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