Part 7: New Zealand's Central Otago region


Peregrine’s striking winery fits quite well into the rather raw Central Otago scenery. It’s located in Gibbston, the closest of the subregions to Queenstown, and I met with winemaker Pete Bartle.

Peter Bartle

Like most Gibbston wineries, grapes are also sourced from the Cromwell Basin, the main vineyard area in Central. Gibbston is just a bit too marginal: while it makes fantastic wines some years, other years the grapes might not ripen properly.

Peregrine make a full range of wine - fuller than many other Central producers. But it is their Pinot Noirs which impress most. I really liked the elegance of the 2008s, which were fresh and expressive.

Pete shared some technical details with me. He doesn’t like cross-flow filtration very much, because this beats the wine up a bit. He uses Celluflux rather than diatomaceous earth (DE) for filtering: Celluflux is a German product from a company called Erbsloh that can be composted (DE is carcinogenic), and less is used, although it is more expensive. He uses a lenticular filter complex for smaller volumes.


Peregrine Riesling 2007
This was a fantastic year for quality, with a quarter less crop set than the target. The grapes were hand picked and destemmed, before crushing and inoculating. Fermentation was at 14/15 C and only a short time was spent on lees. Intense limey nose. The palate is vivid with high acidity balancing the sugar. Intense and fresh with nice richness of texture. 89/100

Peregrine Rastaburn Riesling 2006
12% alcohol. 18 g/litre residual sugar. Nicely elegant, limey, spicy nose. Lovely texture on the palate: rich but fresh with good acidity. Lemony and intense. 89/100

Peregrine Gewürztraminer 2008
8 g residual sugar. ‘This is as happy as I can possibly be with Gewurz,’ says Pete Bartle. ‘I prefer drinking Pinot Gris and Riesling. These are more mineral but still have some rose petal, and are more restrained in flavor.’ He gave this two days on its skins, and was quite nervous about this. The residual sugar is there to balance the phenolics. Beautifully aromatic with fresh Turkish delight and lychee character. The palate is grapey with lychee fruit and nice texture, as well as a hint of spice. 91/100

Peregrine Sauvignon 2009
Nicely mineral with good ripeness and some grapefruit. Lively, minerally, spicy, herby palate. A bit green but nice. 88/100

Peregrine Pinot Gris 2008
This was hand-picked and destemmed, and one-third was given overnight skin contact in the press. Grapey and quite aromatic with nice spicy notes. The palate has an attractive open texture with good acidity. Nice with peach and pear notes. Really interesting. 89/100

Peregrine Karearea Pinot Gris 2008
This is from two lots of fruit that looked really nice in the vineyard. Fresh mineral edge to the nose with a hint of floral character, and some grapiness. The palate has lovely freshness but also a richer, warmer, textured fruity character. Really delicious. 91/100

Peregrine Chardonnay 2008
Hand picked and whole-bunch pressed. Rich, melony and figgy with some toasty notes. The palate is rich and broad with bold fruit and nice texture. Classy with nice balance. 90/100

Peregrine Pinot Noir 2007
6000 cases. Pete has been reducing the pre-ferment cold soaks from 5/6 days to 3 or 4, and is working more post-ferment to try to balance the sweet fruit. He wants to avoid making sweet fruit bombs. This is from small berries and small bunches, with different clones. Very bright nose with fresh cherry notes and some spicy sappiness. Beautiful. The palate has lovely freshness and structure with juicy, bright cherry and berry fruit, finishing with nice structure. Serious. 93/100

Peregrine Karearea Pinot Noir 2007
Subtle, elegant fresh cherry fruit nose with some floral notes. Very stylish. The palate is concentrated and elegant with some firm but smooth spicy tannins. Very nice structure here. Less showy now but will age beautifully, I reckon. 300 cases. 94/100

Peregrine Pinot Noir 2008
Problems with excess yield this year, so some crop was dropped. Paler colour than 2007. Very focused, pure cherry fruit aromatics. The palate is super-elegant and fine with herby freshness. Length and structure here. A really lovely wine. 93/100

Peregrine Saddleback Pinot Noir 2008
Nice pale cherry colour. Fresh, sappy juicy nose with nice perfume. The palate is juicy with some nice bright cherry fruit and a bit of juiciness, as well as a hint of leafiness. Very fine. 92/100

A short film from my visit:

Felton Road
Mount Difficulty
Pisa Range 

Wines tasted 02/10  
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