WineWriting.com & French Mediterranean Wine
Richard Mark James' wine and travel blog

16 May 2013

New Zealand: Pinot Noir

I've said the odd kind thing about Pinot Noir from New Zealand before (goes to archive page with links to previous post featuring Pinots from Seresin, Borthwick Estate, Wither Hills and Mount Edward); so I can't be bothered repeating myself with headline-grabbing clichés about "... great potential for Pinot now being revealed... cool climate elegance... blah blah..." and all that jazz (oops, I think I just did). The ten Pinot Noirs picked and noted below were mostly tasted in Dublin earlier this year (apart from the first one bought in Tesco 'UK'), hence € prices and importers mentioned are in the Irish Republic. I've split them up by region, which neatly highlights a pattern showing where much of the country's (best?) PN is planted: from Wairarapa, or Martinborough in the south of North Island, to Marlborough, the biggest wine region especially for white varieties, in the north of South Island; and heading south through the Waipara Valley in Canterbury and finally Central Otago, the most southerly area for vines and rated as producing some of the best NZ Pinot to date (and often the dearest too, alas).

Wooing Tree vineyard, home of Beetle Juice and a certain Puritan dictator...
Photo from nzwine.com
Central Otago
2009 'Tesco Finest' Sacred Hills Wines / Jenny Dobson (13.5%) - attractive maturing style showing smoky vs perfumed sweet berry fruit with savoury edges, fair weight and rounded palate vs touch of fresh acidity and bite still, quite long and fine. Bought and sampled last year sometime, on offer for less than £10 at the time so not the current vintage and price for sure.
2011 Felton Road, Bannockburn ("Must be the 1314, unmistakeable..." - enticing perfumed Pinot nose with toasty chocolate edges, nice 'sweet/savoury' fruit with a little weight, balanced and quite stylish with elegant fruit coming through on the finish. €28 WineKnows
2010 Wooing Tree Beetle Juice, Cromwell (14%) - richer cherry fruit, turning savoury with enticing volatile edges, has a touch of bite and Burgundian style, quite big though vs attractive maturing 'sweet/savoury' fruit. €30 Quintessential Wines; Harry's Road Fine Wines in Belfast.
2010 Rock Ferry - fairly vibrant fruit and oak on the nose, turning more elegant and Pinot styled, quite firm and fresh mouth-feel vs more fruit than oak in the end. €30+

Waipara Valley
2010 Bellbird Spring River Terrace - perfumed tasty 'sweet/savoury' fruit, fairly silky and soft with delicate fruit vs a bit of weight too. €29.50

Wairarapa
2011 Craggy Range Te Muna - hints of vanilla oak vs delicate red berry/cherry vs savoury notes, tasty and juicy in the mouth, quite elegant finish yet has nice palate weight too. Needs a little time to come together. €40 Febvre & Co.
2010 Gladstone Vineyard - elegant maturing Pinot notes, lacks a little concentration perhaps but has subtle attractive Pinot style and still lively too. €24.50

Marlborough
2011 Spy Valley - a little extracted and chunky at first, moves on to nicer 'sweet/savoury' fruit combo with subtle oak in the background, attractive silky tannins with lingering more savoury flavours. €20-€25 Cassidy Wines
2010 Auntsfield Single Vineyard, Southern Valleys - intriguing lightly volatile notes with 'sweet/savoury' touches, reasonably concentrated although a tad clunky perhaps. €22.50
2009 Villa Maria Cellar Selection - lovely perfumed fruit with maturing 'sweet/savoury' edges, elegant vs a bit of weight, mature vs still fresh on the finish. Nice style. €21 Barry & Fitzwilliam

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