Central Otago

Central Otago, near the bottom of New Zealand's South Island, vies for the title of world's most southerly wine region. Vineyards cling to the sides of mountains and high above river gorges in this dramatic landscape. Pinot Noir has proven itself in this challenging terroir, and takes up nearly three-quarters of the region's vineyard area. The typical Central Otago Pinot Noir is intense and deeply colored, with flavors of doris plum, sweet spice and bramble.

One of the most distinctive features of Central Otago as a wine region is its marginal continental climate, with extreme seasonal and diurnal temperature variations. This shortens and intensifies the growing season and poses a frost risk for an extended period of the year. For this reason, many Otago vineyards occupy hillside sites, angled towards the sun, and reduce the risk of frost damage by keeping cold, dense air on the move. In contrast to the frost-threatened days of spring, summer days in Central Otago are dry and hot. The region's continentality brings it higher daily average temperatures than those found anywhere else in New Zealand. Hot days are balanced out by cool nights, which moderate the ripening process and help to create the brightness and intensity for which the region's wines are known. As regards of grape varieties girown: Pinot Noir flourishes in the Central Otago, with a variety of stunning expressions being crafted in the numerous sub-regions. The region is also renowned for producing excellent aromatics, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

In Central Otago was also the most southerly (at 45°15') wine-estate Two Paddocks, but several major Patagonian projects are underway at around 45 to 46°, and Argentina can currently claim the honour.

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