New Zealand’s Best Pinots
Tim Atkin MW reported on this year’s New Zealand Pinot Noir Conference in Wellington in The World of Fine
Wine (Issue 27, 2010). He noted that New Zealand has emerged as one of the best alternatives to red
Burgundy along with Oregon, California and Australia. Plantings of Pinot Noir in New Zealand have more than
doubled to 11,920 acres and Pinot Noir is New Zealand’s most exported variety behind Sauvignon Blanc.
Atkin noted, “New Zealand Pinots generally beat those from Burgundy for consistency, power, and fruit weight,
but its wines still lag behind in complexity, longevity, and expression of place.” He went on to compile a list of
New Zealand’s 25 world-class producers of Pinot Noir: Ata Rangi, Felton Road (several vintages reviewed in
PinotFile), Seresin (recently reviewed), Neudorf, Pyramid Valley (see below), Pegasus Bay, Rippon (see
previous feature), Schubert, Mount Edward, Julicher Estate, Martinborough Vineyards, Escarpment (previously
reviewed), Bell Hill, churton, Bald Hills, Gibbston Valley, Craggy Range (previously reviewed), Mount Difficulty,
Burnt Spur, Grasshopper Rock, Quartz Reef, Wooing Tree, Valli, Ma Maison, and Two Paddocks.
I recently sampled two good Central Otago New Zealand Pinot Noirs, one of which was made by a producer who made Atkin's list.
2008 Kawarau Estate Central Otago Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., $16,
screw cap. Imported by Station Imports LLC, Colorado Springs, CO.
From an family owned organically farmed vineyard. The label depicts
identities from Central Otago’s gold mining era. Crafted by noted
winemaker Dean Shaw at Central Otago Wine Company.
aromatic profile of wild berries, rose tea, underbrush, savory spice, and
oak. Light but pleasing core of cherries, cranberries and pomegranates with a
slight confected note and a grapefruit peel infused finish. Crafted for current
2007 Pyramid Valley Vineyards Growers Collection Calvert Vineyard Central Otago Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., pH 3.71, 700 cases,
$44, screw cap. Imported by multiple US importers including Wine
Connections Inc, Denver, CO, Cellar Door Imports, Inc., Woodland
Hills, CA, Robert Mackin, Artisan Wines, Norwalk, CT, and Terra Firma
Wine Co, Oakland, CA. Pyramid Valley proprietors Mike and Claudia
Weersin source grapes from prestigious growers throughout New
Zealand. Calvert Vineyard is farmed biodynamically by the team at Felton
Road. Unfined and unfiltered.
Deeply colored trending to the purple spectrum.
Lovely black cherry and blackberry fruit aromas initially, fading some over time
revealing a more savory spectrum of scents including underbrush, green
garden and the slightest oak. The moderately dense red and black fruits have an earthy side and a presence
on the palate that demands your attention. Juicy and silky textured with fine grain tannins and a clean finish,
with a beautifully harmonious composition that can age. A metrosexual wine: fairly masculine intensity with a soft and