthful, new and inviting. A bouquet with a powerful varietal intensity showcasing aromas of dark cherry and dried raspberry, baked plum and barrel spices of clove then wood smoke. A fine savoury and mineral seam begin to emerge as the wine opens up in glass. Taut and textured, youthful and precise, a core of dark red berry fruits and plum, a savoury dried herb layer folds in texture, complexity and breadth. Tannins and acidity engage all the palate sensors with the core of fruit for contrast. A delicious yet youthful wine with a lengthy finish. Best drinking from late 2023 through 2030+."
5 Stars & 18.5+/20 (94) Candice Chow, Raymond Chan Wine Reviews, April 2022 (2020 Vintage)
"Deep purple with a ruby hue, slightly lighter edged. This has a youthful and soft bouquet with vivid aromas of blackberries, cherries, and dark herbs entwined with a hint of floral, liquorice and allspice. Medium-full bodied, purely expressed aromas of blackberries, cherries melded with violet, thyme and black liquorice, unfolding cloves and black pepper. The fruit shows purity and ripeness, growing with depth, and black pepper extended the palate, adorned by violet and stalk elements. Youthful oak details contributed spice and structure and appeared with a dusty mouthfeel supported by lively acidity. This has a velvety line with pure fruit expression, herb and floral elements, spice structure and an elegant finish. Match with duck and hare over the next 6-8 years. 13.5% alc. Fruit sourced from the Van der Mark Vineyard on China Terrace in Bendigo, clones 667, Abel, 828, 5, 943, handpicked, fermented in 3 batches, average 30% whole bunch, 24 days on skins. aged in French oak barriques for 11.5 months, 20% new oak."