Tuesday, May 2, 2017

New Zealand Pinot Noirs With Personality

Over the last 10 years, the quality of Australian and New Zealand Pinot Noirs has gone up in leaps and bounds. One even does not encounter lolly water in value for money Pinot Noirs any more, and the good ones can take on Burgundy premier cru. Unfortunately, there seems to be an almost formulaic approach by most producers, and it is not often that individual wines stand out.

At a recent tasting, however, I found that three Pinot Noirs from New Zealand had great 'personality'. As I tasted these wines very quickly, no scores were given, but they would have been in the 90-95 points range.

The first was the 2013 Charteris The Winter Vineyard Pinot Noir. The vineyard is on Felton Road in Central Otago, opposite Mt. Difficulty. This Pinot Noir does not taste anything like a Central Otago Pinot Noir. This wine is much leaner than your typical example.While there is good fruit intensity, there is also bay leaf, and the tannins are dry, but soft. This is partly due to the location near the water, partly due to long maceration.

The 2015 Schubert Marion's Vineyard Pinot Noir comes from Wairarapa (the larger Martinborough region). This location was searched out by a German winemaking couple after a world-wide search. The fruit here is bigger. Earthy notes and fragrance remind me of Nebbiolo.

The cult Pyramid Valley winery is owned by an American and is currently being sold (to another American, I believe). It is located in the Canterbury district and quite unique in many ways. The 2014 Pyramid Valley Angel Flower Pinot Noir has an almost orange colour. The wine is soft and smooth, and almost Burgundian in its character (and price).  

No comments: