The Burn Cottage Vineyard property was purchased in 2002. It had been grazed by sheep for as long as can currently be remembered. There were, and are, no immediate vineyard neighbors. The site was much coveted in the region as it is sheltered from both northerly and southerly winds by large hills and forms a beautiful, protected bowl, much like a modern amphitheater.
Husband and wife Marquis Sauvage and Dianne Sauvage were on a return trip from the Mornington Peninsula in Australia and had decided to visit several regions in New Zealand. For some time the family had contemplated starting their own winery. Dianne and Marquis were struck by the extraordinary beauty of Central Otago and became even more impressed after tasting through the region's wines, particularly Felton Road and Gibbston Valley. They decided that they had found the place they were looking for. Marquis continued the property search with a real estate broker and came across the Burn Cottage site. As Marquis likes to say, he had visited enough great vineyards around the world and this one had the right look. Unbeknownst to the Sauvages, several prominent, local wineries and winemakers were interested in the site and had had their eyes upon it for some time.
The Sauvages contacted Ted Lemon owner and winemaker of Littorai Wines in Sebastopol, CA to seek his involvement in the project. The Sauvages were unaware at the time that Ted already had deep connections to New Zealand and particularly to Central Otago. Ted and Marquis travelled to New Zealand to see the property and Ted was sold on the idea upon the spot.
In the late 1990s, after many years of experience in conventional farming in Burgundy, California and Oregon, Ted had become convinced that conventional western agronomic theory was insufficient to explain plant growth, health and reproductive capacity. Ted had turned to biodynamic farming for Littorai's production and in his work with other wineries.
He proposed that Burn Cottage be fully biodynamically farmed from inception and that is the path we have followed with great commitment and enthusiasm. In 2002 no one was farming biodynamically in Central Otago and the question arose who could assist the estate to practice biodynamics to its fullest potential. We turned to one of the world's foremost authorities, New Zealander Peter Proctor. Peter and his partner Rachel Pomeroy were intimately involved in the organization, establishment and practice of biodynamics at Burn Cottage from the very beginning. Without Peter and Rachel's wonderful counsel Burn Cottage would not be what it is today.
Bright notes of cherry, florals and pepper spice are accompanied by rosehip and savoury earth characters. There is a lovely concentrated core supported by supple texture, and fine tannins extending through the palate. Approachable now, and with cellaring potential to 7 years.
96 WINE SPECTATOR | 93 JAMES SUCKLING