Burn Cottage refers to the name of the road that this 28 hectare property sits on in Central Otago. The estate was once a sheep paddock until it was purchased by Marquis Sauvage in 2002. Marquis brought on board Ted Lemon of Littorai as their winemaker and together they started planting Pinot Noir in 2003. Six years later, they released their first wine in 2009.
To find suitable plots to plant on, they dug 60 soil pits and have subsequently selected ten Pinot Noir clones to plant on five different rootstocks tailored to the different soil profiles. Burn Cottage has the unique distinction of being the first and only Central Otago estate that has been practicing biodynamic since day one, Ted Lemon's one stipulation for his involvement.
The winemaking at Burn Cottage is best described as ‘minimal intervention’. There is no addition of yeasts or bacteria for fermentations, with minimal sulphur use and no filtration before bottling.
The 'Moonlight Race' Pinot Noir is named after a water pathway or 'race' that passes through the property. The grapes come from both Burn Cottage's biodynamic vineyards and two other vineyards that they work closely with. Aged in French oak barrels for 12 months before release, this is a wine meant for earlier drinking. Burn Cottage Pinot Noir, on the other hand, comes all from estate fruit and will develop beautifully with age. Both of the Pinot Noirs contain a skilful use of whole-bunch fermentation giving them a lifted fragrance that makes them so seductive.
At the time of planting new vines, back in 2007, the aspect of one particular plot in the vineyard did not suit Pinot Noir so the team planted just over one hectare of Riesling and Grüner Veltliner, harvesting the first crop in 2014. Grapes for the Riesling/Grüner Veltliner were vinified separately and aged for 11 months in old oak barriques before bottling. With attractive aromas of beeswax, white pepper and zesty lime flower, this wine is rich on the palate with well-balanced, bright acidity.
In 2018 Burn Cottage bought the ‘Sauvage Vineyard’, 5.8 hectares of Pinot Noir located in Bannockburn on the north east side of Felton Road. 2018 was the first harvest from this vineyard. For now the fruit from this site will be used in the Moonlight Race blend, but watch this space for the release of a single vineyard wine from this site.