#newwinethisweek Week 23 – Pinot Noir, New Zealand


We’ve enjoyed an interesting few weeks on #newwinethisweek with some esoteric choices (dry Furmint), some expensive (English Fizz) and some polarising (Fino)… so we’ve decided to go for a real crowd pleaser this week. There’s plenty of quality and choice as we say hello to Pinot Noir from New Zealand.


NZ has been making Pinot for a while, winning a gold medal in the Wine Olympics as far back as 1881, but it wasn’t until the 1986 vintage of Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc that New Zealand made a massive jump into the top tier of wine producing countries. NZ Sauvignon Blanc is certainly still the darling of the UK supermarkets (Tesco stock 14 alone!) but there is so much more to Kiwi wine than tropical fruit and gooseberries. Pinot Noir is second only to Sauvignon Blanc in production volume (9% of production), with over 5,000ha of land under the Pinot vine; 47% in Marlborough, 26% in Central Otago and 9% in Wairarapa.


I love Pinot Noir from all over the world, but what I particularly love about NZ Pinot is the vibrancy of the fruit and the freshness on the palate. Actually, this generalisation does an injustice to these fabulous wines; as the vines have got older so the wines have become more complex and the different regions are beginning to produce styles with a real sense of place. Central Otago, on the South Island, was perhaps the first region to gain global recognition for its Pinots but there are now world class wines coming out of Marlborough, Wairarapa (including Martinborough), Nelson and Hawke’s Bay.

Pinot Noir is a real diva, it is difficult to grow which usually means high prices… but you certainly get your reward, especially with the consistently high quality of NZ Pinot. Because I love the stuff I think I might push the boat out this week and buy a bottle from one of my favourite producers… I feel a high score coming from my direction!


Felton Road Banockburn Pinot Noir 2012, Central Otago (Roberson £41.00)

Craggy Range Te Muna Road Pinot Noir 2011, Martinborough (Majestic £23.00, £18.00 when you buy 2)

Surveyor Thomson Single Vineyard Pinot Noir 2007, Central Otago (Swig £28.50)

Pegasus Bay Pinot Noir 2012, Waipara (Lay & Wheeler £22.26)

TMPN Bottle Shot

But don’t worry, there is plenty of good stuff available for much less cash in the places you do your shopping!

Tesco Finest Pinot Noir 2012, Marlborough (Tesco £9.99)

Escarpment The Edge Pinot Noir 2012, Martinborough (Waitrose £11.24 was £14.99)

M&S Nelson Pinot Noir 2012, Nelson (M&S £9.99)

Aldi Exquisite Pinot Noir 2013, Waipara (Aldi £6.99)

Kumeu River Village Pinot Noir 2011, Kumeu (The Wine Society £9.50)


You know the drill by now; buy a bottle, pour yourself a glass and tell us what you think – I have a feeling New Zealand Pinot Noir is going to find its home near the top of the #newwinethisweek leaderboard




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Posted on June 9, 2014, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Reblogged this on Please Bring Me My Wine and commented:
    Thanks to Ant for kicking this week off

  2. James Hubbard

    Wow. Felton Road Bannockburn 2009 with lamb steaks pan-fried with lemon juice. Perfect pairing. This is an almost ethereal wine, hauntingly elegant and superbly balanced. I love wine but it’s still rare to get excited and energised about a wine quite as much as I did with this. Phenomenal.

  3. Hurray for Pinot Noir week Guys-it’s only taken you half a year but we got there in the end!!

    I’ve wanted to learn a bit more about the Kiwi Pinots as I haven’t had much experience of them so far, other than a case of 2011 Felton Rd in the cellar, but that needs a few more years before being attacked.

    It’s going to be difficult to give an objective review at the moment following the narrow beating England received this morning at the hands of the All Blacks but I’ll give it my best go!!

    I tried a bottle of Marlborough Dog Point 2011 that I picked up from the Kensington Sampler for £27. This shop is very handily placed just opposite The Natural History Museum, so I always try and pop in after doing the dinosaur tour with the kids. They have the best selection of wines for tasting I’ve seen in enomatic machines, with 8 or 9 placed around the shop to choose from, each dispensing wines from a different grape variety. They have the ‘Icons’ machine also with some really serious bad boys, but £25+ for basically a thimble full of wine is just too much of a tease for me-I’d rather get a proper glug of the mid-rangers for a fiver or less.

    I constantly crave the savoury, earthy, forest floor flavours that the finest Cote d’Or Pinots show, and it’s always a challenge to find New World versions for sensible money which can imitate these characteristics. I think I have struck upon a winner with the Dog Point.

    This wine is made by the 2 guys who established Cloudy Bay as arguably the most iconic wine brand of New Zealand, so you’d expect them to know their stuff-and they do!

    The aromas are all pure Cote de Beaune’s finest with velvety red fruits, mushrooms and that luscious damp moss smell that really rings my bells-WOW, these 2 fellas are good.

    The palate is fresh and lightly balanced, with just enough acid to refresh but not too much to overpower the smoky, mushroomy characters. For a 2011 wine for £27 the length and complexity is pretty damn amazing. I think you’d struggle to find a 4 yr old Burgundy as good for less than £80.

    If only the same subtlety and finesse can be shown by England for the next test at Hamilton we may be on to a winner finally!

    A hugely impressive 9/10.

  4. We decided to have some real fun for this week’s #newwinethisweek by buying 4 bottles of Kiwi Pinot and serving them blind for a real objective view… 5 of us took up the challenge (The Fish did the pouring) and boy were we surprised by the results!

    The four wines of show:

    Surveyor Thomson 2007, Central Otago (Swig £28.50)
    Craggy Range Te Muna Road 2011, Martinborough (Majestic £23 down to £18)
    Villa Maria 2012, Marlborough (Co-op £10.99)
    Tesco Finest 2012, Marlborough (Tesco £9.99)
    (I tried to get hold of Aldi’s £6.99 Exquisite offering but wasn’t I stock)

    The 4 wines were served and I was sure I’d be able to spot the 2007 by sight alone… but no! There was very little difference… four bright red liquids just waiting to be devoured.

    Wine A

    Lots of bright red fruit, slightly stewed and with a tart rhubarb-like finish. A very decent wine, would be very happy with this for £10.

    Wine B

    A big step up in class here. The texture is wonderfully silky and smooth with delicate red fruit, good minerality and a long and lingering finish. 8.5/10

    Wine C

    Another wonderful texture with classy fruit. The fruit is so well judged, there is a delicious savoury note with earthy complexity and a very long finish. A highly accomplished and delicious wine. 9/10

    Wine D

    There’s just not much going on here. The fruit is there but it’s not shouting, there is a severe lack of acidity and there is very little going on. 5/10

    All five us picked B and C as the high quality wines and thought A and D were the lower priced wines. My guess was:

    A. Villa Maria
    B. Craggy Range
    C. Surveyor Thomson
    D. Tesco Finest

    Well I got the first 2 right… but the other 2 in the wrong order! The Tesco wine was the best of the bunch! I don’t know whether the Surveyor was a bad condition bottle or its just past it’s best… I have another one that I will open when I get home to find out… but go buy the Tesco Pinot for £10! Great fun and quite frustrating!!

  5. I gave mine a 7 here. Picked up a Sainsburys TTD from Central Otago. It was pleasant, certainly full of fruit, but I thought it lacked a little in terms of depth or complexity. If anything I felt it was too simple. I have had some better NZ Pinot Noirs, but I think you have to spend some serious cash on them!

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