Black Ridge Central Otago Pinot Noir 2003

Sale price$39.95
Alexandra, Central Otago, New Zealand

Style: Red Wine

Variety: Pinot Noir

Closure: Cork

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Black Ridge Central Otago Pinot Noir 2003

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, usually ready in 2-4 days

Burke Road
Camberwell VIC 3124

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Producer: Black Ridge

Country: New Zealand

Region: Central Otago

Vintage: 2003

Critic Score: 93

Alcohol: 13.5%

Size: 750 ml

Drink by: Now

Savoury and spicy with a lovely lifted finish and good length - Sue Courtney

 Black Ridge, although one of the original Central Otago vineyards, is relatively unknown in Australia. It was first established in 1981 through the pioneering vision of Verdun Burgess & Sue Edwards. The vineyard setting is dramatic, carved from rugged outcrops of schist rock. Pockets of vines cling to the Central Otago hillside, in vivid contrast to the barren rock of Central Otago. Grapes are handpicked and the wines are handcrafted to reflect the unique terroir and climate of the vineyard. 

"Attractive, delicately luscious and ready to drink."  Bob Campbell MW

Expert reviews

"The 2003 Black Ridge pinot is lovely; a bouquet full of sweet cherry and blackberry fruit with herbal and spicy overtones; a rich, soft, velvety palate oozing with sweet fruit, savoury spices and herbs, with forest floor and chocolate highlights. Wonderful mouthfeel and a long, lingering, sensual finish."  Nick Munday, Canterbury Wines

"Soft, rich, accessible wine with attractive black cherry and plum flavours. A ripe example that has not been over-extracted but is attractive, delicately luscious and ready to drink. A good model for other wines that have tried to be something that they are not in a cooler, lighter vintage."  Bob Campbell MW, The Real Review - 93 points

"Deep purple hue from this distinctive, well-established dark schist vineyard. Nerveux with a fruity nose, quite notable acidity and the need to wait a while."  Jancis Robinson – 16.0 points

"A little smoky on the nose, a floral style of pinot, quite lifted, a little chocolatey, cherries, rose hips, creamy oak, savoury and spicy with a lovely lifted finish and good length. There's an intriguing slightly peppery note to the wine that adds character and bite to the finish."  Sue Courtney,

Central Otago

Central Otago on New Zealand’s South Island is famous for Pinot Noir. Wine has been produced in this rugged, mountainous region since the heady days of the 1860s Gold Rush. Today, as critical acclaim continues to grow for Central Otago Pinot Noir, the diverse styles of each vineyard sub-region are gaining in recognition.

Due to the region's diverse terrain and multitude of mesoclimates, the growing areas are divided into seven distinct sub-regions, all offering a different expression of Central Otago Pinot Noir. The sub-regions are Alexandra, Bannockburn, Bendigo, Cromwell/Lowburn/Pisa, Gibbston Valley, Queensberry and Wanaka.


Wine sub-regions map of Central Otago


Alexandra is the most southerly of Central Otago’s sub-regions. It is situated in a mountain basin, bordering the Clutha River. Marked continentality, in the way of very hot, dry summers and exceptionally cold winters, define the climate. Compared to Queenstown, Alexandra sees over 100 additional sunshine hours each year, and 600 millimetres less rainfall. The region’s wide temperature swings give highly aromatic, lively wines. Free-draining alluvial gravel and loess soils dominate here.

Central Otago Pinot Noir from Alexandra is known for its fragrant aromatics, fine structure, and signature dried thyme notes. Excellent producers from this region include Grasshopper Rock, Black Ridge, and Three Miners.


Southwest of Cromwell lies Bannockburn, a very warm, dry, early ripening sub-region. It is located on the southern shore of the Kawarau River, by the Cairnmuir Mountains. The soils of Bannockburn are remarkably diverse. A long history of mining in the area, has left heavy deposits of gravel in certain vineyard sites. Other gravel-rich sites, of schist and greywacke, are naturally occurring. Elsewhere, pockets of heavy clay loam and sandy loam exist.

Pinot Noir from Bannockburn is renowned for its dense, concentrated dark fruit flavours and bold tannic structure. Notable wineries in the area include Felton Road, Mt. Difficulty, Doctor’s Flat, Ceres and Akarua


Moving southeast across the mountains, east of the Clutha River, bordering Lake Dunstan lie the stony, hillside vineyards of Bendigo. This is the largest and warmest sub-region in Central Otago. The vineyards are planted on moderate slopes of 200 to 350 metres in altitude in the foothills of the Dunstan Mountains. They are oriented north to abundant sunshine. Conditions are hot and dry here, and there is significant diurnal variation preserving fresh acidity.

Central Otago Pinot Noir from Bendigo is among the ripest, most full-bodied, and tannic styles of the region, balanced by fresh acidity. Wineries to watch include Prophet’s Rock, Quartz Reef, and Balgownie Estate.


The trio of Cromwell/Lowburn/Pisa includes low terraces and valley floor vineyard sites stretching 25 kilometres northward from the township of Cromwell. They sit along the western shore of Lake Dunstan, parallel to the Pisa Mountain range. The climate is dry and warm, with temperature extremes moderated by the lake. Soils are quite diverse, with large areas of sandy-loam, and of gravelly, schist-based zones at higher elevations in Lowburn.

This early ripening area produces supple, approachable, generously fruited styles of Central Otago Pinot Noir, with silky tannins. Great producers from this region include Burn Cottage, Wild Earth and Rockburn.


Gibbston is the highest altitude and coolest of all Central Otago sub-regions. It is located along the Kawarau Gorge, directly east of Queenstown. Vineyards are planted from 320 to 420 metres above sea level on northern exposures. The areas' soils are composed of loess with underlying layers of schist rocks and alluvial gravel. This is a late ripening area that can be quite rainy, experiencing more vintage variation than more easterly sites.

Central Otago Pinot Noir from Gibbston is described as light and ethereal, with fragrant red berries, fresh herbs, and mixed spices on the nose. It is generally soft on the palate. Top wineries include Valli, Peregrine, Mount Edward and Gibbston Valley.


Wanaka, the smallest sub-region, is situated 80km northeast of Queenstown. The vineyards surround Lake Wanaka, on gravel and silt-based soils overlying a schist bedrock. These soils provide excellent drainage, encouraging the vine to root deeply. This is among the cooler sub-regions, marked by cold winters, rainy spring weather, warm, dry summers, and long, temperate autumn conditions that allow for excellent ripening while preserving lively acidity.

Pinot Noir from Wanaka is often described light, delicate, and very elegant in style, with intense, bright red fruit flavours. Producers of note include Rippon, Maude Wines and Akitu.

The above text was taken from an article by Jacky Blisson MW published on

About the winery

Black Ridge Winery

Verdun Burgess and Sue Edwards were the founders of Black Ridge, one of the southernmost vineyards and wineries in the world. In 1980 they purchased a block of land in Conroys Gully, in a harsh, dry and rocky landscape in an area that had been dismissed as being unsuitable for grapes. However, they decided to try grape growing, partly due to the emergence of Marlborough as a great grape growing region in the 1970s. Establishing the vineyard was difficult to say the least, due to the baking hot summers, hard frosts and snow in winter, lack of water and the need to excavate the local schist rock with bulldozer and dynamite. Once the vines were planted, rabbits caused severe losses, and when a crop emerged, birds and wasps were waiting to share the bounty.

Pinot Noir, Gewurztraminer, Riesling and Chardonnay were planted, all varieties found in the same latitude in the northern hemisphere. The vines are some of the oldest in the Central Otago region. Black Ridge had its first harvest in 1985 and the first commercial vintage in 1988. A winery was established in 1992 and soon Black Ridge became one of the iconic wineries of Central Otago.

In 2014, Verdun and Sue, after 34 years, decided to retire and handed Black Ridge over to Joss Purbrick and Belinda Green. Their aim for the future is to gather a specialist team about them, to improve the vineyard with a focus on sustainable wine growing, with a goal of making the vineyard organic.

Wine region map of New Zealand

New Zealand

New Zealand is home to more than 700 wineries across 14 wine regions. The regions are Auckland, Bay of Plenty, Canterbury, Central Otago, Gisborne, Hawkes Bay, Marlborough, Martinborough*, Nelson, Northland, Waikato, Waipara Valley, Wairarapa and Waitaki Valley. * Martinborough is a sub-region of Wairarapa, however, as it is world renowned it is considered here to be a region to avoid confusion.

The wine regions in New Zealand stretch from latitudes 36°S (Northland) in the north (comparable in latitude to Jerez, Spain), to 45°S (Central Otago) in the south (comparable in latitude to Bordeaux, France). New Zealand's climate is maritime, producing cooler summers and milder winters than would be expected at similar latitudes in Europe.

Viticulture in New Zealand dates back to 1836 when British resident James Busby produced wine in the far north, but it wasn't until 1985 that the wine industry came of age when Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc garnered international attention and critical acclaim.

New Zealand is internationally renowned for Sauvignon Blanc (particularly from Marlborough), Pinot Noir (Central Otago, Martinborough and Waipara Valley), Chardonnay, Bordeaux-style blends of mainly Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon (Hawkes Bay) and Syrah (Hawkes Bay). Sauvignon Blanc accounts for 63% of the area of the national vineyard, followed by Pinot Noir (14%), Chardonnay (8%), Pinot Gris (7%) and Merlot (3%).