Thursday, January 31, 2013

Pinot Noir NZ 2013 (part 1)

I have been quiet over the last little while, as I attended the big NZ Pinot Noir show in Wellington. This event is held every three years, attracts 500+ participants from New Zealand and around the world, and lasts for four days. I thought the event was very well organised and overall very interesting and informative. Literally all significant Pinot Noir producers are present, and I got a very good idea of where the industry is at. I thought it was worth while going, because New Zealand Pinot Noir is an exciting part of the global wine world, and developing fast.

This year's theme was regionality. The first three days was spent exploring one region each day. For me, this meant:
 - day 1: Central Otago
 - day 2: Martinborough, Nelson, Waipara/ North Canterbury
 - day 3: Marlborough

In a nutshell, there are significant differences between these regions. Firstly, acid levels. These are highest in Marlborough and Nelson, followed by Martinborough. They are quite low in Central Otago. The fruit in the higher acid regions is fresh and vibrant, tasting of red cherries usually, but can be a bit thin. Central Otago Pinot Noir tastes of black cherries and can be quite big and ripe - a Shiraz drinker's Pinot.

All wineries showed the 2010 vintage and then some older vintages. The wines from 2010 were across the board of a very high standard. Surprisingly (to me), the older vintages showed very well, too. Many were from around 2006/07, where this could be expected. But I also tasted a number of wines from 2001 and 2002 which were also still going strong.

I will report on the different regions and its individual wines in subsequent posts. Many favorites showed strongly, but there are also new stars on the horizon.

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