Cloudy Bay announced today the national release of Te Wahi 2011, a new pinot noir from the Central Otago region.

The wine marks the first time the brand has released a new product in 25 years and the first sourcing of grapes outside of the Marlborough region. Te Wahi is the second pinot noir to be added to the portfolio (Cloudy Bay Pinot Noir was introduced in 1994), demonstrating the winery’s commitment to elevate its pinot noir offerings and further contribute to New Zealand becoming a prominent pinot noir region worldwide.

Pinot noir is one of the primary grapes varieties in Central Otago, accounting for over 70 percent of the plantings. The varietal expresses itself best on the heavier clay-based soils of New Zealand’s Southern Valley and the climate and terroir show immense potential for producing wine of elegance and great ageing.

“The harvesting of Te Wahi in the Central Otago region represents an opportunity to expand into exciting new territory and utilize soil that lends itself to harvesting great pinot noirs,” noted Cloudy Bay Winemaker Nick Lane.

Te Wahi means ‘The Place’ in Maori, a name chosen because Cloudy Bay believes that great Pinot Noir speaks eloquently of its place of origin. The grapes for Te Wahi 2011 were handpicked from select Central Otago vineyards resulting in a wine that is plush yet defined and balanced. Dark fruit up front finishes to sour cherry with notes of leather, smoke and bittersweet chocolate. Dusty tannins linger on an elegant but generous finish. Lean wild game such as venison is an ideal pairing with the Te Wahi 2011.

Cloudy Bay debuted the Te Wahi 2010 vintage in 2013 to select U.S. markets with plans for wider distribution in 2014. Te Wahi 2011 (SRP: $75) is now available in select markets throughout the U.S. including Calif., Fla., Ill., N.Y., Texas and D.C.

To further Cloudy Bay’s commitment to making outstanding Pinot Noir in the Central Otago region, they are acquiring Northburn Vineyard. Sheltered from the east and the south by the Dunstan mountain range, Northburn has its own unique micro-climate. The site is very warm and dry during the grape growing season, with a large diurnal temperature range resulting in warm days and very cool nights. It is therefore ideally suited to the production of high quality Pinot Noir. Cloudy Bay plans to take over the ownership and management of the Northburn Vineyard beginning July 1, 2014.

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