This year, this show has been shrunk considerably. Only about 30 wineries showed their wines, and many premium wines were not available for tasting. As a result, the mood was a bit subdued. This did not improve through the tasting.
I tasted a number of Pinot Noirs, apart from a Man O' War Chardonnay, which I quite enjoyed. But what is happening with the Pinots? Same, same! Where is the personality?
The two interesting Pinot Noirs were the 2011 Martinborough Vineyard Pinot Noir and the 2010 Villa Maria Southern Clays Pinot Noir. The Martinborough is like an iron fist in a velvet glove. The colour is quite light, but the wine is building on the palate, with attractive mushroom flavours. There is a brooding character there and the finish has great length (93 points). The Villa Maria shows what Marlborough can do with Pinot Noir. This wine has red and black berry flavours. It is quite intense and delivers a great mouthfeel. It is more fruit than savoury, but a serious wine (94 points).
The other wines I tasted, from north to south:
-2011 Escarpment Pinot Noir and Kupe Pinot Noir: savoury, a bit lean, 89/88 points
-2012 Martinborough Vineyard, Te Tera Pinot Noir: fruit forward, not intense, but elegant, 88 points
-2011 Ara Resolute Pinot Noir: pretty, but lacks structure, 87 points
-2011 Saint Clair Block 14 Doctor's Creek Pinot Noir: fruit forward, harmonious, 89 points
-2012 Saint Clair Block 16 Awatere Pinot Noir: darker, fuller bodied, black cherry, short finish, 91 points
-2012 Saint Clair Omaka Reserve Pinot Noir: good complexity, but a bit fruit forward, 91 points
-2010 Villa Maria Taylors Pass Pinot Noir: quite austere, yet intense with soft tannins, 92 points
-2009 Domain Road Paradise Pinot Noir (Central Otago): dark fruit, not a big style, finish shap, 89 points
-2012 Mt. Difficulty Pinot Noir: lighter style, a bit metallic with a boring finish, 88 points
-2009 Nevis Bluff Pinot Noir: red fruit, bright and pretty, 90 points
-2008 Nevis Bluff Reserve Pinot Noir: more intense, but not very balanced, 90 points